Have you heard about Conservapedia? It's a relatively new online encyclopedia (www.conservapedia.com) that boasts a conservative bias. Aside from its Christian conservative leanings, Conservapedia looks and operates similar to Wikipedia, with the entries posted and edited by anyone who wants to.
Conservapedia was created by a high-school teacher, Andy Schlafly, in order to offset what he believed was a liberal slant on Wikipedia. And offset he did. From the minute you load it, you can see the conservolasses dripping all over the thing. For instance, on the left side of the home page, near the top, they feature the Bible Verse of the day. In the right column are links to typical conservative news stories with titles like, 'Planned Parenthood, Worse Than You Think.' There is also a link to a list of posting guidelines called 'The Conservapedia Commandments,' which, to their credit, insists that, 'Everything you post must be true and verifiable.'
In the inside of the encyclopedia are several controversial posts that mightily display conservative bias. For example, the entry for Homosexuality offers this despicable stanza from Leviticus: 'If there is a man who lies with a male... they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.' And the entry for Environmentalists identifies them as having hidden political agendas. Same Sex Marriage is said to be 'counterfeit' via a quote from James Dobson of Focus on the Family. The entry for Pornography describes it as, 'Images depicting... the sort of ‘unnatural lust' which leads to damnation.' (They say that like it's a bad thing). And Jesus Christ is unequivocally defined as the 'Son of God,' which seems to defy the aforementioned requirement that entries need to be 'true and verifiable.'
Critics complain that Conservapedia is dangerous. They say the site targets young people and gives them incorrect information about science, evolution and abortion. They worry about the hostile attitude toward homosexuals and other marginalized groups.
Not surprisingly, I don't object at all to this Conservapedia business. I have no doubt that Wikipedia is biased. Every encyclopedia since the dawn of encyclopedic knowledge has had a predilection of some sort.
The word encyclopedia, incidentally, comes from the Greek enkyklios paideia, which means 'well-rounded education.' However, if individual encyclopedias have biases, then it is the sum of all encyclopedic tomes that truly round out human education. This is why I have no problem with anyone who wants to espouse their ideology, especially when they feel that ideology is being suppressed. Oh sure, Conservapedia is a silly website maintained by morally superior, uptight, humorless dickwads and is fully deserving of our ridicule. It just doesn't deserve our contempt.
Conservapedia reminds us that everything we think we know is packaged and delivered by other humans who decided they were going to be an authority on whatever subject they claim to be an authority on.
Conservapedia, as does Wikipedia, challenges the notion that only the elite get to decide what goes in the encyclopedia and how it's worded. That's what's so great about the Wiki concept-oh sure, it's got flaws, but there's something beautiful and organic about it. Its truths represent our truths; its flaws represent our flaws. We are the Wiki.
So I have no problem with Wikipedia or Conservapedia or even CreationWiki (yes, it's real-www.creationwiki.org) except to say that none of these lexicons represent my agenda. None of them exhibit a predisposition toward the sort of things I have a predisposition toward, which is why I have decided to start my own interactive encyclopedia. It, too, will exhibit bias-a bias for boozers and stoners, a bias for druggies and floozies, for the godless and the depraved, for the perverts and the chastity-challenged. A bias toward the kind of people who read this column-my people: the Sordids. It's called Sickopedia. I've already started working on the entries. Here are some examples:
* Pornography: graphic images depicting the sort of 'unnatural lust' which leads to utter bliss and a spiritual sense of oneness with the universe. Also, good way to practice spotting boob jobs.
* Prostitution: A totally normal and natural sexual business transaction between consenting adults-a real hit with conservative politicians and religious leaders (see Sen. David Vitters and Jimmy Swaggart).
* Marijuana: Causes powerful psychotropic reactions in your brain that can relieve stress, stimulate creativity, upgrade bad television shows and, when used properly, turn you into less of a morally superior, humorless, uptight dickwad.
* Same-Sex Marriage: Something that's none of anyone's goddamn business.
* Narcotics: Best not to indulge more than two or three times a week.
* God: An old man with a white beard who sits on a throne in the sky and watches over people and protec-urrgh, splurt, snerkle, fizzpt-sorry, I just discharged some vodka through my nose.
* Masturbation: Ritual of sexual self-gratification-best performed with pornographic images spread across the bed or computer screen. Damnation optional.
* Roman Catholic Church: A religious organization run by a bunch of nutcases who wear weird robes, engage in bizarre ceremonies (like cannibalizing the messiah), chant in spooky tongues and cover up or commit sex crimes against children. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
* Polygamy: Fine, fine, whatever-just don't cover up or commit sex crimes against children. Leave that for the folks over at Pedo pedia.com
* Abortion: Best not to have more than two or three a year.
* Homosexuality: A totally normal and natural sexual proclivity that has been practiced for as long as mankind has roamed the earth-a real hit with conservative politicians and religious leaders (see Rep. Mark Foley and the Rev. Ted Haggard).
Send your Sickopedia entries to ed@SDcity beat.com. For more yammerings, visit www.edwindecker.com.