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Literature / Complete World Knowledge

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"The metaphysicians of Tlön are not looking for truth or even an approximation to it: they are after a kind of amazement."
Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733 edition note 

Complete World Knowledge is a critically-acclaimed series of fake almanacks written by John Hodgman (aka the PC in the "Mac vs. PC" commercials). They include:

Also related was the podcast "Today in the Past", containing some snippets from the Complete World Knowledge series. Known for their absurdist sense of humour, bizarre running jokes and high degree of cohesion between volumes, absolutely deadpan writing style, and sheer breadth of subject matter, ranging from cheese to axolotls to aliens to hoboes to mole-men to celebrity status to zeppelins to lobsters to ancient and unspeakable ones.


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Although each book has its own page, the series as a whole provides examples of:

  • Take That!: Frequent attacks on Jonathan Coulton, Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Campbell and Nick Nolte. Hodgman and Coulton are actually great friends, and Hodgman was the man who got Bruce's bestselling book "If Chins could Kill" published back in his days as a literary agent, but he seems to genuinely dislike Franklin.
  • Weasel Mascot: All three books involve this, even on the covers. The front cover of Information shows Hodgman holding a ferret, to be used to steal a diamond. More shows him holding a ferret, claiming "New ferret, same old con", and All shows him posing with the skeleton of a ferret...hopefully not the same ferret as the first two.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Read these books. Then take a year's worth of university courses. Then read them again. It's a wholly different experience.

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