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.



Anyone who is under 35, or, who hardly engages in the drudgeries of celebrity culture and the ultramodern world of bloggospheres, heat magazine (my perennial enemy), and other such nonsenseries, may not have come across the phrase, or expression “noughties”.

Noughties is a parody of a term, it is a bricolage (breaking up of words and fusion of a new concept), and as such, it fulfills two aspects of the postmodern social condition. Noughties is a pun on ‘Nineties’, but ‘nought’ referring to 00s. To refer to something as xx-ties is a late 20thC convention; noughties represents the continuation of this concept, but demonstrating the ineptitude of actually having a xx-ties about a ‘nought’ . As such, it is an empty, redundant term, much like the emptiness and redundance of normal social interactions in this bleak, plastic, social world; and it is a sad remnant of a generation of people who had lived and enjoyed the late 20thC.

What defines the noughties?

What defines the age of today? In a lot of ways, it seems to be a continuation of the nineties; in a way, it seems to be a self-aware parody of the past; celebrating era like the 1970’s, 1980’s, as if they were characterised only by its music, and its attire. Overshadowing the historical events like the cold war, vietnam, or Thatcherism.

I was with Michael at a talk a week or so ago, by a philosopher named Morgan; talking on the issue of Seduction. There was a passing comment where Morgan said “I’m a noughties man, I meet girls on the internet…”. I thought then, what is it that consists when we say someone is encapusulated by a period of time; there used to be a phrase “it’s the nineties”, which denoted that it was a positive time for change, in terms of ecology and our attitudes towards society and nature. Now, the noughties seems to be a time of self-indulgence and cynicism. The noughties seems to be an age where men are obsessed by appearance (metrosexual), ambivalent about social issues, but only providing lip service to causes (slacktivism – an actual word, I looked it up).

What defines us today? I suppose it is that we care so little about things; where doctors and teachers care not for their duties, but league tables; where academic funding bodies care about reputation and bureaucracy; where help is as long as the money notes from whence it came.

Someone once said “It is not an enlightened age, but it is the age of enlightenment“; what a sad day when not even that is true…

Sapere Aude…