Wikipedia "Breakup" More Entertaining Than Primetime TV

by AMANDA MELILLO · March 4, 2008

rachel and jimmy

[Photo via Sydney Herald]

In an ever-increasing digital culture, where a good deal of what happens in human relationships is staged on the Web, it only makes sense that the next frontier for the war grounds of a break-up would be on the Internet. Especially if you founded a little site called Wikipedia. Maybe you thought it was bad when you were broken up with by a doorman, post-it or missing persons report, but you haven't really lived until you've been broken up with on Wikipedia.

Which is exactly what happened to New Yorker Rachel Marsden when the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, decided their relationship was over: she learned about the break-up via public announcement on the website, which I'm going to say is worse than when Donna Hanover had to learn via press conference that then-mayor Rudy Giuliani wanted a divorce. I mean, that was confined to the New York press (sort of.) But everyone in the WORLD that has a computer goes to Wikipedia! It's the first thing that pops up in Google searches!

Classy. Real classy. Jimmy, we know she's a right-wing Republican pundit and used to be a correspondent on hateful blowhard Bill O'Reilly's show, but even those people deserve some decency. Unless she sold your puppy or ran over your mother or something along those lines.

Then Ms. Marsden did what any pissed-off ex broken up with via World Wide Web would do: she posted an ad to auction off his stuff on ebay. At this moment, the bidding for his t-shirt is up to $12,100, and the link can be found here. But perhaps her message warrants a full posting below:

Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia. It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I'm selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won't be happening now.

Both of these items have been washed, twice, with Tide extra-strength liquid detergent. Otherwise, they would not be in salable condition. I took them out of GitMo style isolation from a plastic bag in my closet (where they were placed to prevent the ongoing terrorism of my olfactory senses) and washed them out for the purposes of this auction. Even so, this particular item -- a medium sized, black "Starter" brand shirt -- has two white stains (one on the sleeve, as shown in the photo, and one in the back) which I have been unable to remove.

PS: Sorry that my hair is such a mess -- I'm in breakup mode right now and really couldn't be bothered.

Basically, I'm still trying to decide if this move is warranted (I would be pretty infuriated!) and therefore genius in an eye-for-an-eye revenge style, or bodes ill for humanity. Because it is kind of sad that we have to degrade ourselves this way by behaving so poorly, and that we are all susceptible to doing so, not just the people that eat bugs on TV for their fifteen minutes of fame.