Since its inception, Wikipedia has become the online resource for calling people out on their bullshit. For those of use who constantly find ourselves doubting the words of others, Wikipedia provides us with a base knowledge on just about anything assuming the articles you’re reading haven’t been vandalized by some dastardly teenagers.
To better organize its endless articles, Wikipedia has a series of articles that comprise other articles meeting certain themes. For the most part these lists are pretty mundane: list of cats, list of fictional cats list of dogs that look like cats, so on and so forth. But among these mounds of mundane information are some seriously strange lists, such as…
I’m not really sure where the gentleman’s game of chess ranks between chain-smoking and trying to simultaneously juggle and unicycle, but I never would have thought that chess was actively taking lives. But its apparently happened so many times that someone on Wikipedia decided that the game’s hit-list needed to be forever documented.
As with most games that have a long history, chess has been associated with a number of anecdotes, and some relate to games that have resulted in the murder of one of the players involved. The reliability of many of these anecdotes is suspect, but some appear to be based in fact.
Well I suppose that’s a little more logical. It’s not the game itself so much as it’s those nerdy types playing. That’s reassuring. Wikipedia wants you to know that some of these stories are “suspect,” but don’t let that stop you from bringing those creepers in the A.V. club to justice.
An Example On the List:
The wheat and chessboard problem is some crazy mathematical problem with an awesome back story: a king commissions the creation of a strategy game, to which an inventor responds by making the game of chess. The king, pleased by this effort, allows the the inventor to name his price. Not content with actually being rewarded, he tells the king that he wants a single grain of wheat for the first square on the board, two for the second, four on the third, and doubling it for each subsequent square.
Chess players out there know that a chess board has sixty-four squares, amounting to an absurd amount of wheat very quickly. After trying to count the wheat for a week, the king decides to counter this attempted act of dickery by telling the inventor that he can take his reward if he himself counts it out to ensure he isn’t being double crossed.
See? Even when this game is working properly people are still miserable.
This collection was made because someone somewhere had to write a really specific essay. Either that or would be thugs need a quick cross-reference of which heroes they can take in a fight and which villains aren’t going to send them to the X Dimension.
What follows is a list of superheroes and super villains who do not possess super powers, and the skills they have to make up for them.
So rather than a list of less than super beings we’re instead treated to a collective of characters who are still capable of beating your ass without the aide of awesome powers (Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing and just about everyone else who set foot in Gotham City). Seriously, that’s pretty typical. Way to go all mainstream on me, Wikipedia. What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.
An Example From the List:
A quick scroll to the bottom reveals a small section called “Other Heroes” championed by none other than Tintin. Yes, this Tintin:
The minute we put the likes of The Riddler and Tintin on the same list of heroes and villians the meaning of both words is completely lost. Really? Tintin’s a hero? I’ll admit, he’s a nice guy and all, but what did he do to get there? Iron Man gets himself into the mix and fights evil with the awesome power of lasers. Tintin goes on sexy and exotic adventures. One of those things is not like the other. If Tintin’s a hero then Garfield’s hero, but Garfield isn’t listed on Wikipedia’s list of Other Heroes, so he must not be a hero. Pending a quick edit Tintin’s resume, we’ve got nothing to see here. Moving on.
If I’ve learned anything from the fine folks at 4Chan it’s that some people with Internet access are less than reputable. It’s really no different than real life when you think about it. Every group of people has its share of bad eggs. Some people are bullies and others spend their time trying to trick children on Pokemon fan forums into clicking on 2Girls1Cup. Sun rise, sun set.
My point is this: some people shouldn’t have a detailed collection of torture methods. And while it’s noble that Wikipedi is trying to write an extensive encyclopedia on everything possible, seriously, what the hell.
Note that the line between “torture method” and “torture device” is often blurred, particularly when a specifically-named implement is but one component of a method. Also, many devices that can be used for torture have mainstream uses, completely unrelated to torture.
Essentially Wikipedia wants you to know that anything can be a torture device with just a little imagination. That little piece of information actually makes the whole article itself unnecessary. Still, Wikipedia stands and delivers with a lengthy list of ways to totally mess up your fellow man.
Example From the List:
The Tucker Telephone is what happens when terrible people get their hands on otherwise innocent appliances. An old crank phone is attached to two cell batteries. Then, two wires are run from the device to some poor soul, with one wire wrapped around the toe and another attached to the genitals. Cranking the phone would administer an electric shock, but these people weren’t without a sense of humor: a series of cranks was referred to as a long-distance call. Think about that the next time you call your brother in Utah.
The most startling thing about the Tucker Telephone is that it was developed in the 1960s. At that point we’d already been through two World Wars and thus had access to bullets, knives, bayonets, grenades, gas, atomic energy and flamethrowers. Despite this, some incredibly twisted individual is only satisfied if he’s causing people permanent damage with by strapping a telephone to their nuts. Suddenly I realize that humanity as a species has come along way.
Written By Ben Dennison, copyrighted © WorldOddities.com