virus: Memetic Innoculation in public education

Gifford, Nate F (
Tue, 25 Mar 1997 08:58:10 -0500

A friend sent me the following article. I am assuming it is in the public

Note the form that the "Deep Thoughts" take. One part of the thought
always refers to
some sort of reassuring meme, and the second part debunks it by reducing it
to absurdity. This seems like an excellent mechanism for building up a
young memetic immune system.

In an earlier post I complained about the public relations profession. It
might be possible to use the profession's own tools against it. One way
might be to shmooze with a newspaper editor and convince them to have a
similar contest. The editor who is normally a shill to advertising
interests ... a vector for commercial memes if you will ... becomes a
mechanism for improving critical thinking. Of course here in the bible
belt the first example would kill the whole project.

Any other ideas for "exercises" that improve the memetic health of the

>From an actual newspaper contest where entrants age 4 to 15 were asked to
imitate "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy."


My young brother asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get
buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should
have told him the truth - that most of us go to Hell and burn
eternally - but I didn't want to upset him. Age 10

When I go to heaven, I want to see my grandpa again. But he better have
lost the nose hair and the old-man smell. Age 5

I once heard the voice of God. It said "Vrrrrmmmmm." Unless it was just
a lawn mower. Age 11

I don't know about you, but I enjoy watching paint dry. I imagine that
the wet paint is a big freshwater lake that is the only source of water
some tiny cities by the lake. As the lake gets drier, the population gets
more desperate, and sometimes there are water riots. Once there was a big
fire and everyone died. Age 13

I like to go down to the dog pound and pretend that I've found my dog.
Then I tell them to kill it anyway because I already gave away all of his
stuff.. Dog people sure don't have a sense of humor. Age 14

I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I
don't have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes
on the last day of their life? Age 15

It sure would be nice if we got a day off for the president's birthday,
like they do for the queen. Of course, then we would have a lot of people
voting for a candidate born on July 3 or December 26, just for the long
weekends. Age 8

As you make your way through this hectic world of ours, set aside a few
minutes each day. At the end of the year, you'll have a couple of days
saved up. Age 7

Democracy is a beautiful thing, except for that part about letting just
any old yokel vote. Age 10

Home is where the house is. Age 6

Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That
is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. Age 15

It would be terrible if the Red Cross Bloodmobile got into an accident.
No, wait. That would be good because if anyone needed it, the blood would
be right there. Age 5

Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the
things I cannot, and a great big bag of money. Age 13

I bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween. Age 13

For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the
astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what
happens to cheese when you leave it out. Age 6

Think of the biggest number you can. Now add five. Then, imagine if you
had that many Twinkies. Wow, that's five more than the biggest number you
could come up with! Age 6

The only stupid question is the one that is never asked, except maybe
"Don't you think it is about time you audited my return?" or "Isn't it
morally wrong to give me a warning when, in fact, I was speeding?" Age 15

Once, I wept for I had no shoes. Then I came upon a man who had no feet.
So I took his shoes. I mean, it's not like he really needed them,right?
Age 15

I often wonder how come John Tesh isn't as popular a singer as some people
think he should be. Then, I remember it's because he sucks. Age 15

If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world
peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until the
looting started. Age 15