Cool Freaks' Newsletter Pub
i think 'early life' is often more interesting than 'personal life'
Hi there — nice to "e-meet" you! Haha! Our lives are all "e" these days, am I right? How are you holding up? Hope you're staying safe and healthy! These CrAzY TiMeS lol!
Welcome to this shitty newsletter. You are now part of an exclusive group. In today's world (far be it from me to not use the phrase "today's world"—or, even better, "modern society"—in a newsletter... damn... now I think I should have gone with the latter...), that's sweet, sweet social cachet. It's gold, Jerry. Gold!
One of my favorite exclusive groups I am a part of is 'Cool Freaks Wikipedia Club.' I have now admitted two incriminating pieces of personal info: 1. I still use The Facebook, and 2. I am not part of that many cool, exclusive groups.
In fact, you've probably already heard of Cool Freaks; it's an open group, and it's pretty popular (although, in my defense, I am a member of a number of other Facebook groups which...I will leave for the Premium Tier Subscribers [send me a text]). If you haven't heard of Cool Freaks, you should join—it's a community of random Facebook denizens gathering to share and discuss the strangest, quirkiest Wikipedia articles they can find.
This is the best type of online community: curious, accepting, educational. And it makes sense that Wikipedia—one of the largest bastions of user-generated, user-edited, user-moderated content on the internet—has spawned a devoted, DIY fanbase dedicated to trawling the site for historical oddities catalogued by Other, Normal People.
Here is where I:
learned about Potoooooooo the horse
discovered the Wikipedia ouroboros
laughed at the accompanying photo for Vienna Bread
first found out that Steve Kerr's father was assassinated during the Lebanese Civil War
and, of course, noted which of history's popes have fucked.
The pure joy when it becomes obvious that the person whose Wikipedia entry you're reading definitely, 100% wrote this themselves. Finding someone whose only available Creative Commons photo is unfortunately hideous (or, on the flipside, does not accurately portray how revolting they are). Learning about the Sankebetsu brown bear incident. Finding an exclamation point in an introductory paragraph when a period would surely do. These are just a few of the many, varied delights of being a Cool Freak.
Of course, being someone who spends a lot of time on Wikipedia is probably in the top 5 of "Least Interesting Fun Facts." And as fully invested in the Wikipedia experiment as I feel I am, I also recognize I have but dipped a dainty toe in these editorial waters—I wish I had the patience to become a contributor, or the diligence to rise to the top ranks of the editors.
But Wikipedia is fascinating nonetheless, to me and everyone's mother. This amorphous, dynamic record of carefully curated historical record, a collection of all human knowledge moderated by those very same humans. At the risk of extrapolating some contrived conclusion for the sake of ending this inaugural, formless newsletter—I think we are all drawn to it because we r all part of Human Spirit. Just kidding.
I think It's about burrowing into the interiority of people we don't know and reading about the unexplained phenomena we can't. To all come toward some shared knowledge of what has transpired in this world, to marvel at the quirks that come with humans transcribing what humans did, to fill in the dead corners of our useless, shapeless brains, before we all die and the facts of life are lost by the mere fact of our ephemerality. It's that we love to click 'Personal Life' first—to find out who this MF is dating—and 'Controversies' second—to find out how badly they were cancelled.
I think my favorite Wikipedia article is this one, at the moment. But of course, it always changes.
Guess the Wikipedia article based on the below screenshot. Sound off in the comments, fam. Yes, there are actually comments on the web version of this newsletter. Go write one.
Each week, the person who didn’t write the post will write a short footnote!
I am also a Deep Wikipedia Lover and I credit it for most of the things I know. It’s pretty well documented that the people who edit Wikipedia, like Steven Pruitt tha gawd, are mostly men, and mostly white, and mostly nerds, so the entries for most video games are constructed with slavish devotion to detail. There’s a movement to conduct edit-a-thons to add notable people who may have been missed by the Key Wikipedia Demographic. They are a lot of fun (I have done one), and you should consider looking em up!
Also: I highly recommend looking for Wikipedia articles that have clearly been edited by children. I would like to remind everyone that like 80% of all the data online is awful fanfiction written by 12 year olds. These same 12 year old stans get on Wikipedia and do some major editing. If you find an article where the author seems to have had a better grasp on the intricacies of a children’s book than the idea of a compound sentence, there is a chance it was an actual child. I submit to you: Guardians of Ga’Hoole, an entry so obviously written by a child that I almost printed it out and put it on my refrigerator with a gold star.