Two memes that caught my eye


what is a meme? is a meme a singular instance of a joke; or is the meme the symbol by which the joke makes sense. I think  by its common use the latterly construal comes into play. Of course there are some memes which exist which are derivative of other memes which themselves make memes; and memes which are a combination of seperate memes. Somehow, addressing the metaphysical issue would lead us to a discussion of whether one may be nominalist, or realist about memes.

Anyway, lets go into observer mode for this post. I thought I’d address two particularly interesting memes. Firstly, there is the Xzibit ‘Yo Dawg’ meme; and secondly, one which perhaps may not necessarily count as a ‘meme’ per se, but I have found it as a pattern. I’ll call this the Jesus meme.

Yo dawg

The ‘Yo dawg’ meme derives from the notoriety of hip hop artist Xzibit (pronounced eX-hib-It), and his role as presenter from the ‘Pimp my Ride’ MTV serial. I thought this phenomenon was of particular interest on account of the sentential complexity of it. The formulae of the Xzibit ‘Yo dawg’ meme is a formulaic statement, which goes something like:

“Yo dawg, I heard you like x so I put x in your x’ so you can xy in your x’ when you xy in your x”

Complex sentential operators seem to constantly fascinate philosophers, in the area of metaethics, epistemology and the general area of normativity; there are often belief statements which may be beliefs themselves, or complicated psychological functions which involve multiple linguistic operations. I always think of the epistemic example of the episode of Friends where, in a cat and mouse style to hide the relationship between Chandler and Monica; the statement is uttered: they don’t know that they know that we know. Such complicated belief phenomena is often difficult to logically unpack. Also, I find a crude joy in the sheer complexity of a statement. I thought I’d share an example of the Xzibit phenomenon with a summary of the equally complicated film Inception.

The ‘Jesus’ meme

Lately I’ve found a lot of jokes about the central figure of the Christian religion. The Jesus meme portrays the Anointed one in an almost human and flawed way. A comparable depiction can be with Macfarlane’s Family Guy, where God is depicted as a supernatural being that is humanised and flawed. There is something almost Grecian in a satirical depiction of deities in this respect. I’m sure it will offend someone although there humour comes from the situational presmise of Jesus in everyday situations. Also, I suppose it is a paraphrase of the old philosophic understanding of comedy where the absurd meets the real. Or is that absurd meets the absurd? [like a poor family guy joke]

My favourite one is where Jesus tells a person on a computer to ‘Delete sys32.exe it will make your computer faster lol’. Satire has taken a bizarre level.


p.s. don’t delete system32, it will ruin your computer.

2 thoughts on “Two memes that caught my eye

  1. The idea, as originally posited, of a meme as a minimal unit of cultural data, is surely dead at this point. All we’re left as a meaning for meme is the intersection of “idea”, “joke” and “fad”. 🙂

    • Always good to hear from you, Chris. Of course that sounds like a loaded analysis, but more or less true.

      Fads are interesting as they are a snapshot of the time. I often like to take snapshots to remind me of the zeitgeist of any given time. One way I capture a zeitgeist is recording what I listen to, or typing up a list of what’s on my favourite plays in my MP3 player. We are reminded of better and shameful times.

      Of course there are good memes and bad memes, derivative memes and original memes (which often pick up on contemporary events – e.g. haitian earthquake, Robert Green’s goalkeeper skills back in south africa), then there is the ‘you’re doing it wrong’ meme.


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