Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Know what a “meme” is? “Kilroy Was Here” is a famous one. Some memes succeed and then fail over time, like one created here in our City.

A meme is like a virus, but unlike an actual virus in humans a meme is a ‘word virus’, a word or words transmitted from one person or entity to other people or groups. Some memes take off wildly, some hang around awhile and then go away, and others just die off. A video from Vox (see below) gives a very good explanation.

The meme “Kilroy Was Here” is one of the most famous American historical memes. Will the acronym “YIMBY” become a famous one like “NIMBY” some day? It will if young professional Millennials rise up some day and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this any more!”, due to the lack of new housing in Palm Beach County.

Here’s something to think about: Why do some attempts to create a meme fail in the City of Lake Worth? Remember “secret meetings” and that baked ziti nonsense by a former commissioner?

Were those headlines in the Post with the word “curfew” an attempt to create a meme? The term ‘sanctuary city’? And “Hands Off Our Beach” too, read more about that “Hands Off” nonsense by the SRS platoon below.

The examples above are memes that didn’t quite ‘infect’ enough people to alter opinions and behavior over the long term, like a “pitch” that couldn’t “seal the deal”. Anyhow. . . about the video:

“We know about the epic drama of World War II, but what about the jokes? The video tells the story (as best as we can). The iconic piece of graffiti that was known, in America, as ‘Kilroy Was Here’ traveled the world in a fashion remarkably similar to a modern meme.”

Wikipedia defines a meme this way:

“A meme (/ˈmiːm/ meem) is ‘an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture’. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”

So some memes are wildly successful and spread like wildfire, others take a long time to gain traction, and some make a big splash and then flame out. “Hands Off Our Beach” was a failed meme that attempted to convince the public there’s a “wolf [or ‘vulture’] at the door” trying to “steal our beach”:

Would the public’s reaction to these signs now be a sign we’re finally healthy once again?

These red & white signs only draw shrugs and laughs now. However, there remain some holdouts in the City from the Silly Red Sign (SRS) platoon.

Ironically, the ones who said “Hands Off Our Beach” were the very same ones who screwed things up so badly in the first place. What we needed was “COMPETENT HANDS ON OUR BEACH”!