The Strange Survival of Guinness World Records

Imogen West-Knights, the Guardian:

It is strange to think of Guinness World Records – a business named after a beer company, which catalogues humanity’s most batshit endeavours – as the kind of entity that could sell out. At first glance, it seems like accusing Alton Towers or Pizza Express of selling out. But the deeper I delved into the world of record breaking, the more sense it made. In spite of its absurdity, or maybe because of it, record breaking is a reflection of our deepest interests and desires. Look deeply enough at a man attempting to break the record for most spoons on a human body, or the woman seeking to become the oldest salsa dancer in the world, and you can find yourself starting to believe that you’re peering into humanity’s soul.

Maybe the strangest thing I learned from this article is that Guinness Record adjudicators are not permitted to drink alcohol while on the job, despite this entire book being created under the umbrella of the Guinness beer company.