Why are American cultural memes so contagious?
There is comparatively less underpinning cultural scaffolding. Hence American 🇺🇸 memes must be able to propagate in a comparatively rarified environment.
I thought of some great examples of this, but they’ve slipped my mind. Hollywood, obviously.
Able to quantify? How hard it is for non-Japanese to understand a Japanese movie 🎥 as opposed to any non-American to understand an American 🇺🇸 movie 🍿 or a French one?
The argument I thought of had to do with American 🇺🇸 working class memetic inventory versus 🆚 owning class, and possibly similar contrast in other cultures (Japanese, French, Mexican, or even British—that should be interesting).
Americans are very diverse (meaning we generally don’t like or trust each other) which memetically means that any coresonant meme pairs are not supported by any scaffolding of shared (cultural) memes, since there aren’t any.
So if you’re a Chicano middle class catholic small town (and let’s not even get into the gender identification stuff) and I’m some working class WASP 🐝 any jokes we both laugh at are supported by memes all of which support the joke, and not which we otherwise share independently (I need a better description of this)
Interesting about the propagation properties of memes in relation to the supporting medium. Is it like a gas where the velocity is inversely proportional to the density of the medium ? Or like EM waves where E and M waves feed off each other and self propagate so a medium isn’t required… lots of possibilities I suppose..
Or maybe Higgsy
A meme will propagate in the presence of a substrate containing memes it can resonate with.
That’s the thing about Americans
We have little of great substance to connect us.
Lack of things like “on this site in 1237 a battle was fought”
And that our city and the surrounding region are part of Idaho / Washington and not Oregon.
And that we speak 🗣 Palousian-Bonnevillian and not West-Oregonian (but even American 🇺🇸 native speakers 🔊 can’t tell the difference and don’t identify with these dialects!)
We put a slab of orange cheddar on our apple 🍎 🥧 pie, some do, but is that a supportive memeplex. Catfish 🐟 might be a fun counterexample that supports the basic premise.
“We can’t order pizza 🍕 two nights in a row like a bunch of Yankees! We gotta get some catfish 🐈 🐟 “
—an actual quote from me down in Arkansas
That might be quite the insight about whether you can characterize the transmitivity of the memetic fabric by some measurable property such as the widespread presence of a given memeplex.
Because you CAN measure things such as the presence of any given memeplex.
Oh, I’ve been messing around trying to understand the whole “second cousin once removed” thing. I think I’m getting a few things figured out.
Jokes are a good example of resonant potential of a memetic fabric. Think of the knock-knock joke.
A guy walks into a bar is another.
Jokes can be thought of parameterized memeplexes, eg, joke!knock-knock!(canteloup, can’t elope by yourself)
See the first Borat movie for an example of somebody not understanding even the fundamentals of a basic cultural joke formula.
Can you think of any classic guy walks into a bar jokes?
Joke!comparative![explanatory!,difference!,equivalence!] are like a family of jokes.
Why are hurricanes 🌀 named after women (back when they were )?
Because they come In all wet and 😜 wild and when they leave they take your house 🏡 and your car 🚘
What’s the difference between a BMW and a naked guy? With a naked guy the asshole is on the OUTSIDE.
Joke!comparative!equivalence!(a,b,c) is similar to joke!what-do-call!(a,b)
Eg (bad taste ahead) what do you call a guy with no arms or legs who’s been chucked out into the ocean? “Bob”. How about a guy with no arms and no legs who’s been buried up to his neck in a hole? “Phil”. I’m having to go back to the third grade for this material.
What do you get when you cross a jet ✈️ airplane with an accountant? A boring 747.
That’s kind of it’s own class, but again similar. Joke!Cross-what-do-you-get!(a,b,c)
Or joke!bag-of-traits!([a1,a2,…,an],b) eg, what’s black, white, and red/read all over? A sunburned zebra 🦓 or a newspaper 📰
The specific parameters of a joke category, ie, a specific joke, can be easily tracked as it propagates through a population (memetic fabric), including tracking mutations.
It was so cold 🥶 last week
How cold was it?
It was so cold that the lawyers had their hands in their OWN pockets
…this is also a kind of “set up, punch 🥊 “ joke structure (which is actually generic—all jokes are structured this way, I think)
There’s also joke!yo-mama!(a,b)