Friday, 9 January 2009

Grumpy old moan

I've very kindly been tagged by Emma in what is sometimes referred to in blogland as a meme. Rather than list 31 one word answers to these questions and nominating at least seven others to suffer the same fate, I'm going to explain why I'm not going to do this.

I ought to stress the grumpiness I mention in the title is just how I fear this will come across - I'm not in any sense irritated about being tagged!

Problem one is the 'meme' thing. I hate the word, I hate the concept. Richard Dawkins (usually referred to on Nature Network as He Who Must Not Be Named) came with the idea of a meme as the equivalent of a gene in idea space, something that mutates, grows, spreads by natural selection - but I think it's a flawed concept, typical of the biologists' response to physics envy where they try to explain everything in biological terms. The word gives me the creeps. The concept just doesn't work for me.

Problem two is that these are really electronic chain letters. Back in the old days of paper and pen, chain letters were poisonous things that claimed you would suffer all kinds of ills if you didn't pass them on. They're pyramid selling without the money. On principle I won't participate in anything that even vaguely resembles a chain letter.

So there you are. Yes it's decidedly bah humbug. But what can I say? It's the response these things bring out in me.


  1. I don't like them much either. They are usually extremely boring to read as well. There is one that has been going round for a while "16 random things about me" - er, not the most thrilling idea, though an imaginative writer can do nice things with it. Another problem with memes is that you get lots of requests to do the same one, even if you have done it! On the plus side, I've discovered one or two blogs I've grown to like via memes - I'd not have discovered them otherwise.
    My policy is that I ignore them unless one particularly happens to catch my interest, in which case I do it but I don't "tag" anyone in particular.

  2. Very sensible, Maxine.

    We're not the only ones who don't particularly like them - see Lynn Price of Behler Publications on the same subject: