When I earned my English degree from Ellis University – then part of the New York Institute of Technology – one issue frequently discussed was the veracity of sources. In the old days (e.g. before Google), people conducting research on essays and theses had to drag themselves to a notable library and scour catalog files for appropriate resource materials. Along with physically going to said library, carting armloads of books and binders could be considered a bodybuilding class.
But, at Ellis, one source NOT considered valid is Wikipedia. It’s one of those ubiquitous Internet sites – kind of like online ads for pillows, vibrating toothbrushes and butt paste. A number of my fellow writers and bloggers have referenced Wikipedia. However, in vicariously perusing some Wikipedia entries, I’ve noticed the site itself will note – in vibrant red or blue lettering – that some items need further clarification or verification. Supposedly Wikipedia is a generic, quick-pick type of site; a place – much like a cafeteria – where people can choose whatever they want to consume. Therefore, it’s not considered a valid archive of information.
A while back I came across the name of an adult film model who went by the name Belladonna. Her real name is Michelle Sinclair, and she entered the world of porn in 2000 at the age of 19. I actually remember seeing her on an ABC News special hosted by Diane Sawyer several years ago. I found Belladonna interesting because she chose to dye her natural blonde hair black. In an industry where fair-haired vixens seem to rule, this was somewhat (forgive me) refreshing.
But, in looking her up on – where else? – the Internet, I came across her Wikipedia entry and zeroed in on a peculiar statement: ‘She thought she had contracted herpes in 2002…it was later discovered that it was a skin rash…’.
For some ungodly (read: perverted) reason, I found that unbelievably hysterical! The flippant nature of that specific verbiage – how it’s worded – jump-started my laugh meter. If anything, it proved what higher education has already declared: you can’t trust Wikipedia that much.
Now place that “skin rash” statement in the context of other situations:
Is that mole really melanoma?
Naw, it’s just a skin rash.
Did a spider bite you?!
Calm down! It’s just a skin rash.
You still have all those bruises from the pool party?
No, they’re just skin rashes.
That bee sting must have hurt like hell!
Oh no! It’s just a skin rash.
Are you pregnant?
God no, mother! I just have a skin rash.
That looks like such an awful sunburn.
Calm down, boss! It’s just a skin rash.
Please feel free to devise your own predicaments that include a “skin rash”.
One response to “Bella-Rash”
My wife taught college research writing for years, and was insistent that Wikipedia was not a credible source. She encouraged her students to go to the source cited by Wiki and use it — after actually perusing that source.