When am I going to be famous?(Sigh)

by Robert Nagle on 9/20/2006

in General,Open Media

Mark Morford criticizes the PBS decision to suspend the host of a kiddie show for doing a funny video short poking fun of virginity pledges (called “Technical Virgin”).

And, of course, PBS, spineless as a jellyfish licked by Pat Robertson, immediately fired her. They claimed that the dialogue in Martinez’s humor videos somehow meant she wasn’t a good role model for their fluffy kiddie show. A show, remember, that’s designed for 3-year-olds. For creatures who can barely go to the bathroom by themselves, much less understand the meaning of an adult satiric video they will never, ever see.

This is why it is so easy to hate the BushCo-drugged world. This is why foreign countries laugh at us, and shake their heads and sigh. We cannot walk and chew gum and think about an orgasm at the same time.

Yes, spineless PBS is to blame. But so are we in the media, for endlessly hyping hyperbolic fear-addled stories about sexual predation and child abuse so out of scale with actual reality, it trickles down and induces spineless execs at PBS to fire Martinez because they’re openly terrified of the whiny backlash that might strike them if groups of ignorant parents (read: red-state religious right, mostly) found out that the host of a kiddie show actually has a sense of humor about sex in her non-kiddie-show life.

Plus, it must be said, Martinez is a woman. She’s relatively young, attractive, alive. She’s a vibrant, sexual being. She is not a 60-year-old Mrs. Doubtfire type in spectacles and a shapeless housedress. And nothing scares media executives and right-wing religious types more than youngish women who are effortlessly unafraid of sex and sly humor. Just ask, you know, Eve.

Still, obvious questions about PBS’ cowardly decision linger like acrid smoke. Most notably: How is any of this logical? How could the kids possibly find out about Martinez’s old videos? How could they possibly be harmed if they never ever know? How could Martinez possibly become a threat?

I saw this video short a few years ago. Honestly, it raised a smile, but was hardly as funny as people made it out to be. (The video, called Technical Virgin, has been taken offline almost everywhere). Other random thoughts: This woman has a wikipedia page. Honestly, does everybody except me have a wikipedia page these days? I will not humble myself to do a vanity page, and honestly, my fiction is under a pseudonym (causing complications in terms of my reputation).

The Wikipedia policy seems positively bizarre:

Vanity articles that make no plausible claim of notability are usually deleted shortly after creation. Those that offer some claim of notability, however remote, are usually sent to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Deletion of the article normally ensues, although sometimes it may be moved to the user’s user-page. Even famous Wikipedians have had articles about them judged to be vanity articles and deleted.

From the policy on vanity:

A word of caution. Before you write a vanity article on yourself, your group, or your company, remember that, once the article is created, you have no more right or ability to delete it than does any other editor.

More than one user has created a vanity article, only to find that, in the normal course of research, other Wikipedia editors have found new material that presents the subject in a less-than-flattering light. Generally, such material will be added to the article, providing it is verifiably true and noteworthy ā€” to the chagrin of the original creator.

So, before you create a vanity article, you might want to ask yourself if there is anything publicly available in your past history or that of your group or company that you would not want included in the article ā€” because such material will probably find its way into the article eventually.

Egad, why is so wikipedia so fussy? Why wouldn’t wikipedia want to be a catalog of all the minor artists/intellectuals/athletes/actors out there? A biographical catalog would be helpful (although it would be also fraught with danger). I was seriously thinking of doing a wiki page about my poet friend Sadi-Ranson Polizzotti because if I didn’t do it, who would? (update: turns out she created her own wikipedia page, and I even made some significant additions to it. Hey, that’s what friends are for).

Update: looks like lots of minor porn stars have their own wiki page as well. (seemingly submitted by a porn company). I get it now. You are considered important if some commercial entity has a vested interest in promoting you.

Here’s my suggested changes to the wikipedia vanity page policy.

We at Wikipedia honestly have no idea which people deserve a wiki page and which do not. We have no criteria about how to judge which poets, programmers, bloggers, painters, philosophers, singers, musicians, sculptors or choreographers will be worth remembering 100 years from now. For that reason, any profile of you without a link to any corporate product will automatically be deleted. However, if you have participated in a gangbang on camera, been a short-lived Internet phenomena, been accused of a heinous crime, or had your dog poop on a subway, heck, that’s good enough for us! Join the club!

Please forgive YADADM (yet another diatribe against digital maoism).

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: