Thursday, April 03, 2008

Looking Back At Butterflies From Atlantis

At the Oak Lawn Public Library where
homeless people cool down in the summer
and warm up in the winter, if you do
a computer search of their catalogue
for “Paris Hilton” you will get two hits,
a horror DVD called “House Of Wax,”
and the book, “Confessions Of An Heiress,”
which Paris Hilton wrote with Merle Ginsberg.

If you venture into the stacks you’ll find
Paris Hilton’s book on a shelf in the
seven-nineties. In fact, you will find it
on a shelf right below another book,
Price Guide To Plastic Collectibles,” by
Lindi McNulty. Paris Hilton’s book,
written with Merle Ginsberg, tells a person
how to live as if they were an heiress.

If you sit down at one of the public
access computers and do a Google
internet search for “Paris Hilton,” you
will get more than eighty-three million hits.
If you venture into those stacks you might
be wandering around for quite some time.

Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #5: The Butterflies From Atlantis

Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #4: Atlantis

Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #3: Fons Et Origo

Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #2: Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #1: Et In Arcadia Ego

I wrote that more than a year ago. It’s one of my favorite five-day themes.

Those five days were pretty content-heavy. I mentioned a lot of books that are important to me. I talked about an oddball Pangea theory that I find very interesting. And of all the metaphors I’ve come up with for this blog over the last two years, the notion of books as ‘butterflies from Atlantis’ might be my favorite.

However, of all the stuff contained in those five posts, I think the line that caused me the most concern was when I mentioned that a Google search for Paris Hilton returns more than 83 million hits.

First of all, that was true.

On the day I wrote that section, I sat down at a computer, did a Google search for Paris Hilton and got more than 83 million hits. I incorporated the number into my post and moved on. Early the next day I did another Paris Hilton search and got a different number, something like 72 million hits. A day later I got more than 85 million hits.

Since I was taking a lot of care making sure all the titles I used were real, making sure all the references I made were real, it bugged me that a person doing a Google search on their computer would come up with a different number than I’d used in my post.

I considered changing my phrasing to something ambiguous, like ‘dozens of millions’ but once I’ve written a little ahead it makes me nervous changing earlier words because everything, to my eyes and ears, goes together and a change just looks and sounds out of place.

So I left in the 83 million number. But it’s more than a year later and it still bugs me.

Now, back here in the present, I did a Google search this morning for Paris Hilton and got only about 65 million hits.

That’s way less than any of the numbers I got when I was writing those five posts.

On one hand, I hope people clicking through my index page and re-reading those five posts realize that I used a real number there, I didn’t just grab a big number out of the air.

On the other hand, I guess it’s kind of good news: The Paris Hilton obsession among netizens has died down by something like 20 million hits.

If Paris Hilton continues to lose about 10 million hits per year, in less than a decade she will disappear from the internet!

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