Memes seem to be the newish buzz word around theory/cultural circles in attempting to explain potentially all of human expression. At first I didn't think I understood quite what a meme was, being employed in such a variety of critical ways that made it's use and meaning ambiguous, if not deliberately confusing.
After a bit of reading here and there, I think I have a reasonable grasp of memes, but I just simply still don't "get it." In reading Signorelli's harsh critique of meme theory in the New English Review, the sides of the debate came into clearer focus, and was a breath of fresh air from all the meme-ish circle-jerking.
In his book The Selfish Gene, noted nihilist Richard Dawkins ushered the faux-concept of memes into the world by declaring it to be a “unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation,” which is exactly like referring to a unit of literary theory, or a segment of talent, or a yard of affection. Such blatant linguistic hucksterism would be startling from any other man but Dawkins, who, after all, cozened his way into authorial fame by attributing a common psychological state to tiny globs of amino acids, and then swearing up and down that he was doing no such thing. With this man, such chicanery is of a course. Indeed, he is so entirely shameless about the matter that he freely professes to employing a “verbal trick” to illustrate the nature of memes. He will have his “unit of imitation,” in despite of common sense, and he will invoke the laws of science for his justification...more>>>
What think you of memes?