Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Expert Textperts: An Exhaustively Ridiculous History

With a growing readership base, I realized that it was probably time for someone here at to fill our audience in on the back story of this delightful little blog.  Consider me, if you will, your helpful Bonobo monkey, peeling back the inedible rind of secrecy to reveal the succulent truth-fruit buried within.

Most people believe that Expert Textperts began in the fall of 2011; this is a mistake, as the earliest mention of Expert Textperts dates to around 1250 CE.  Found in a marginal note of a vellum manuscript of the Bible, "The Fratternal Brutherhode of the Experttes of the Sacrid Textes" is credited with placing a humorous caption below one of the slavishly-drawn illuminated images.

"Good gentlemen, I bid ye permit me access into yon building."
"Nay, Brother William, for we perceive that thou art flatulent, and surely it doth offend us too greatly."

The original brotherhood continued in one form or another for the next several centuries before dying off around 1500; its legendary final written work, "Salsum hunc praedictiones annum," was still being circulated some seventy years after the brotherhood itself was made defunct.

Let us now move forward into the mid-18th century, when several manuscripts from the original brotherhood were purchased by an eccentric Austrian nobleman named Wilhelm von Tekspertten.  Eager for amusement, he decided to resurrect the long-slumbering brotherhood and set out to publish humorous critiques of Austrian popular culture and politics.  Unfortunately, his sense of humor was lost on the public at large, and even his own scant readership was left to wonder at his particular disdain for the music of Amadeus Mozart.

"More like Eine Kleine Nicht Musik, if you ask me."
After squandering the remainder of his once-formidable riches behind the publication of a new book, "Powdered Wigs, the Opera, and Twelve Other Items Forever Tainted by W. A. Mozart," von Tekspertten died penniless.  His eldest son, Edvard von Tekspertten, eventually traveled to the New World, where he and his descendants sporadically published brief articles under the pen name, "The Expert Tekspertten."

Perhaps their most beloved recurring feature was their "Explanations of Societal Occurrences Via Moving Pictures" series
The articles were published in local newspapers or as small folios distributed by street urchins.  Around the turn of the century, the Tekspertten clan allowed their friends and others to publish, and soon a small but thriving journal, The Expert Textperts, was in full production.  While originally known for its philosophical musing and often-left-leaning humor, the post-World War II period was marked by a drastic turn to socially conservative and--let's be honest--misogynistic humor.
"Figure 1: Two regular females. One's pretending to read, while the other's just a thief."
[Ed. note: Expert Textperts would like to emphasize the fact that our writing force is now fully 25% female.]

Aside from a particularly embarrassing experiment in blaxploitation in the 1970s, Expert Textperts lay low for decades.  The first crossover between the Textperts and the Internet came in 1994, when the group began sending out endlessly-forwarded emails about easily-disproven health rumors, saccharine "inspirational" stories, and overtly patriotic images featuring lengthy diatribes written in all caps.

Pictured: Our loyal readership
It was, in short, a low point in their history.  However, things picked up when, in 2011, a new generation of Expert Textperts heroically signed into their Blogger accounts and began writing what essentially have been a mixture of thought-provoking posts (Brooke), intellectually-challenging articles (Allan), essays at once smart and funny (Casey), and...filler content (me!).  Why, it wouldn't surprise me if many of you, perhaps without realizing it, were actually reading their blog...RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT.