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January 09, 2006

Five weird things about meme

The blogosphere was struck by a pernicious case of "five weird things about me" over the weekend. Your humble correspondent was tagged by Mike Campbell, Jay Currie and Bob Tarantino; a fact which suggests my earlier renunciation of these things has not stuck. But even the rocky soil that is my heart cannot fail to be touched by so many expressions of interest in my habits and so, without further etc. and so forth:

i - This is deuced difficult, actually. I do not consider any of my habits or lifeways particularly weird. Oh, here's something: someone once told me she would not want to be the mother of my children because I would teach them to say weird words like "Cthulhu". As any reasonable person would know that word cannot be pronounced with a human vocal apparatus it strikes me to be more of a moot point than a potential source of weird behaviour. So you see my problem.

ii - I was exorcised by an evangelical congregation. Not that I felt anything at the time or knew anything about it until someone told me several years after the fact. Though I think that suggests something weirder about the congregation than it does about me.

iii - I am not joking about about Paris Hilton as ‹bermensch. Other people seem to find this weird whereas to me it is the only conclusion of an impartial, calculating logic. Such is to dance along the tightrope.

iv - I enjoy doing the dishes and will often sing or otherwise comment as I do them:
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

v - I have a pet peeve: while it is useful for these little blog games to be called something I wish they had not been called "memes". The word meme, as used by Richard Dawkins and elaborated most notably by Susan Blackmore, is a useful term in neo-Darwinian discussion of biology and natural selection. Not only that, thinking in terms of memes opens up a new approach to cultural ecology, economics and marketing; in fact, almost any social science problem involving cultural change. But thanks to Grant Morrison and that sentient meme gag, or possibly Dawkins' own clumsy "earworm" metaphor, people are reduced to a retarded usage. The word "meme" is a meme. The letter "m" is a meme. The convention of leaving spaces between words in this sentence is a meme. I would not mind so much if use of the word sparked interest in Dawkins' work but, much as "postmodern" and "deconstruction" do not inspire fashion journalists to read Baudrillard or Derrida, I expect people will cheerfully continue to use the word without knowing what it meant to the people who coined it. Such is the expression of a meme.

Following a "why should I suffer alone" logic; I hereby tag Beautiful Atrocities, Dean's World, Knowledge is Power, Spirit Fingers, White Peril.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 9, 2006 08:27 AM

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Comments

You're right on meme of course. Which, given just how weird knowing that is, will make no difference at all...

Posted by: Jay Currie [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2006 04:09 AM

WTF? Is it Tag Sean Day, or something? I just got hit with another one yesterday. Grumble, grumble

Posted by: Sean Kinsell [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2006 08:48 AM