Meme Identification

Tom Kysilko pds at VISI.COM
Mon Nov 29 16:48:29 UTC 1999

On 11/23/1999 Grant Barrett wrote:
>It's the simple identification of a phrase that the author, writing in a
>context, knows has joined the current Internet discussion memes. This is
often done
>simply via capitalization, but also by the adding of the suffix of TM or (tm)
>"Good Thing (tm)" is one. I believe it originates from Marth Stewart.
Another is
>"They Just Don't Get It (tm)." Below are two citations of many.

Our daughter took the Pooh books with her when she moved out, but I'm sure
A A Milne used "Good Thing" and other capitalized expressions of that ilk.
His intent, I believe, was to satirize grown-ups who use hackneyed
expressions with pompous gravity.  My take on the current practice is that
writers, by these marks, acknowledge the use of a hackneyed expression even
as they use it.  This used to be done with "scare quotes"; but we've all
had those drummed out us, haven't we.

Digression:  Lacking formal training, I'm used to looking up the terms of
the linguist's art I encounter on this list -- in particular, the panoply
of -eme words.  I thought "meme" was just another.  But I was wrong.  It is
a term of another discipline (if you will allow mimetics to be called
that).  Anyway, I found that "meme" was not in the hard copy of RHWUD,
although it is in the CD version, even though the dating is from 1976.   My
question to Grant (or anyone else) is:  What do we say about "Good Thing"
by calling it a meme, that we don't say by calling it hackneyed?  If this
is too far off-topic, feel free to reply to me directly.

  Tom Kysilko        Practical Data Services
  pds at       Saint Paul MN USA

More information about the Ads-l mailing list