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It annoys me (and I imagine it must annoy Richard Dawkins infinitely more) that the word "meme" has largely come to mean "goofy picture of a cat with some Impact on it", instead of "idea that spreads between humans". Knitting is a meme. Rock Paper Scissors Chess is a meme. Islam is a meme. The idea of a meme is, itself, a meme.

Of course, the meme of memes - viewing information and its propagation through the metaphor of genes - is of limited practical utility. The metaphor simply doesn't work on a number of levels. Knitting, for example, is not only communicable information, but necessarily involves things like muscle memory and physical artifacts. Islam necessarily involves historical context and geographic locations. And the "meme"model only considers a changing idea to be analogous to mutation - creativity, emotion, synthesis, deduction, and volition are all essentially ignored.

Perhaps it's for the best that the "meme" meme mutated the way it did.


(Saturday afternoon, INT: EB and JH's apartment)

NP: Aaaand we finish tying it off, we clip off the yarn we aren't using and wind it back into the ball, and we're done!
EB: We're done?
NP: Yep, we're done. You have successfully constructed a swatch, a rectangle that could easily be mistaken for a dish towel.
NP: And Ellen, I shall consider your debt to me paid. I have successfully transmitted the addictive thought-virus that is knitting into your brain, and that is all that I required. I shall leave you with a set of needles and some yarn, I expect you'll be able to figure out the more advanced stuff on your own.
EB: I'm gonna be honest, Nicole, I really don't expect I'm going to use these.
JH: Well, heck, leave them with me, I might find a use for them. Maybe I'll make myself some dish towels or oven mitts, or some sort of simple little soft boardgame, suitable for very young children.
NP: Hmm. You probably know enough to be able to make some sort of floppy game board, but if you want to make appropriately cute little pieces for it, I think I may have to hook you up after all.
EB: You are just determined to make board games that Wallace can't mass produce, aren't you?