from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Random #21: Wikipedia and the Army, Part I

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of my favorite diversions from revising is surfing random Wikipedia pages. It’s a lame pastime but one that is the evolution of a pastime from my nerd childhood. As a child, I would choose a volume at random from the Encyclopædia Britannica or the World Book Encyclopedia (I bet the now-extinct encyclopedia salesmen loved my parents) and spend my afternoons reading any entry that caught my fancy. I was a very strange, lonely child.

Wikipedia does have a page for the Korean Army, where I learned that my former unit, SROKA (Second ROK Army), has been converted into the 2nd OC (Operations Command). Not that I care. As I have mentioned in a previous entry, “A turd by any other name…”

I spent most of my time reading about early 20th century German general Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord. What a name. Imagine his mother calling him by his full name when she was angry. In German. Yikes.

He was the son of a noble family who rose to position of Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr, the predecessor of the Wehrmacht. He was an “ardent opponent of Hitler and the Nazi regime” and apparently kept attempting to assassinate Hitler by inviting Hitler to his fortified base and having “a fatal accident” occur.

The part of the entry I particularly liked was this:

Hammerstein-Equord had a reputation for independence and indolence, favoring hunting and shooting over the labors of administration. He told his friends that the only thing that hampered his career was “a need for personal comfort.”

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about how colossal fuck-ups we turned out to be and he mentioned that he had hoped to have a Wikipedia page one day. I don’t have any aspirations for leaving my name to posterity. When I’m dead and gone, I won’t be around to care. All these efforts with the writing are simply to make money so I can quit my day job and spend the rest of my life doing something I like to do.

But I can understand my co-worker’s sentiment. Wikipedia is not only the replacement for incredibly heavy encyclopedia tomes, it has also taken the function of the even heavier gravestone epigraph. Instead of asking, “What will they write on my gravestone?” the question is now, “What will they write about me on Wikipedia?” That is, if you someday leave a big enough mark behind to get your own Wikipedia page. Everyone else has to settle on their gravestones.

If I ever get my own Wikipedia page, I hope that they include something like they wrote for Hammerstein-Equord.

Beck had a reputation for independence and indolence, favoring playing Minesweeper and surfing Wikipedia over the labors of revision. He told his friends that the only thing that hampered his career was “a need for personal comfort.”

Sorry, Jimmy Wales. I’ll donate a little something something if I ever make it big.

Baron von Hammerstein-Equord: Bad-Ass Motherfucker


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