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Monday, May 16, 2005

They're not memes, dammit!

So bloggers have these cutesy little things they pass around to one another which they've taken to calling memes. They're usually quizzes of some sort, things like "50 things I found in my utility drawer" or "What kind of cheese sauce are you? You're Roquefort!"

"Meme" is a term which was invented by Richard Dawkins in his wonderful book The Selfish Gene.Mr. Dawkins has written numerous books on evolution, and has been attacked by defenders of creationism and/or intelligent design for his unabashed atheism and disdain for "alternate" theories (i.e. religious ones). That's a blog posting for another time. He invented the term meme as analagous to genes, in that memes were units of cultural heredity. The analogy is (in my mind) a bit strained, but in any event, memes refer, in the general sense, to ideas that can pass from one mind to another. The theme from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, a catch phrase from Seinfeld, or the idea of "god", are all examples of memes.

I'm sorry, and perhaps I'm being too easily annoyed right now, but these little blog things don't constitute memes in my opinion. They're not self-contained ideas that propagate themselves almost as if they had their own will. They're quizzes, damnit.

Ok, fine, so I'm being ridiculous. Do you really think I care?


  • You're right-I hadn't heard the word meme for a long time. When it first came up I wondered about it and looked it up. Looks like we're stuck with it though ;-)

    By Anonymous Ruth, at 8:25 PM  

  • A skunk by any other name. I hate them. Except of course, when I indulge.

    By Blogger Sarcastic Ornery Barista, at 8:57 PM  

  • I think I need to create a "What kind of cheese sauce are you?" quiz now.

    By Blogger David, at 9:29 AM  

  • I'm glad "meme" means what I thought it did. I got a bit confused with all my recent blog reading. But I guess language evolves.

    Cheese sauce quiz please! :)

    By Anonymous suze, at 4:17 PM  

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