Internet Memes Foae virulermntus
The term, “Meme” was first used in Richard Dawkins’ book “The Selfish Gene” back in 1976. It arose from an analysis of the way in which some ideas (specifically in the original case, religion) seem to self-replicate and spread throughout minds in the same way a virus or gene spreads through our bodies. The evolution and mutation of these memes, Dawkins suggests, are responsible for our cultural evolution from generation to generation in the same way that genes are for physical evolution.
Falling victim to the process which it originally described, the meaning of the word mutated once introduced to internet culture, rapidly changing to be a phrase/image/website which spreads on the internet and often represents a larger meaning or context. A common format has developed for this internet “virus” which usually appears as an image, often with a spiraled colored background with a top and bottom text that relies on the image for context in order to make a pun or joke. For example, the above meme is a variation of the popular “Bill OReilly — You Can’t Explain That” meme which is often used to mock people who make make bad conclusions or show great ignorance. It derives from an episode of Bill O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor” in which O’Reilly defends his belief in a god by exclaiming, “… tide goes in, the tide goes out. There’s never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.” The absurdity of his claim that the tides are not well understood (humanity has known for quite some time they rise/lower due to the gravitational pull of the moon) quickly spread through internet communities and soon after a image was used to reference this well known video clip.