Getting Medieval

Who doesn’t have a devil of a time keeping up with technology? My day is divided in almost Manichaean terms between having internet access and not. Once I climb on that New Jersey Transit bus—they don’t have restrooms, let alone wifi—I enter radio silence for God knows how long. Once safely ensconced at work, I once again have the net but I can only use it for work. The even longer commute home spells the end to internet access for the day, since supper and sleep await at the other end of the line. So when websites change in the course of a day or two, it’s difficult to keep up. The other day, for instance, I noticed on Wikipedia, in an article about the Devil, that the dark lord has a coat of arms. “That,” I thought, “would make an interesting blog post.”

That idea, like most of mine these days, had to be put on hold until after work. And between after work and getting ready for work again, the delay lasted a week. Maybe two. Then I went back to the page and the reference was gone. I can still remember that the coat of arms had three frogs on it—somewhat unfairly to amphibians, I felt—and I even recall precisely where on the page it was. When I finally had time to look it up, it was no longer there. Cached pages used to be easy to find, but who has time any more? There’s a reason that people of my generation still prefer print books. Yes, there are times when it’s difficult to remember where you read something, but at least the reference is still there when you open the cover again. It hasn’t vanished in a pique of editing enthusiasm. The strangeness of it all was worthy of comment—a coat of arms was a sign of medieval prestige. There’s no doubt that the Devil had his day in the Middle Ages.

I hear about people being bored in retirement. I’m so busy, though, that I’m going to have to request a desk in the afterlife. Not that retirement’s anywhere within sight, but I have so many projects going that I don’t know when I’ll ever have time to finish them all. Even a holiday weekend’s too short to make much of a dent. I don’t need another technologically driven mystery to occupy any more of my waking hours. Looking for a Wikipedia factoid that was deleted doesn’t make it any easier. They say the Devil’s in the details, but that presumes you can find the details where you left them. And if you happen find the reference, can you please also keep an eye out for my car keys?

5 responses to “Getting Medieval

  1. Pingback: Getting Medieval — Sects and Violence in the Ancient World | Talmidimblogging

  2. Wikipedia is way ahead of the times in this regard: at the top of every page there’s a link, “View History”, that’ll show you every edit (who, when, how many characters changed, and a change message). From that page you can both see previous versions, and compare them (by viewing “diffs”, programmer-speak for “differences”, between versions).

    In this case though, through kategladstone’s helpful link, it appears that the coat of arms is still on the article “Devil in Christianity”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_in_Christianity#New_Testament

    (Or, a better URL is available through the “Permanent link” link on every Wikipedia page, is https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Devil_in_Christianity&oldid=824732389#New_Testament This link, using that “oldid” number, will always point to the one that just I saw.)

    Like

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