memetic viruses

by Natalie P.

April 9, 2007 | Filed Under Popculture | 3 Comments

So tonight we are having this most fabulous pot-luck dinner (this town is known, not for being the nation’s capital, but for its penchant for pot-luck dinners…). And the after dinner conversation amongst my friends is colourful as usual. After a lengthy discussion about my blog entry on penis size, the topic turns to family, and the production thereof.

Several couples in our group are now producing offspring.  I find this interesting, given that mine are old enough to produce offspring of their own (something the bf reminds me of on a regular basis)…  at any rate, the discussion turns when P says, “Is that all it really comes down to? Are we, at the most fundamental level just programmed to procreate and propogate our genetics?  If that is the case, what is the point of doing anything else?”

So I raised the subject of memetics.  For some of us, at least, propogating our genetics may not be the ultimate goal. For some, our biological imperative may be to place an idea, a concept, into the social conciousness. It may be to spread an IDEA to many others, to many generations, and not DNA. I explained the concept of memetics, using the example of evangelical religions and the impact to those “infected” with the memetic virus.

To which P, sagely replied, “I wonder if the guy who invented ‘Mahnahmahnah” really realized the impact of his work? Did he KNOW the effect it would have on generations to come?

I had to call my son and see if he was infected.  He knew the sound. He knew what he was SUPPOSED to do, but he steadfastly resisted.  I got him to put my sister-in-law on the phone – she is in her late 30’s. I said to her, “When I say ‘mahnahmahnah”, what do you want to say back? And she immediately said, “du dooo  de dooo do!” 

“Ah HAH!”, I said, “You are infected!” (She laughed.)

The problem with the “mahnahmahna” virus is that it doesn’t contain with in it the urge, the imperative, to SPREAD it to subsequent generations.

But right now, the question is, when someone says to you, “Mahnahmahnah”, what do YOU want to do/say?

Statler: “The Question is, what IS a ‘Mahnahmahnah’?”

Waldorf: “The Question is, who cares?”

Email This Post Email This Post


Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

Name

Email

Website

Comments

 

3 comments so far
  1. Jonathan April 9, 2007 3:42 pm

    Jim Henson is the name you’re thinking of, I do believe. The whole Muppet thing just goes to show you what happens when you give a bunch of college students weed and puppets.

  2. Natalie P. April 9, 2007 4:44 pm

    Yeah, but was it Henson himself, or one of the show’s writers? And did they realize the effect? I don’t think so…

    “Do you like dumpling?”
    “I don’t know, I’ve never dumpled.”

  3. Anya May 14, 2007 9:28 am

    The concept of birthing an idea rather than a child is explored in Plato’s “Symposium”. Most of the book is a bunch of guys lounging around talking about sex with other guys. Socrates, always the show-off, takes it to another level and in typical long-winded fashion promotes the idea of a man’s personal evolution from basic old lust to this higher brand of procreation.

    If you’ve read it, you’ll see how it may apply to “mahnahmahnah”.

    Which is not only infectious in its own right, but spreads to all other words of the correct number of sylables. Philomela (PHIL-oh-MAY-lah) was consistantly mispronounced by our professor as phih-LAH-mah-lah. Eventually, five or six of us couldn’t help but follow it with “du dooo de dooo do.”


Your Ad Here


Allposters.com

Buy fun Heartless BitchStuff and help keep HBI running!

We now Accept

Acceptance Mark