The best Wikipedia opening paragraph ever?

Foreign Policy blog looks at the Twitter storm over what is described as “the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever”.

And no it isn’t the opening paragraph of Judith Collins Wikipedia page.

464px-sir_adrian_carton_de_wiart_by_sir_william_orpen

On Sunday, Twitter user Matthew Barrett created something of a sensation by linking to the obscure Wikipedia biography of the British army officer Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart. His tweet — “This guy surely has the best opening paragraph of any Wikipedia biography ever” — has been retweeted more than 3,200 times over the past several days.  

So just how mind-blowing is the introduction on Carton de Wiart’s page? Judge for yourself:

Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart[1] VCKBECB,CMGDSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963), was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He fought in the Boer WarWorld War I, and World War II, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them. He later said “frankly I had enjoyed the war.” [2]

Sounds impressive…and the Daily Mail did a feature of him too.

So who was this man of extraordinary valor? A Daily Mail profile last year relays much of the same information contained on Carton de Wiart’s Wikipedia page: By the end of his life, the British soldier had been awarded his military’s highest honor for bravery during World War I and served in the Second Boer War and World War II, commanding troops in a daring World War II raid in Norway. He wore a black patch to cover a missing eye, and had been wounded in the skull, groin, ankle, and stomach. A missing hand betrayed a grisly backstory — he had once chewed off his own wounded fingers. He had tunneled out of an Italian prisoner-of-war camp, and had wound up there after crashing his plane in the Mediterranean. To top it all off, he had also served as Winston Churchill’s special representative to China’s Chiang Kai-shek. He had indeed remarked that he “enjoyed” World War I, going on to add that “it had given me many bad moments, lots of good ones, plenty of excitement and with everything found for us.”


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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