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Conservative performance art?


Matt Labash, mocking the very idea of memes in the Weekly Standard, writes:

I have always detested the word meme, and not just because it was coined by Richard Dawkins, though that certainly helps. The concept was originated by Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, back when the Internet was still a glint in young Al Gore’s eye. Borrowing from the Greek word mimema (something imitated), Dawkins was on the hunt for a monosyllable that rhymed with “gene,” hence meme. Loosely speaking—and there’s no other way to speak of memes—it is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” (the dictionary definition).

He “detest[s]” memes, but shortly before declaring they can only be spoken of “loosely,” he employs one of the Right’s most successful creations: the claim that Al Gore said he invented the Internet. It’s as if he’s trying to prove that memes are significant by using one to convince his audience that they aren’t, and the sad thing is that because that “idea … spread from person to person within [conservative] culture,” neither he nor his audience are aware that their collective petard has been soundly hoisted.

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