Saturday, April 04, 2009

"Vive La Meme!" (Why Do We Do Memes?)

Recently someone asked me about memes. I told her that this word/concept is apparently an ongoing mystery in Blogdom.

Not only are we not really sure what "meme" means or where it began, but we're not sure how to pronounce it.

For instance, for me, it rhymes with "dream." My good friend Debbie of Like a Rose, however, pronounces it "mee-mee."

As I was talking about this, in mid-sentence, I had a revelation. Or maybe it was more like a memory.

Yes, blogging friends, I actually remembered something! Something useful!

Rewind to 1979. I'm a sophomore in Mrs. Jones's French class, where my French club name was "Lise." I'm sitting there with my winged hair plastered to the sides of my head, when out of the blue, Madame Jones tell us "meme" is the word for "same."

Now hurry up and fast forward to today.


Memes are conduits of sameness. That is, they're thematic in nature. We're answering the same questions that have no right or wrong answers! The same! La meme!

So maybe we should be saying, "mehm" because that's how you say it a la Frenchy.

After I totally discovered this on my own, I searched the Web, and yes, proved that I am right, even though I did not discover this on my own, per se. I just feel like I did, and that's pretty good.

At The Daily Meme I found these tidbits:

  • A meme is: An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
  • A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
  • A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes".

Well, I'm glad to know my kids can't be classified as memes.

Oh, Whatever. The Internets don't need to be all high and mighty book-smart about the definition of "meme. "

We're just bloggers asking pivotal questions like, "What is the one personal maintenance tool you would take to a desert island?"

Why do we do memes? I think CS Lewis informs us on this topic:

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

For very often, in silly memes, we find that we are at least nearly the same in thought as someone else; thus, we make emotional connections.

In these little exercises, then, we reveal an inherent, God-given need for relationship and community. Every day, in a million little and big ways, we reach out to reassure ourselves that while we are individuals with unique perspectives, we are not, thank heaven, alone.

Vive La Meme!


The Davidson Den said...

I'm so GLAD to have a correct pronunciation for that word! I'm a fanatic about saying things the right way.

Andrea said...

Love your blog..blessings, andrea

Shawna said...

You're totally right. We're all looking for connection, for a unique kind of way.

And I didn't see a place to leave a comment regarding your blog layout. I am all about change, as you can see by my rotating layouts and colors. I get bored very easily and want to reinvent myself in a bloggy way pretty frequently. I like when others do that too. But you should do what best represents your character...whether that's updating or keeping what works. Do what makes your little heart feel joyful. :)

40winkzzz said...

Wow, thanks! Now, not only can I cease to lay awake nights wondering what the heck "meme" means anyway, but I can also impress my blog and facebook friends with this profound revelation, causing them to marvel at my vast knowledge and brilliance. Sounds good to me.

Becky said...

Wow, very informative. You are so smart ;-)

I voted for you to simplify your blog but only because I have dial up page load issues. Don't take it personally, I was only thinking of myself. :-D

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

Well, isn't that interesting? I too had the hardest time trying to pronounce that little word...

and now we know what it actually means...


Merrie said...

Finally! Now I know that I'm not the only one who did not know how to say it of what it really meant. I just tried to follow the rules and act like I knew... actually, I did ask once what it was and got such conflicting comments I just let it alone and did what I thought.
Thanks so much for clarifying this for us all!

Chatty Kelly said...

I just loved this post Lid! My sister and I always laugh about how to pronounce it. I thought it was "mimmy" (think mommy with an I). Then when I did a google search for the pronounciation they said it was "mim." (think Nim's Island, with an M).

In any event, we should call it "same" cause we all can say that. Neat-o. And aren't you clever, Madame Lean-da!

Susan D said...

Wow. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't what that word meant. Thanks for clearing up that mystery. And for the CS Lewis quote. I have a new post up about the 30 x 5. Have a day! Blessings, SusanD

The Bug said...

I was feeling really out of the loop about this topic - thanks for giving me the info in a way I could understand!

Susanne said...

You took the word right out of my mouth. ;v)

Love the C.S. Lewis quote.

Mocha with Linda said...

The meme - the creme de la creme!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you! Now I get it! lol

I thought I was the only one left out of the loop of origin on the meme. Fun post!

Betty said...

Oh good- I was pronouncing it correctly.....


Chatty Kelly said...

Lid - this video joins together your favorite musical (Sound of Music) with all the fun of "may I have a napkin please." Found it over at Sue J's blog.

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

My friend Kaye sent me here to see your post.. I Had the same epiphany last year when I researched 'Mehm' what it is, where it came from and the DANG pronunciation!

I love that you put a positive spin on it, cuz at the time the copy catted ness of it was driving me nuts!

So I would snark at the memes sent my way.. but I've come a long ways in that year and I 'get' it.. and I even agree with your point there at the end.

Need for relationship and community!

You can see my post here:
(If you are interested)


Abiding Branch said...

Yes I love them too. I have one I host at one of my blogs: And it is about God and His many names. it is a place where on Thursdays I write about which of His names was totally revealed to me this week and ask that others join in to do the same. I love focusing on His names and other who feel the meme can come along and discuss the Sweetest Name of All.

Beth in NC said...

Ha, I have always pronounced it like "dream" too. Yep, "Meme" like "dream" ... ha.

I just assumed that Memes were created to give us something to post about each day (in case we hit a creative wall). I was also advised by a friend when I first started blogging, that if I participated in Memes that I would get more hits on my blog. And to think ... it was all about community all along. :o)


Brenda Susan said...

Thanks for clearing that up, really....I have been curious about that for a long time. Seemed like everyone knew what it was but me!
Re:30x5, I must confess I am a miserable failure so far! But I moved today!

marina said...

Hey girl haven't read your post yet just stop by to say HI, stay bless, marina

fransmomma said...

i dont know where to leave my "idea" for the blog re-design, so i'm leaving it here. its not really a new exciting idea, it just wasnt an option. i think you should redesign with bright colors, still incorporating the coffee theme, whether it be a cappuccino machine or some other related gadget. thats very vague i know, but i didnt promise a breakdown.

Karen said...

Thanks for visiting me! come again!

Dita said...

Oh, you transported me back to 1982 in Madame Brietenger's French class (yes, she was taught French with a German accent)and I, too, had feathered hair and lots of hairspray which went lovely with my Lee Press On Nails...

Thanks for the meme lesson. I thought it was just me that had no clue!

My ADHD Me said...

Yep. I had a great idea for a post.
I even did a bit of research.
Even had it started.

By the way, did I mention Thank You. You see, I don't need to write it now. It was about Memes.


thouartloosed said...

This is why I read your blog: you discover this stuff so I don't have to.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I have wondered over and over what this means and now I know! Thanks for the very good explanation.