So I’m reading a biography from an archived Wikipedia article. Downloaded it to Evernote in 2016 but had not until just now read it all the way through. Along the way, I’m saying things like, “Hum. Never heard that before.” And, “Really???”
Then I get to the end.
TWO FREAKING REFERENCES??? WTF??? AND– the one most cited– IS 150 YEARS AFTER HER DEATH AND IS TITLED– TITLED!– “MAD MARY”???
I’m not saying she wasn’t mad, but I am saying this is that infallible source at its absolute laziest.
I mean seriously. Read this:
Mary suffered a mental break-down as her mother continued yelling at her. She took the kitchen knife she had been holding, unsheathed it, and approached her mother, who was sitting down.
That sentence is followed by note , which cites Hitchcock (2005, pp. 16-17), which links to the reference.
I swear, I was so ticked off, I spent considerable time downloading some new Adobe Digital Reader app so I could borrow a copy of Mad Mary from Archive. That’s how ticked off I was. And low and behold when I finally got the book to open up, what do I see?
Do you see that? “The Dreadful Scene Imagined.” Imagined. As in making it the f-up. And it’s even worse than you can imagine. Not only did the WikiAuthor rely on an imagined scene, he makes the stuff about unsheathing the knife up himself! He’s not plagiarizing or paraphrasing. There’s nothing in the imagined scene about unsheathing a knife because… according to the imagined scene, the carving knife was being used to carve the mutton whose odors “sweeten the air” until you smell the smell of “warm blood.” The knife would not have been sheathed if it was being used to carve.
I really cannot take s8^t like this.
Fortunately, I do not have to. The Encyclopædia Britannica: A New Survey of Universal Knowledge (1955) has a very nice– and I might add very well referenced– biography of Charles Lamb with quite a bit of Mary’s life woven in. So I brushed up on the Lambs with a
crappy old book.
I swear it’s stupid stuff like this that makes people stupid. Don’t be stupid. There are other means to learn about people, places, and things. They are called
crappy old books not written by English professors.
Added: Well look at that. I already have a tag for Charles & Mary Lamb. Good for me.
Update: Forgot to mention, I did look at the current entry, and the edits, before I posted. Pretty much the same as in 2016. Only one substantive factual correction that I saw which doesn’t pertain to my issues with this stupid entry.