My Alternative Wikipedia
Over the years I have on various occasions attempted to make contributions to Wikipedia. Whatever I put up there, however, gets wiped. Wikipedia editors are clearly Left-leaning so I can understand that they wipe anything written from my libertarian/conservative viewpoint. But even stuff with no obvious political slant disappears.
From what I can see, Wikipedia editors in fact spend most of their day deleting what others have put up. So there is clearly an informally-specified Wikipedia culture that you have to conform to if you wish your writings to appear there. It also seems likely that, once you have been identified as a bad egg, you are just totally black-banned, no matter how good what you want to post may be.
That is something of a pity as some of the information I try to put up is not found anywhere else in English. My major recreational interest these days is Austro/Hungarian operetta. I spend a couple of hours nightly watching it. Rather frivolous, I guess, but I have the privilege of reading and writing serious stuff all day so light relief has its place.
So I have come to know rather a lot about it. Being the academic type, I also research the shows as well as watching them. I look at who is singing, who the artistic director is and other details. I try to accumulate biographical information about the singers, about the historical background, and information about particular notable performances.
Operetta does have a worldwide audience but it is almost all sung and written in German and the information about it, including libretti, is also mostly in German. So if English Wikipedia does have any information at all about (say) a particular singer, it will mostly be pretty bare-bones. Wikipedia in German, and sometimes in Italian, will have much more information. And German Wikipedia is only a start. There are many music-oriented German-language sites that include operetta information.
Since I can read German and Italian (the latter with difficulty) I can however usually find out quite a lot more about a singer than most people in the English-speaking world would be able to. And I am inclined to pass on that information in English. But Wikipedia won't let me.
So I have set up My Alternative Wikipedia to draw together my posts on matters that I think have reference interest. It's not all operetta but mostly so. And that may be a useful approach. Most of the performers in operetta are from Europe and have European names -- such as Ingeborg Hallstein or Dagmar Schellenberger -- that would rarely be encountered in English-language sources. So a Google search on those names should lead quickly to my site.
And having an operetta database can lead you to the unexpected. If, for instance, you Google the very popular "Ivan Rebroff", you will find a multitude of well-deserved references to him as a jolly Russian bass singer of both popular and operatic works. But without a comprehensive reference to operetta, you may not realize that he was also a brilliant comic actor. His performance of red-faced rage at the rejection of his "daughter" in a 1970s performance of Zigeunerbaron is far and away the best I have seen. His whole life was an act, in fact. He was a German, not a Russian. And he died a Greek. As all conservatives know, reality is complicated.
And I should perhaps note that Austro/Hungarian operetta is very politically incorrect these days. It was written around 100 years ago so reflects a more natural set of values. Membership of the military is, for instance, treated with great respect, and even is to some extent glorified. No modern Leftist would applaud that. But, as a former Sergeant in the Australian army, I do myself have every respect for the military.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).