Memes, Myself and I
After doing the research on the Power in Numbers post, about the meme of Pepper Spray Cop, I started to do more and more research on memes and what they mean. First off what is a meme?
The dictionary.com version is:
meme [meem] noun A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manneranalogous to the biological transmission of genes.
But About.com has a more robust answer:
Answer: A “meme” is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. A meme (rhymes with “team”) behaves like a flu or a cold virus, traveling from person to person quickly, but transmitting an idea instead of a lifeform. According to Cecil Adams of theStraightDope.com, the concept of memes “is either really deep, or really, really obvious”.
As I started to do my research (and lets be honest here, by research I mean Google) I realized that not only is there countless memes out there, but countless memes within memes within memes. Kind of like putting two mirrors facing each other or dividing by zero, it goes on forever or at least until everyone loses interest. Then there is a remix. It can get so convoluted that even the creator of the meme wouldn’t even be able to recognize it.
An example is Scumbag Steve, this guy is someone we all know. Pay you back-next week, Goes to high school parties-is 25 years old. You get the picture, check it out here, but it spawned it’s own plethora of Scumbags including: Scumbag Santa, Scumbag Brain, Scumbag Hipster, Scumbag Stacy, Scumbag YouTube, Scumbag Grandma…the list goes on and on. This is just one meme out of many, the video below is just the most popular from 2011. No wonder people spend so much time on the internet.
My daughter has even been bitten by the meme bug, she found the Nyan Cat, this is a 8-bit cat with a pop tart body flying through space, it gets pretty annoying pretty quickly, but she played it all of the time on her iPod, then my wife wanted to make it her ring-tone. You see that is how it happens, it infects your brain and replays itself over and over, then you tell someone else and the same thing happens. This is the beginning of the end.
I even got in on the whole Rick Roll meme, my six year old daughter asked what it was and I told her that you trick people into listening to Rick Astley, a popstar from the eighties, and that is the whole joke. So I taught her a little bit of the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” and said that she should tell people she learned a new song, then she would sing it and I would say, Rick Rolled! And laugh my ass off. Well, I forgot about it and about a month later she was asking me about the song I taught her. I said I didn’t know what she was talking about, and told her to sing it for me. She Rick Rolled me, trust me the irony was not lost on me. I laughed so hard my daughter thought I had lost it.
You see back when I was a kid there was no internet and memes took the form of urban legends, everyone has heard of the women who puts the peanut butter on certain parts of her anatomy to have the dog lick it off and then the surprise party pops out. Or the Bloody Mary trick in the mirror, you close the bathroom door and turn off all the lights, then say Bloody Mary a hundred time looking in the mirror and a ghost will appear. Richard Gere and the Gerbil is another. There was a ton of them, and back then fact checking took days or weeks, not seconds like now. Rumours would start and grow and mutate before the the truth would come out, by that time the story had changed to combat any naysayers.
I remember starting a rumour when I was in high-school that Axel Rose, lead singer of Guns ‘n’ Roses had died. I can’t remember exactly how it started, I think my best friend and I were just being shit disturbers. We started asking people at school if they had heard anything. By the end of the day it had spread to the two other high schools in the city. I guess people were calling into the radio stations because later that night I heard on the radio that the rumours of Axels death were greatly exaggerated and that he was very much alive. The power of information became very apparent to me that day.
Memes, urban legends, old wives tales, hoaxes, they all run the same path, some are true, some are not, some are truer than we think they are. There is no right or wrong, just email forwards, tumblr sites and YouTube postings, keep beating that dead horse until it’s just a pile of dust, cause it just keeps getting funnier. LEEROY JENKINS!!!
Below is a video by Dan Meth that I thought would be a nice bookmark to the blog. Look all of them up if you can, I’m still working my way through.