Re: virus: 200 words for snow

Grant Callaghan (
Wed, 4 Jun 1997 19:48:25 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 4 Jun 1997, John ''!Boolean'' Williams wrote:

> At 11:28 PM 6/3/97 -0700, Grant wrote:
> >Someone asked why the meme that there are 200 words for snow in the
> >Inuit language keeps replicating itself. The answer is that someone
> >used it once in a widely-broadcast communication and lots of other
> >people saw it, liked it, and latched on to it so they could use it
> >in their communications.
> ahem. clears throat after long silence.
> In defense of the memetic theory, I have to point out a couple of things.
> <defense expert_status="nil">
> Memetic theory bases the transference of cultural units (thoughts, dress
> patterns, etc) on a handy metaphor -- suggesting that the reproduction of
> these ideas behaves in a fashion similar to genetics.
> The behavior that you have described does not deviate much; indeed, it
> seems that you've translated the metaphor back... :-)
> </defense>
> --John
Perhaps it would have been simpler just to say: because people like it,
as opposed to the supposition that people are being infected by it
or that it should be affected by the fact that it may or may not be