virus: Re: Detrimental memes.

Glenn Grant (pawn@CAM.ORG)
Thu, 27 Feb 1997 22:39:19 -0500 (EST)

>>A few memes (techniques for making fire, say), persist over the long term
>>because they provide some practical benefit to their hosts. For each such
>>demonstrably useful meme, there are a billion others that claim to be
>>practical and useful, but are really just a waste of time, or are actually
>>dangerous. Why can't people tell which are which? Because even memes that
>>don't have any practical use can appeal to our many other needs - mostly
>>emotional needs, usually having to do with assuaging insecurity.
>That problem is here at CoV like anywhere. Why not give some concrete examples,
> -David

Because it was about 6 AM when I posted this and I really should've been
asleep! The Internet was invented for insomniacs like me.

Anyway... (If I can remember what I was babbling about..) I tend to
identify insecurity as the basic motivation behind 90% of human social
behavior - well, a good part of our behavior, anyway. The most glaring
examples I can think of are racist memes - putting down the Other in order
to feel better about oneself. Racists just scream insecurity with every
word they utter.

Something we have to deal with here in Quebec, fortunately in a relatively
weak form, is Ethnic Nationalism. Quebec Separatist is fueled by an
irrational fear of losing a unique cultural identity due to the increasing
diversity of Canadian society. So we get our ex-Premier, Jacques Parizeau,
lashing out at those who voted "No" in the 1995 Sovereignty Referendum,
blaming the loss on "Money, and the ethnic vote." Forget the fact that most
older Francophones in the province voted No, and blame the ethnics - and
the "rich" (meaning us 'maudit Anglais', 'cause we're all stinking rich -
HA!). It's all irrational fear-mongering, memes spread by the Partie
Quebecois in order to put themselves in power; it's the "Villain-vs-Victim"
meme in a most blatant form. Because of course Quebecois culture isn't
disappearing. Francophone publishing thrives despite bad economic times,
more French television is produced in Quebec than in France (according to
Negroponte), most immigrants are learning French, etc. But we're talking
ideology here, not reality...

As you say, there are all kinds of insecurity-driven memes all over this
list and the Net in general. This is not necessarily a bad motivation - it
drives most of us to try to be sociable, likeable people, even when
communicating with total strangers we'll never meet F2F.

But then there are the annoying, attention-seeking trollers and
flame-baiters, the in-your-face membots who need to spread the One True
Word and Dominate the Net, the self-appointed censors reacting to any
appearance of such meme-allergens as the word "fuck".

Not that there's anyone like that on THIS list, heck no.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled reality,


-----------------------Glenn Grant-----------------------
Web: <>
"That which does not kill us makes us stranger."
-- Trevor Goodchild