WayBack Wednesday – O Brittania!

Welcome back to another installment of Wayback Wednesday, a theme that I thunked up all by meselfs.

As you can tell, I was always a good student. Halfway decent even. I enjoyed going to the liberry, and read up on the things I was interested in. (Planets, dinosaurs, etc). Occasionally I even remembered to return the books on time. All of these things and less led me on the path to raising my intellectual hunger and awareness. The product below was not one of those factors.


A couple of things come to mind. Useless facts that is. We might go so far as to say points of discussion, if you are so inclined. Seriously, mention these points over drinks with your peers (as long as you are over 34 years old that is; kids these days have NO idea what ENCYCLOpedias are). Plus it’s an excuse to go out for drinks. I know, I know, who needs an excuse? Well the longer you go between interventions, the better.

Well I guess that is point #1. Kids these days only know WIKIpedia, which is user-generated, not carefully and painstakingly by Brittanicans, who are obviously wise men people who shared the knowledge they have preserved over the years. Maybe not as wise as the guy who keeps editing Justin Bieber’s sex as male whenever someone corrects it, but still, they knew a thing or 18.    

2. It’s totally radical how he mentions computers won’t really help him with his research. For that matter, his leather/iced denim hybrid jacket won’t either (he neglected to mention his pristine white high-tops). To his credit, somehow facts and answers were found and essays were written based on information that came from some source. At the time, books contains objective opinions, research and even a chart or two. Now what lies between thick cardboard covers.

Some things should stay lost. As lost as possible.

3. Before Wikipedia, we had Encarta ’95.  ON A CD. FOR THE COMPUTER! And that was state of the art – we thought “NOW computers can do everything, including help us with our research. There is no other worthwhile use for computers or the internet to make anything else in life easier, including bidding on other people’s crap or looking at nekkid pictures.”

4. On the kids TV game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”, the grand prize is the complete set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas. No, they did not get a copy of Rockapella’s greatest hits.

Who needs instruments when you have garish colors?

5. In the recycle storage area of my building’s basement, there was a stack of “Encyclopedia Americana.” I wonder if some Brittanicans broke away from the organization because of conflicting ideals, sailing away or stealing away in the night with some information to start their own encyclopedia and undermine the dominant paradigm. Depending on which one of those factions won the war, the logically they would be the ones referencing it.

6. Every year they would update this commercial, and the nameless kid in his pristine white cell progressed with a more rockin’ mullet, flashier duds, and a more cooperative/resigned attitude that he was starring in commercials pitching BOOKS, not NES games or junk food  like all the other child actors. It was like we were watching him grow up, even if we didn’t want to.

They see me rollin', they hatin'...

7. Well not print, apparently. Encyclopedia Brittanica just announced that they will no longer be printing books – digital media is where it’s at.

8. Finally, if you were the average family unit, you likely didn’t have EB gracing your shelves, educating you with the radiant glows of its awesomeness, and fooling people into thinking that you actually read them. Rather you probably had something less formal, but more fun…

There's an entire volume dedicated to the Red Baron.

6 Comments

Filed under Computers, Creative Writing, General Nerdliness, Humor, Life, Retro, Wayback wednesday

6 responses to “WayBack Wednesday – O Brittania!

  1. Lay off the BEIBER!
    I truly laughed at the “They see me rollin. They hatin.” picture.
    Thank you for this trip down “I hated that asshole on the Encyclopedia Brittanica commercials” lane.

  2. I remember Encarta 95! I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to cite it when I used it for an essay I wrote and forgot to photocopy my encyclopedia article that I was working with!

    *sigh* Kids these days…they make me feel old!

  3. “Well the longer you go between interventions, the better.” Hear, hear. All those meetings cut into my drinking time.

    This was an excellent trip on the WayBack Machine. Ah, those awkward years when computers suddenly became affordable for personal use, but no one had any idea how to use the newfangled contraptions.

  4. Hey, didn’t that guy in the video grow up to sell Slap Chops and Schtickies on TV? Same annoying voice!

  5. I remember being very excited about the whole library on a CD thing – now we don’t even use CDs anymore – very weird

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