Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Different Kind of 'Lost Weekend'

The Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia says the following about Charles R. Jackson, author of the 1940s best-seller, later a famous movie, The Lost Weekend:

Jackson was born in Virginia and pursued a career in engineering before attending West Point and entering the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in World War II and spent three years in a Japanese prison camp. Upon returning home, he received the Purple Heart and Gold Star for his service, and turned to writing. He published The Lost Weekend in 1944, his first novel. The semi-autobiographical novel chronicled a stuggling writer's five day binge . . .


Now this is all true. Only problem is that they are talking about two different Charles R. Jacksons. There was indeed a Charles R. Jackson who was a Japanese POW. He later wrote a book about his experiences, I Am Alive. He is not the same guy as the talented but dissipated Charles R. Jackson who wrote The Lost Weekend. (I presume the alcoholic-novelist Charles Jackson didn't escape from a Japanese POW camp, travel to New York, publish his book in 1944, and then go back to the POW camp so he could have another book to write down the road.)

To make matters worse, this stupidity is being spread around the Internet, with the above misidentification picked up by a new Internet search engine called NNDB.

I've brought the above to the attention of NNDB and Wikipedia. Let's see how long it takes for these geniuses to fix their mistakes.

UPDATE (1/2): Actually the entry goofed in its description of the military Charles Jackson as well, since the "Gold Star" is a nonexistent decoration. Somebody posted a detailed note pointing out all the mistakes in the "talk" section of the Wikipedia entry, but the entry itself remains uncorrected.

It's interesting how many minor errors there are throughout Wikipedia. Really renders the whole thing totally useless as an "encyclopedia."
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