Editing Wikipedia

Last week, Fembot and CSWS hosted a Writing Women into Wikipedia event here at UO. That’s some of us below, creating entries and trying to figure things out.

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It was terrific fun, especially for those of us who wanted to make sure that women we admired (big and small) got written into the record, like Ranjana Kumari and Joan La Cour Scott.

It’s also made me look at Wikipedia very differently. This evening, for example, I wanted to check the release date for a film I refer to in a paper I’m writing. Of course, in the interest of procrastinating, I read the whole entry. I was surprised to read the following:

“Cabin in the Sky is remembered for its intelligent and witty script, which treated its characters and their race with a dignity rare in American films of the time, although some depictions are still a bit jarring to 21st-century sensibilities. According to liner notes in the CD reissue of the film’s soundtrack, Freed and Minnelli sought input from black leaders before production began on the film.”

I say surprised, because the newspaper piece I was citing (written by Langston Hughes), quotes actress Jean Muir describing Cabin in the Sky as “an abomination,” urging moviegoers to write to the studio and complain about it. Clearly “some depictions” were jarring to anti-racists at the time.

A minor point, I suppose, but with my new skills, I edited it to read:

“Some remember Cabin in the Sky for its intelligent and witty script, which some claimed treated its characters and their race with a dignity rare in American films of the time. Others, like actress Jean Muir, described Cabin in the Sky’s racial politics as “an abomination,” arguing that moviegoers should write to the studios when they saw “old stereotypes of Negro caricature” like those in the film.[2] According to liner notes in the CD reissue of the film’s soundtrack, Freed and Minnelli sought input from black leaders before production began on the film.”

I wonder what kind of input Freed and Minnelli sought. . .

 

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