I should not use Wikipedia while drinking.
We all know that drunken Wikipedia always starts innocently enough, with an innocuous question like Did the ‘89 Mets make the playoffs? (no) or What’s the freaking deal with woodpeckers, anyway? (they’re just dicks). Unfortunately, what should be a quick search for a little bit of information rapidly descends into an unabated journey through a series of increasingly interesting, unreliable, and obscure Wikipedia pages.
You get sucked in.
Eventually, what started off with you checking if one of the brothers in The Jackson 5 was named Frank has turned into three hours of researching dinosaurs and leper colonies. In other words, you have entered what I like to think of as a Wikipedia Black Hole.
The other night, what began as a slightly intoxicated perusal of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Wikipedia page wound up robbing me of an entire night. Unsurprisingly, the more I drank, the worse it got. As I emerged from my hangover the next morning, I set out to retrace my internet steps: upon checking my browser history, I found a complex maze of bizarre and disjointed topics, ranging from the Insane Clown Posse to chastity belts to something known only as the Kentucky Meat Shower.
Perhaps those of you acquainted with trips down Wikipedia Black Holes will be able to connect the dots. What follows are the most fascinating of the many pages I visited:
Wikipedia Page #1: Ol’ Dirty Bastard
In February 1999, he was arrested for driving without a license and for being a convicted felon wearing a bulletproof vest (the first person arrested for this infraction under a new California law).
First of all, props to ODB for being the inaugural violator of this arcane law. Why was he wearing a bulletproof vest while driving around town? The law was obviously created so that felons couldn’t protect themselves while engaging in criminal behavior, but I like to think that, despite his seemingly carefree attitude, Ol’ Dirty was just a really, really precautious dude. Like, “I always buckle my seatbelt, I never open e-mails from strangers, and I wear a bulletproof vest 24/7” type of safe.
Wikipedia Page #2: Insane Clown Posse
On tour following the release of Dog Beats, Insane Clown Posse was scheduled to perform at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, but were delayed by a blizzard. After they arrived, the group was announced by their manager, Alex Abbiss. Bruce remembers that “[w]e came out with no microphones or nothing; we were just right up in the people’s faces. Shaggy and I were just fuckin’ yelling over our own cassette. The people were staring at us in amazement and bewilderment. They must have been in shock and awe. We finished our two-song set, and the crowd … didn’t cheer or boo. They just stood there, stunned”; they later learned that the concert was supposed to occur earlier in the evening, and that they were performing in the wrong building.
In that one brief anecdote, ICP somehow justifies not only their oft-ridiculed existence, but my own.
Wikipedia Page #3: Formicophilia
Formicophilia…is the sexual interest in being crawled upon or nibbled by small insects, such as ants. This paraphilia often involves the application of insects to the genitals, but other areas of the body may also be the focus. The desired effect may be a tickling or stinging sensation, or the infliction of psychological distress on another person.
Hey guys, check it out! I found the WORST THING EVER!
Wikipedia Page #4: Oculolinctus
Oculolinctus, also known as “worming” or eyeball-licking fetishism, is the paraphilical practice of licking eyeballs for erotic gratification. It is reportedly practiced by teenagers in Japan…
Holy shit Japanese teenagers, this is everything I’ve ever feared about you come to fruition in one bizarre fetish.
In 2013, oculolinctus reportedly became popular among teenagers in Japan, causing a significant rise in eye infections. According to The Guardian, eyeball-licking was “seen as a new second-base; the thing you graduate to when kissing gets boring”…
There’s always been discrepancy over what exactly constitutes second base, but this is the first time I’ve heard an argument for eyeball-licking.
The appeal of the sensation, reportedly akin to toe-sucking, may lie in the high number of nerve endings in the cornea, which make the eyeballs very sensitive.
I love how the fact that eyeball-licking is “reportedly akin to toe-sucking” is a selling point for people. “Well, toe-sucking is really the bee’s knees, so I guess I might as well try the next step up…” Is toe-sucking the gateway drug of weird fetishes?
Wikipedia Page #5: Chastity belt
Many designs for anti-masturbation devices were filed in the US Patent Office until the early 1930s, when masturbation was deemed not to be the cause of mental health problems.
To paraphrase Homer Simpson: To masturbation – the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s mental health problems.
On February 6, 2004, USA Today reported that at Athens airport in Greece, a woman’s steel chastity belt had triggered a security alarm at the metal detector. The woman explained that her husband had forced her to wear the device to prevent an extramarital affair while she was on vacation in Greece. She was allowed to continue her flight to London on the pilot’s authority.
Marriage – it’s all about trust, guys.
Wikipedia Page #6: Kentucky Meat Shower
The Kentucky meat shower was an incident where large chunks of red meat fell from the sky in a 100 by 50 yard area near Olympia Springs, Bath County, Kentucky, for a period of several minutes on March 3, 1876.
First of all, Kentucky Meat Shower is a phrase that needs to be used more often. I don’t care if it’s the name of a grotesque sex act or the title of Alicia Keys’ next album, but we need to start working that into the cultural lexicon immediately.
The meat appeared to be beef, but two locals who tasted it stated that it tasted like mutton or venison.
Local #1: “Dude, check out this rancid meat that just fell out of the sky.”
Local #2: “Let’s eat it!”
Local #1: “Hey pal, this isn’t Arkansas – here in Kentucky, we don’t eat meat that fell out of the damn sky!”
Local #2: “Mmmm it tastes like venison…”
Local #1: “Goddamn it, where’s the BBQ sauce?”
Out of the many theories for an explanation of this phenomenon, the most likely appears to be that a large pack of buzzards flew over the area after having eaten a couple of freshly dead horses, and when one of them spontaneously disgorged itself, all the others (as apparently is customary amongst buzzards), followed suit.
Other less-conventional explanations were put forward, including author William Livingston Alden stating that “cosmic meat” was floating around in space that would drop through our atmosphere similarly to meteorites.”
Vomiting buzzards? Cosmic meat? Why did my high school history teachers waste so much time on the Louisiana Purchase and civil rights when we could’ve been learning about the Kentucky Meat Shower? I would watch a 7-part Ken Burns documentary on this thing.
Wikipedia #7: Autopsy
An important component of the autopsy is the reconstitution of the body such that it can be viewed, if desired, by relatives of the deceased following the procedure. After the examination, the body has an open and empty chest cavity with chest flaps open on both sides, the top of the skull is missing, and the skull flaps are pulled over the face and neck. It is unusual to examine the face, arms, hands or legs internally.
This isn’t really interesting or anything, it’s just the most casually disturbing thing I’ve ever read.
Wikipedia Page #8: LANSA Flight 508
LANSA Flight 508…crashed in a thunderstorm en route from Lima, Peru to Pucallpa, Peru, on December 24, 1971, killing 91 people – all 6 of its crew and 85 of its 86 passengers. The sole survivor was a 17-year-old girl who fell 2 miles (3 km) down into the Amazon rainforest strapped to her seat and remarkably survived the fall, and was then able to walk through the jungle for 10 days until she was rescued by local lumbermen.
If you use the internet as you sit on your mom’s couch in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt from a bar tour you went on four years ago while you drink Colt 45 and listen to pro wrestling theme songs, you’re invariably going to come across some stuff that makes you feel less than valuable as a human being. Reading about a 17-year-old girl who fell out of an airplane and then survived for 10 days in the Amazon rainforest is one of those things.
Wikipedia Page #9: Maternal insult
A maternal insult (also referred to as a “yo mama” joke) is a reference to a person’s mother through the use of phrases such as “your mother” or other regional variants, frequently used to insult the target by way of their mother…Compared to other types of insults, “your mother” insults are especially likely to incite violence.
Although the phrase has a long history of including a description portion (such as the old, mostly harmless insult “your mother wears combat boots”), the phrase “yo mama” by itself, without any qualifiers, has become commonly used as an all-purpose insult or an expression of defiance. The insult may fall flat if it is true and should be used with caution.
I love when Wikipedia drops the façade of objectivity or scholarship, like when it warns that Yo Mama jokes should be used “with caution.” I’m sure that will be flagged for some violation of Wikipedia’s standards, but honestly, those kind of awkward inclusions are what makes Wikipedia great and what separates it from its print-based ancestors: it’s so obviously limited by the biases and judgmental errors of its collaborators that it can’t possibly pretend to be an authoritative source of veracity and fact. And again, that’s great! Who cares if it’s reliable? This entry has historical examples of Yo Mama jokes from Shakespeare, for Christ’s sake! Who cares about accuracy when you can have really, really weird subjectivity?
Wikipedia Page #10: Stendhal Syndrome
Stendhal syndrome…is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place.
Honestly, I’m just happy to live in a world where this condition exists. A Wikipedia Black Hole is to Stendhal Syndrome what a sneeze is to an orgasm, but at least I’m sneezing over here.