Wed 10th December 2008, 2:57am
QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Tue 9th December 2008, 7:29pm)
QUOTE(everyking @ Tue 9th December 2008, 7:59pm)
In your case, I agree with your assessment of the respective value of those activities, but probably not for the same reason as you.
Yes, and behind your reasons for agreeing is the crux of why you cannot let go of your obsession with Wikipedia.
In fairness, Wikipedia is like a country (my own, the US, for example). Am I supposed to take the US seriously? Do I take it TOO seriously?
Well, which part of it?
Some parts are impossible not to take seriously. Some are impossible to take seriously. The country and the people are not the current political administration, for example.
The same is largely true of Wikipedia. There is the content, which comes in all varieties, from the fine and sublime to the horrid, and then there are the people who administrate, who also come in all stripes, from those who seem continually to try to interfere
with creation of good content, to those who actually create and enable the creation of it. Most of the big-administrative personalities on Wikipedia I can't take seriously. Many are lightweights and boobs. But the best of Wikipedia's content, which will outlast them all, I do take seriously. A lot of those pages are read thousands of times a day around the world. The buffoons in charge don't get credit for them, because they largely didn't write them. And don't help the people who do write them, very much.
By way of example for this kind of thing: Did you see Charlie Wilson's War
? The Soviets getting thrown out of Afghanistan was orchestrated by an interested but not-particularly-notable and certainly little known congressman from Texas, a socialite doing "the cause" as a sort of hobby and bake-sale,a black-sheep CIA operative, and an improbable collection of people from Israelis to Pakistanis who got into the same odd bed, for reasons of their own. It was the biggest covert op in the history of the US, but it didn't happen by any kind of top-down planning at all. Reagan, tied up with Iran/Contra, had (almost) nothing to do with it.* He doesn't really get credit for it (save for one big decision, see below).
And then, the result of lack of long term vision: after the Soviets were booted out in 1989 using US-supplied weapons, we screwed up and left also, leaving the place to the bad guys. And then, after we booted the Taliban out in 2002, we screwed up and left it to the bad guys AGAIN! And now Obama, when he goes back into the place, in force, has the unprecedented opportunity to make the same mistake yet a third time
, in only a generation (or his successors do).
Now-- to meander back to my point: are we in danger of taking the US and its antics "too seriously," or "not seriously enough"?
*Edit added later: after reading the book and seeing the History Channel documentary I see Reagan did one critical thing: after the idea and the funding was set up, he overrode everybody to authorize US Stinger missles to finally go to Afghanistan in 1986. Before that, the CIA fought Soviets with outdated Societ stuff bought from Egypt, and it just wasn't working.