Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Righteous Search?

The internet is an amazing thing. Prior to its invention, it was not possible for me to spend nine consecutive hours watching videos of the greatest plays in major league baseball history from the comfort of my own home office desk, where my legs have fallen hopelessly asleep like the rest of me should be because it’s three in the morning. But the internet makes that possible.

But for all the obvious benefits, I’m getting a little concerned that there may be some unintended consequences associated with having unlimited information at our fingertips. Especially when that information doesn’t seem to be vetted by anyone with an IQ above that of celery, as I discovered on a recent Google search.

For a reason that escapes me, I was Googling the definition of “righteous.”

The first result was an official-looking box labeled “Dictionary,” with the apparently official definition. I say apparently, because I was more than a little skeptical after I read the whole thing.

Being in the second half of my forties, also known as the “My Knees Hurt” half, I grew up with real dictionaries printed on paper and compiled in book form. They were large, cumbersome, comprehensive, and in all my years growing up and into adulthood, no single person I am aware of ever called into question the validity of a word definition found in one of these books. Dictionaries were, by definition, the bible of definitions. No arguments. If it says it in there, that’s how it is.

I even still have one on my desk, an arm’s reach from my computer, but most times it’s just easier and faster to Google a word. I’m re-thinking that laziness now.

The first definition of “righteous” given to me by Google seemed perfectly legitimate:

(of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous.
"feelings of righteous indignation about pay and conditions"

OK, I’ll accept that. Makes sense.

Do you know what didn’t make any sense? The second definition:

very good; excellent.
"righteous bread pudding"

Um… huh?

I mean, I agree with the initial definition. I grew up using the informal US-based slang term “righteous” to denote anything that was extra cool. That’s not in question. It’s your choice of example sentence, dear Google, that I have issue with.

Bread pudding!? Seriously? You needed to come up with an example of something a hip, informal US slang user would say, and “this is some righteous bread pudding” was the winner?

No informal slang user, US-based or otherwise, has ever uttered the words “righteous” and “bread pudding” in the same sentence. I’m not sure where you’re from, or even what bread pudding really is, but I’m quite sure you’re not from Earth, and bread pudding has never been even remotely righteous.

This utter lack of common sense and culinary decency calls into question every single thing you might tell me ever again. You have lost my trust with your ridiculous example sentence, and driven me back to my trusty, tangible, paper bible of words.

I mean, I expect this kind of thing from Wikipedia, but not you, Google. I thought you were better than this.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to watching the highlights from every world series in history.

Righteous bread pudding! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

See you soon,


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