Wikipedia, an online “in progress” encyclopedia, is just one of the many controversial topics that are shaping our new technological driven era. As those who hold on aggressively to their own generational divides, many of the youth (and many adults also) grapple on to the ever changing technological, business, and cultural aspects that improve day by day and generation after generation. Wikipedia created a controversy because it took the place of an online encyclopedia with no real substance to solidify its backbone, but at the same time, it questioned whether the knowledge of a community was valid. If human knowledge, brought together by passion, is not accurate then who is to say that we are not already in that technologically controlled era that we so fateful feared?
In my small area of expertise I am quite fond of comic books, one of which (like the many) was adapted to the screen. James O’ Barr produced a very personal series of comics named “The Crow” which was published in 1989 and the adapted on to the screen in 1994.
As I pulled up the Wikipedia article, I did not find any information that was extremely inaccurate. There were no warning of any faults in the article. The page offers a long detailed of the film’s plot from scene to scene. It offers an accurate cast list and then follows with the controversial issue of Brandon Lee’s (Bruce Lee’s son) unfaithful death on set. Many have debated this topic in and outside of the court and this is the one area of the article that could be convicted of a small amount of biased information. How and when Lee died was not fully released to the public because a lot of the information was case sensitive. The Wikipedia page however, explains a detailed incident of the scene that Lee’s character walks into the apartment after grocery shopping and finds his fiancé being raped and tortured by a gang. As Lee walks in the door, a gun (which was supposed to be filled with a dummy round) is fired with enough primer to push the bullet out of the chamber and into Lee’s abdomen. Some might say that this is the wrong scene and that he actually died towards the end of the film where all of the gang members fire at Lee while he stands on a table. Others will add to Wikipedia’s defense and argue that the projectile from the gun was not what pierced Lee’s abdomen but instead a charge that went off inside the grocery bag. Some might say that the film was on such a low budget that the guns used were poorly constructed and that was the cause to the bullet having enough power to shoot Lee. Some might say, this is the most cynical of all I have heard, that the guns were rigged by a Chinese mafia member, which is a conspiracy around Lee’s death in itself that has to do with his father’s involvement in both the American and Chinese film industry. Regardless, the film is dedicated to Lee and his fiancé and the truth about his death will always lie in their hands.
Another interesting aspect of the collective intelligence that Jenkin’s preaches is the use of Wikipedia for extended services such as its feature called Wikiquote. On this page you can find popular quotes listed by character that are said throughout the film. It shows the aspect of a “cult classic” that The Crow has become and shows the dedication of Wikipedians to the film. As Jenkins mentions in his blogs, Wikipedia has brought together people of all generations and allowed them to “think about their own particular skills, knowledge and experience.” In the context of students learning to engage in online research in a different way, Jenkins also mentions how Wikipedia can change the learning experience of these students because it “is no longer about finding the right answer to get a grade on an assignment but producing credible information that others can count upon when they deploy it on some other real word context.” To bring generations together to collaborate successfully on an ongoing project is a powerful tool when building new systems of interaction and education.
The revision history of the page was also astonishing because it had more than 500 edits since its creation. The film itself was a low budget with low accredited actors at the moment. It was not until Lee’s death that Paramount dropped their contract and the film gained mass amounts of attention. The page to this day, still has edits continuously through the years. We also have to take into account the amount of attention that has been shed due to the talk about a remake of The Crow with O’Barr’s complete creative control promised. If it weren’t for these two events, the film probably wouldn’t have received the attention that it has or the cult classic that it is.
In my opinion, and in experience from reading this accurate article, I would have to take Jenkin’s side. Wikipedia is just one of the many internet portals that bring together passionate people and allow them to all equally to be heard. It excludes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and class by being open to all perspective and allows each and every one of us to express our interests in the most human way possible: Through writing. Like I said previously, society has created guidelines to say who is and who isn’t eligible to considered an expert, but there are many people who have taken their non-formal education and achieved the same positions that experts have. So who is to decide whose knowledge is more valuable than others? Wikipedia is a great step in the door of a new education system that will create an enhanced cultural society based on new technologies.
Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies (Parts One and Two).” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. WordPress. 26-27 June 2007. Web. 8 March 2015.
Welkos, Robert. “Bruce Lee’s Son, Brandon, killed in Movie accident.” Los Angeles Times. April 1, 1993. Web. March 8 2015.
Wikipedia Contributors. The Crow. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.