… But it straight up ruins great ideas too.
My family and I got our first home computer in the late 90s, and after the hours it took to set up the colossal beast that was Windows 98, my pre-teen self was introduced to the glory that was the Internet – agonising dial-up tone and all. In the years that followed, I quickly began to discover the wonders within the Internet; the plethora of endless information about every conceivable topic, online communities with virtual friends #neopets4lyfe, and just so much free porn. But as I grew in both age and maturity, I slowly started to learn that behind the seeming goodness of the internet was a hidden truth about humanity – people are dicks.
The internet became less about information and community, and more about a race to see who could comment “first” on a post, to call someone “gay” anonymously, and to trick a friend into clicking on a link that sent them to something truly awful. What became quickly obvious was that the internet was taking great ideas, and then ruining them.
Memes. They are the epitome of an online lack of creativity, desperately trying to be funny while avoiding the work and effort required to do so. But before the age of Grumpy Cat, Overly Attached Girlfriend, or – my personal favourite – “Dick Butt” (pictured above), “meme” had intellectual relevance. In 1976, world renowned biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” to give meaning to a symbol within culture that transmits from one mind to another, changing over time through Darwinian development. An idea that, once developed, evolved naturally as it was passed from one mind to the next. But instead of this beautiful conceptualisation of the evolution of the human intellectual impact, internet memes are subject to no sort of evolution progress. They are mere copies of symbols with imposed changes on texts to alter messages.
So thanks internet, for taking an insightful and intellectual idea relating to the human evolution of ideas and turning it into Dick Butt.
Thank you very much.