Post-Memes: Seizing the Memes of Production

September 28th, 2018 | Category: Announcements

I am proud to announce that I have a chapter in Alfie Bown and Dan Bristow’s collection, Post-Memes: Seizing the Memes of Production, coming soon from Punctum Books. The book also includes pieces by Angela Nagle, Dominic Pettman, Scott and McKenzie Wark, the editors, and many others. Here is the cover:

My essay, “The Memes is Dead, Long Live the Meme,” argues that Dawkinsian memes have been supplanted by internet memes and are therefore dead. Here’s an excerpt:

If memes are indeed analogous to genes, then the real power of memes is that they add up to something. I’m no biologist, but genes are bits of code that become chromosomes, and chromosomes make up DNA, which then becomes organisms. Plants, animals, viruses, and all life that we know about is built from them.24 “The meme has done its work by assembling massive social systems, the new rulers of this earth,” writes Howard Bloom. “Together, the meme and the human superorganism have become the universe’s latest device for creating fresh forms of order.”

Perhaps that was true two decades ago, when Bloom wrote that, or three decades ago when Dawkins wrote The Selfish Gene, but the biases and affordances of memes’ attendant infrastructure has changed dramatically since. After all, memes have to replicate, and in order to replicate, they have to move from one mind to another via some conduit. This could be the oral culture of yore, but it’s more and more likely to be technologically enabled. Broadcast media supports one kind of memetic propagation. The internet, however, supports quite another.

Get your copy here.

Many thanks to Alfie Bown, Dan Bristow, and everyone at Punctum.

Further Posting: