An evening with Wikipedia and Answers.com: The road from Rome to the size-acceptance movement

By Bryan • blog, humour, life, personal, shanghai • 4 Aug 2009

It all began with HBO’s Rome and a further interest in two of the main characters, Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus.  The series is historical, but what about these two characters?  That’s all I wanted to know.  A quick 2 minute detour from media player onto the internet.

Sure, no problem. Turns out both Titus and Lucius are characterizations of the only two common Centurions mentioned in the works of Julius Caesar.

It just went on from there…

From Titus I wandered into an entry about the legion.  This led to time spent reading about the Roman Army, the Roman Navy, Roman infantry tactics and Roman fortifications.  It get’s a little convoluted, but a branch Firefox tab originated somewhere between the Julius Caesar and the legion brought me to Caesar Augustus (apparently the greatest Roman emperor) and then a big historical time leap to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus.  Marcus Aurelius (yes, the one in Gladiator) is considered to be the last of the “Five Good Emperors”.  Also with Aurelius is where the road becomes a bit more clear with a tab opening into the interesting concept of Pax Romana.  Pax Romana has links to ideas regarding Pax Americana, Pax Europaea and Pax PraetorianaPax Britannica is in there as well as many others.

That pushed into thoughts regarding the rise of China.  Is there a Pax China?  That is when gears switched from answers.com to Wikipedia.  Nope, no Pax China, but there is Pax Sinica (a much better term).  At the bottom of that entry are more delicious links to the Chinese century and China as an emerging power.  The term Chinese Century is considered to be a neologism.  A neologism is a “is a newly coined word that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event“

and there is a big damn list of neologisms.

I jumped into the following links due to neologism:

Chindia took me on a tangent to Sino-Indian war of 1962 (very interesting), Chimerica (which has yet to be defined), and portmanteau, which is a blend of two or more words.

But it was saddlebacking that brought me closer to the end.  Saddlebacking is actually a link to Savage Love, which is an entry for the syndicated sex-advice column (it appears on the Onion’s AV. Club website).  In this entry there is a reference to the phenomenon of recapturing offensive words, more formally known as reclaiming.  The final example of a reclaimed word on that page is fat, by the size-acceptance movement.

That is when I realized the bizarre route I just took.  All I wanted to know was if two television characters were based on real individuals…

Rome to size-acceptance in three hours.

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4 Responses

  1. Andrew

    First (and only) thing I could think of:

    http://xkcd.com/214/

    /Beware the dangers of Wikipedia!
    //Why, oh why, did I look up “saddlebacking”?
    ///I’m never going to get any work done working in an office with you next year, am I?
    ////:P

  2. Andrew

    Haha – they’re offering tours of the collapsed apartment building near you, now?

    http://gizmodo.com/5330505/tour-the-collapsed-building-of-shanghai

    (Only $200? Let’s sign up at once!)

  3. Pingback: Wolfram|Alpha | Bryan Crosby Dot Ca

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