virus: Re : AIDS Meme-Complex (formerly meme pairs)

Hakeeb A. Nandalal (
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 05:16:06 +0000

KMO wrote :-

> ..... it doesn't seem appropriate to
> say that 'the justice meme' is paving the way for 'the criminality meme'.
> To me, it seems more appropriate to say that the structure of the
> justice system has allowed a reiterative process to take shape and
> snowball to a state of increased criminality in society. In this case, I
> don't think the language of memetics adds anything to our understanding.
> .....
> .....
> Most of the things we call memes on this list are really meme-complexes.
> .....
> .....
> As useful as I think the memetic perspective is, it isn't universally
> applicable.

I beg to differ, if the cause/effect structure is plausible, then identifying
such meme-complexes may add to someone's knowledge base. The more precisely the
relationship is described, the more it adds to our understanding. For example
I've always wondered exactly why (not how!) people have children and I've never
come up with a satisfactory answer. If someone could give me plausible reasons
for this bizarre practice, I'd really be grateful.

In the meantime I have another suggestion for Lior's AIDS meme (now
meme-complex) list :-

The "semper fi" or "always loyal" military meme could lead to the destruction of
the host because it requires a certain naiveti. Here the host doesn't die for
martyrdom but is actually killed by a system which is inherently crooked but
necessary for its own and the its owner's (society) survival.

The host is lured into the trap with the bait of glory, patriotism, technology
and promised remuneration for further education with the assurance that the
skills necessary for college will be acquired in the military. The TV ads always
show dynamic scenes of "action" and "infiltration" which appeal to the juvenile,
usually masculine, mind. I've noticed only the ads featuring men carry the
message about college, but I could be mistaken. In fine print at the bottom of
the screen, the college fund message is followed by the disclaimer "if you
qualify" but I don't think this means "if you are accepted into the military"
but rather "you may be accepted into the military but not qualify for the
college fund". The power of technology, according to Loren Baritz, the author of
"Backfire" (a Vietnam War analysis), bestows potency to the weak males and
forges a link between machinery and sex. The ads feature men and women of both
races but reports of racial and sexual discrimination in the military are
frequent. "60 Minutes" did a story of a black man who was officially squeezed
out of a military Pilots Program because he supposedly failed the tests but
afterwards he was accepted into Harvard Law School; the "Tailhook" scandal
brought to the fore the plight of women in the military.

Soldiers are often exposed to lethal conditions like mustard gas in WW I,
nuclear radiation in the Manhattan Project, agent orange in Vietnam and
biological weapons in Iraq. Sometimes the exposure was unintentional and
sometime not, but the military always took the opportunity to "study" the
victims not necessarily to cure them to enhance its own assessment of the effect
of such weapons on the enemy. The need to strengthen the military data base
outweighs any other priority. Mistakes are sometimes made and soldiers are
killed by their own side, an event described by the oxymoron : "friendly fire".

The most dreadful act of the military is the hardest for the "always loyal"
soldier to comprehend and accept : damage control. When things go wrong the
first rule-of-thumb is : denial. Even when there is blatant negligence the
attitude of the military is "the military has done nothing wrong". There is
always the usual promise of an inquiry, but an agency will not condemn its own
actions if it wants to survive.

Historically societies with a powerful military capability have tended to
survive and expand. For countries like the US where military service in
peacetime is voluntary, soldiers have to be deceptively enticed to join.
Although their goal is supposedly to protect the "American Way", this is the
last sentiment they encounter when things go wrong. The ideals the military are
suppose to protect cannot be applied to the military itself if it is to survive.
A current example of this alternate world is open discrimination against gays.
In no other facet of American life can a person be fired from a job for being
gay except the military. Only recently have women been allowed into
traditionally all-male military schools. The board of one such school actually
took a "vote" to decide if they should conform to the Supreme Court ruling
banning discrimination against women. The irony is mind boggling.

The slogan for the military should be :- "Don't ask. Don't tell. Don't expect
fair treatment."

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* Hakeeb A. Nandalal *
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