Re: virus: Will the real meme please stand up.

Tony Hindle (
Tue, 5 Aug 1997 00:33:00 +0100

In message <>, Tim Abbott
<> writes
>Tony Hindle writes:
>> And if you believe 20 seconds on cnn wouldnt infect more than
>> one suitable host then you are seriously missing the point of memetics.
>Actually, there's a nice little leader, thankyou Tony.

My pleasure.
>Sure, 20 seconds of fame will get your idea across to millions of
>people, but your proposed vehicle, the murder of a representative
>of a group you don't like, is distinctly suspect, and probably
>likely to backfire on you. Do you really want to be remembered
>as a murderer, or an assassin, or a terrorist? That's what they'll
>call you. The odds of being hailed as a martyr, or perhaps a messiah,
>if that's what you're after, are pretty slim. There's certainly nothing
>much heroic about the act.

Actually I never thought of this meme originaly at all. I bloke
I met in a pub told me it. I just want to know why it is a bad idea and
so far nobody has given me anything except knee jerk moral arguments
(until KMO, I think) and your reasons so far dont persuade me that its
not a good idea.

>Tony suggests that 20 seconds of CNN will "infect" many "hosts". He
>may be right, but what's wrong with more normal terms like "CNN is
>a powerful route for getting my idea across to many people"? It
>says the same thing, and in more obvious terms.

I meant to refer to the meme of
"if you have tobbaco induced pending soon death then kill an
apropriate tobbaco plc spokesperson. People hearing about the idea is
not the same thoing as people copying it.

>Tony's attitude is a case in point. The analogy has been carried too far,
>or at least in the wrong direction. Ideas are not viruses with humans
>as hosts. Viruses and their interaction with their hosts, including
>the tendency to spread into suitably vulnerable others, can be used
>as a model to present an alternative way of looking at ideas and
>their dissemination. I suggest that it is an incorrect inference
>that just by exposing a large number of people to your meme, that you
>can expect them to take it up and integrate it

I think it is particularly infectious to people who are dying
because of tobbaco, I have repeated this point time and time again and
still nobody has raised any decent argument why it would not spread and
why it would not be good. I assume the people who are keeping quiet are
"hmm, I cant fault it but I will keep shtum because there must
be something wrong with it and I am sure someone will think of it

> I wouldn't make any life
>decisions based solely on this particular model, if I were you, no matter
>how little time you have left.

Come off it, You have a couple of weeks to go, you hear a way of
make you famous for the rest of your life and you could probably make
enough money in that time to relieve your close family of all financial
hardships for the rest of their lifes. If you didnt do it, it would just
show that you were a brainwashed fuck.