Thursday, November 22, 2007

Units of Cultural Information

For the last half an hour I have been trying to figure out what that exact quote is that people use to justify calling New York as New York New York. My efforts include searching for my brain and then searching in it, googling for it (the quote!) and sifting through the multitudinous results that that particular activity throws up. All I have to show for my efforts is a link to New York giving me every small detail about NY except the one quote I am looking for and a firm belief that I will not find what I am looking for. So I decided to give up the search and get with the business at hand. I actually wanted to talk about NY being referred to as NewYorkNewYork and connect that up somehow with what is known as a ‘Meme’. Since I don't know the why and how about NY, I will just go ahead with this ‘Meme’ thing.

My initial impression about the word ‘Meme’ was that it was some non-english resident on planet Blog. That was because, outside of blogs, I have never come across this creature anywhere else. At the same time I also noticed that ‘Meme’ is just ‘Me’ repeated twice. As if the repetition was intentional, just to emphasize ‘Me’. As if we wanted to say, "Look at me. Know about me. Now know more about me. Had enough? Ok, now know some more of me" and with time, and our infinite propensity to shorten lengthy things, it became just "Me Me" which in turn became the word ‘Meme’. By the time I thought up all this, my brain was screaming for some rest from all the work I was making it do and so I gave it the rest of the day off and got online to look the word up. I know, that must have been the first thing I must have done.

Anyway, off I went to my favorite online-source of meanings of unknown words - Dictionary.com - and this is what it had to say about what a ‘Meme’ means: "a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes." Wow!! Biological transmission of genes indeed. That somehow conjured up the S word in my mind though I am sure that is not what was meant. Fortunately for me there was another explanation given: "a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another." Ok, I was not too sure about the cultural information part but I got the rest. ‘Meme’ is some sort of information exchange "from one mind to another." Fair enough.

By the way, this past week, Budding Blogger Meghna tagged me on a Meme. I am not sure why but I thought I would give it a try. Probably because she asked nicely. Whatever the reason, I decided to do it and that's what set me off down the ‘Meme research’ path. Actually the tag was to do a sort of double Meme (Hmmm, shouldn't that be Memememe??) - 3 Things to Die For & My Top Musical Picks. Guess those are the "units of cultural information" I am going to "transmit from my mind to another".

Well, here goes:

3 Things To Die For - First on the list would be 'More time to do stuff I like'. What qualifies as ‘stuff I like to do’ is something I usually make up as I go along, so I can't be specific here. Second would be to be able to look one Mr. Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi in the eye and say, "Sorry dude but I beat you." The last one would be to actually justify 42. :)

My Top Musical Picks
- This thing will probably go on and on if I take the time to remember all the songs I have ever considered my favorites, so I will restrict myself to 3. The first one is "At the Beginning With You" by Richard Marx, the second is "Le freak" by Chic and the third is "Smooth Criminal" by MJ.

3 comments:

Meghna said...

Hi Vishnu,
I'm glad you did the meme. You've written it brilliantly combined with your great sense of humor. I really have a good laugh when i read your blog! But this time I thought you'd be serious, but you surprised me by adding humor in this too. Thanks for making me laugh and keeping up my expectations.
keep writing and see a smile on others face!

me said...

Glad you liked it. As for being serious, I haven't developed that bad habit. :o)

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?