The Wax Conspiracy

Non-fiction books are feedback loops to Wikipedia articles

Stagnate waters sitting outside your house breed mosquitoes, allowing you to enjoy smacking your face and limbs and those of your family members without having to venture beyond the property lines. But soon enough you need to stir the waters back into your drink containers so you can taste the backwash anew.

Everything re-cycles itself. Much like Mel Brooks' The Producers was adapted into The Producers (the new musical from Mel Brooks) and then once more into The Producers (the movie) (based on the musical based on the movie of the same name). The faces may change, but the story is still the same. Drink, swish, spit, repeat.

As it is in fiction, so it is in non-fiction.

Coming up in the year of our hoverboards in 2015, Singapore's Institute of Policy Studies will release a slew of 50 books about the nation's history, culture and economy. To better connect with the readers of today, IPS director, Janadas Devan, described the upcoming slate of books thus,

It [Singapore Chronicles] is not meant as an account for specialists. Think of it as an extended Wikipedia entry, but written by the specialists for the general public.

Which will be great fodder for when Wikipedia editors then redistill it back into citations of the articles of the same.

It was only 50 years ago when Singapore joined with Australia, New Zealand and a few other nations to help countrify a Malaysia from Indonesia in the Konfrontasi conflict. The Wikipedia entry on that whole affair is already long enough, so the book/chapters that mention that dispute are looking to be longer still.

Eventually, after the Chronicles are printed, and the cabals that watchlist the revisions and recent changes eat back the pulp and litter the article with more citations, assuring its provenance will be harder to deconstruct the longer time spans. Should Singapore release a new set of books for its seventy-fifth or centennial, the entropy of cyclical referencing will bleed into self-sired vampire diaries.

As you crank up White Lung in the next room and sit down to read all about Coeur de Lion and feel yourself prolapse because you've looped back to Deep Fantasy for the ninth time, think about how non-fiction books and other guides are really just printed or verbosified Wikipedia entries.

As much as the food feeds its own cycle via compost to nutrients to feed to dinner plate, so too does information always feed itself.

Ethan Switch

Written on Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Wax Conspiracy

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