4/13/13

0 meme

On Friday morning, Janice walked into my office with a portion of the newspaper and asked me whether I knew what the word "m-e-m-e" means. I thought about it for a second or two, which means I probably pursed my lips a little bit and looked up and to the right (where I'm pretty sure memories live), and then I answered her question with my own: "the same?"  

Because a very long time ago I could speak French. 

And in French, that word--at least when placed before a noun--means "the same."

But when I read the paragraph, I knew that couldn't be right.


And you've probably asked yourself this at least seven times, but I'll go ahead and ask it again: what in the world did we do before Google?


meme  

/mēm/
Noun
  1. An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
  2. An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.


According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge):


meme (pron.: /ˈmm/meem)[1] is a term employed in certain theories of culture to refer to "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture."[2] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.[3]
The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek μίμημα Greek pronunciation: [míːmɛːma] mīmēma, "imitated thing", from μιμεῖσθαι mimeisthai, "to imitate", from μῖμος mimos "mime")[4] and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[1][5] as a concept for discussion ofevolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches.


And now I've learned three new words this year. Thanks, Janice!

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