Author Topic: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.  (Read 2600 times)

Doktor Howl

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Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« on: September 08, 2010, 06:20:07 pm »
Okay, I think everyone here understands what a meme is, a "viral" idea that embeds itself in your brain.  Some of these memes are good for you, and good for society ("Coexist", "Pay it forward", etc), some are just a waste of time (Mahdgjickque), and some really aren't good for you.

A few examples of memes that aren't good for you are:

1.  Libertarianism.  The very idea of eliminating the one potential check on megacorporations and religious fruitcakes (ie, the alleged "government") in the sure and certain knowledge that the megacorporations will do the right thing or be destroyed by market forces is both hilarious and demonstratably false.

However, let's assume just for a moment that it IS true.  What are the ramifications?  MegaCorp A decides to cut corners, and produces shoddy cribs (I use this example because it's happened).  A bunch of babies strangle between the bars of the cribs, and eventually people move to another vendor.  We have reached the point the Libertarians predict, but in doing so, we have also killed a bunch of babies and now we have a bunch of unemployed people as well, because MegaCorp A either went out of business altogether, or at least laid off the production line.  When a big company goes down, there's a ripple effect through their suppliers (think GM), and the entire economy is harmed to some degree.

Had MegaCorp A been forced by regulation to produce cribs with a maximum distance between the bars, those people would still be employed, the babies would still be alive, and MegaCorp A's investors would still be receiving dividends in the long run, rather than short term minor increases due to less material being used per crib. 

The idea that corporations will think ahead without being forced to is ridiculous in the extreme, as has been proven multiple times in the very recent past.  Finagle and Murphy ensure that, as does the very nature of business, which is to minimize costs and maximize income.

So even if the Libertarians are correct, the meme is still harmful and essentially self-destructive.


2.  The Teabaggers.  Possibly the funniest self-destructive meme, here you have a vast horde of wage earners who have been sold on the idea that it is harmful to tax the rich (because they will supposedly fire everyone who works for them in a fit of pique), even more harmful to extend medical care to the poor (because paying for emergency room care for them is so much cheaper), and that the president is a Muslim, in the very same breath that they criticize his Christian pastor (Jeremiah Wright).

Basically, 20%+ of the population has been convinced to take to the streets in a show of solidarity with rich people who don't care if they live or die.  This meme, incidentally, was intentionally fabricated, funded, and desseminated by the Koch family.

3.  Change.  This was the most blatant meme-pushing since the invasion of Iraq.  Barack Obama had some damned good operators working for him, who generated just the right symbology and just the right non-speak speeches that he managed to fool 31% of the population (the other 25% would have voted for him anyway, out of political partisanship.

Of course, nothing has changed whatsoever...Obama's policies are identical to Bush's in every respect, but 46% of the country still believes that hopey-changey paradise is just around the corner.  This, of course, completely coopts 99% of the people that were against Bush's policies in the first place.

I could go on, but you get the point.  I'm not sure what to DO about this sort of thing...Beating the memes out of individuals is not so terribly difficult, but coming up with and propagating a set of memes to counteract the vast flood of bad memes out there is another matter entirely, and one I think we should discuss.

Okay for now,
Dok
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Jasper

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 06:23:53 pm »
Meme idea:  Recognition and skepticism of memes.

Spread the understanding of memes' nature, and instill the idea that they can be bad for you.

It's a start.  If this idea can be changed to accommodate for 'good' memes, then I think we'd have a winner.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 06:28:54 pm »
Meme idea:  Recognition and skepticism of memes.

Spread the understanding of memes' nature, and instill the idea that they can be bad for you.

It's a start.  If this idea can be changed to accommodate for 'good' memes, then I think we'd have a winner.

Yeah, if we had a means to propagate that counter-meme.

I mean, the original idea of a republic was great, and continually self-improved until about 30 years ago.  Then the extremists on both sides were able to push their memes, with an enormous boost from mass media, funded by interests that had a vested interest in those memes (see the Koch family, above).

You have to fight television, most radio, half the internet, and half the newspapers.

Not saying it can't be done, but we'd better find a vehicle that will reach more than the occasional college student.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Jasper

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 06:41:30 pm »
These days, it seems like people pay more attention to the internet's rumblings than they do to radio or newspapers.  TV would be the main obstacle, and the internet would be the most viable egregore (vocab?).

So I notice:

4chan helped popularize the word meme.  Some authors did too, but 4chan also linked it (the word) to a licentious image.  This is good in that it gives us an 'in' to stain the legitimacy of memes.  

If we can craft a meme that cast certain ideas as memes, while simultaneously deprecating memes themselves, that would really be getting somewhere.  Especially if it got onto one of those shows like tosh.o

Nepos twiddletonis

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 06:43:51 pm »
We might also want to consider which memes to swap in.

What would we be replacing Libertarianism, Tea Baggers and Change with?
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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 06:44:48 pm »
I think Toyama Koichi would love some US exposure.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2010, 06:46:39 pm »
We might also want to consider which memes to swap in.

What would we be replacing Libertarianism, Tea Baggers and Change with?

Good question, and one for which I have no snappy answers, at least as of this moment.

I have some vague ideas.  Let me let them gel just a bit.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Nepos twiddletonis

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2010, 06:48:15 pm »
I think Toyama Koichi would love some US exposure.

That's a good counter meme.

We might also want to consider which memes to swap in.

What would we be replacing Libertarianism, Tea Baggers and Change with?

Good question, and one for which I have no snappy answers, at least as of this moment.

I have some vague ideas.  Let me let them gel just a bit.

Awesome. I'll be following this thread to see how it pans out. I'll input if I have anything good.
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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2010, 06:51:11 pm »
Koichi is eminently quotable, and half the things he says are ripe for memedom.


Nepos twiddletonis

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2010, 06:56:41 pm »
Koichi is eminently quotable, and half the things he says are ripe for memedom.



Does he have an English language website? The one I saw was all Japanese.
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2010, 06:56:50 pm »
Koichi is eminently quotable, and half the things he says are ripe for memedom.



Fuck yes.  We need to either emulate his methods, or get his crazy ass on board.

Everywhere is America™.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"

Jasper

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2010, 07:00:57 pm »
I think part of it is the odd sound of Japanese>English translations, and the demented fervor of his rhetoric.

Do we have any people who speak Japanese?  If so, we should consult them.  What makes his saying unique is definitely the tone of the translations.  That's the meme hook.  When there's enough of those phrases flying around, people will start making up their own.

Nepos twiddletonis

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2010, 07:04:25 pm »
I think Dimo mentioned emailing him, though I'm not sure if this was done.
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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2010, 07:34:48 pm »
Link Teabagger to this.

http://z0r.de/455

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Re: Sympathy for the Devil, Part 2: Bad memes.
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 07:37:36 pm »
That clown thing is really creepy. My sound card sucks, so I have no idea what he was singing.

I have some vague ideas.  Let me let them gel just a bit.
With libertarians (and perhaps the Tea Party folks?), maybe the idea that purity on a large scale doesn't work (the specification of large scale prevents them from using small towns, etc. as counter examples). My instinct is to say start with showing how fast communism breaks down when you try to run it in a pure form, but they'll latch on to that and never let go, so something else would have to start as the first example, and maybe communism could be added somewhere down the line.

The changey people can just be shown the lack of difference between Bush and Obama's policies, in a chart maybe because that condenses it into a quick digestible format. No tl;dr possible if you keep it short.
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