[An old mail I forgot to send back in January, but it strikes me as
On 04/01/07, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton(a)gmail.com> wrote:
there's [[Eddie the Eagle]] (to keep with the E theme) who
not only didn't do anything to qualify, but made them put in the rule
that you had to actually have some previous success to become an
Being so bad they had to make a rule to get rid of you sounds very
notable to me.
Though now I think about it, it does show up an interesting bias in
our assumptions. Today, Olympians are de-facto notable, by definition
world-class athletes. But thirty-forty years ago - certainly back by
the 1920s - in many respects, in some of the more obscure sports, they
were "the chaps from --- who turned up". We often assert a kind of
retroactive assumption that that the standards of notability inherent
in something in the present were inherent in its past incarnations,
and use the present "status" as a blanket acceptance criteria.
An example that springs to mind is the Victoria Cross, where we have a
reasonably established assumption that winners of it are inherently
notable, because of the scarcity of the award and the cultural
importance attatched to it. But this is a modern thing, a product of
the past century; the VC was originally (by contemporary standards)
given out remarkably often - in one case in 1857, 24 in a single day.
18 of those were awarded by ballot, given to a unit and then selected
from among their members - do we class those recipients as "notable"
in the same way as someone who won it by more stringent standards a
I don't think these small unintentional broadenings of what
constitutes notability are a detrimental thing to any "notability
rule" - it does, after all, mean we have a larger body of topics to
draw on without bickering - but it is something we should perhaps be
aware that we do.
- Andrew Gray