Tuesday, October 02, 2007
My good friend Laura sent me the above video, which is about Conservapedia, the conservative alternative to Wikipedia. Wikipedia, for those of my readers who don't know, is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, the theory being that everyone knows a little about something, and eventually the whole thing will be mostly truthful. Teachers won't allow you to quote Wikipedia directly, but they do require updaters to cite their sources, so you can check out the firsthand material if you're writing a paper or something. Generally, they're pretty good. And, according to Conservapedia, pretty liberal. This video uses the definition of "homosexuality" as an example: on Wikipedia it "...refers to enduring sexual and romantic attraction towards those of the same sex..." Conservapedia does not start out with a clear-cut definition, but gets straight to the heart of the matter: "Sexual relations between men is condemned in both Old and New Testaments. It is forbidden directly four times in the Bible"
Conservapedia then goes on to have pictures of Moses, a brain infected with AIDS, a rock of Methamphetamines, a picture of Sodom and Justice Antonio Scalia, which might lead the casual viewer to suspect that there's some sort of agenda going on here, since there are no happy homosexual pictures, like a nice clean house or Freddie Mercury.
In the interest of science, I decided to conduct my own investigation. I don't really have an opinion about the homosexuals (tho I'm pretty sure Conservapedia got it wrong on the Mark Foley bit), so I thought I'd see what Wikipedi and Conservapedia had to say about something I am deeply, passionately, all-consumingly interested in.
Like Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Both Wikipedia and Conservapedia have the picture posted above, but that's where the similarities end. You would think, due to the constant love and deference Nelson showed to his king and country Conservapedia would have more to say about him, but the entry is barely two pages long--and all it has to say about his time in the Mediterranean: "...Nelson was content emotionally during the months spent there. On board his ship was a well-trained crew, and amongst his crew was his son whom he had taken on board; waiting for both was a loving wife. And it was during this time that Nelson changed from an enthusiastic young officer to a genius of a commander. Some of his success in his mission was due to the British minister in Naples, Sir William Hamilton." And there's absolutely no mention of Lady Hamilton. Nada. Someone who konws nothing about Lord Nelson (which doesn't include my faithful readers, I trust!) would think that Nelson was happily married with a doting wife, isntead of passionately in love with the wife of his best friend. Who eventually bore him a daughter. (the mistress, not the friend) Scandalous, true, but no more so than some of the scandals that have seized our nation's leaders--and at least Nelson stuck around instead of flitting off to a new woman every few months. Wikipedia on the other hand, has much more information about Nelson, including people who helped him, like his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling. Also Wikipedia gets his title right.
I was pretty surprized to see Conservapedia fail theNelson test so badly. If there's an entry, I thought, then surely it will have been lifted from Wikipedia--how liberal could an entry be about a man whos last words were "Thank God I have Done my duty?" Apparently too liberal for some.