Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Memeplex

It is fascinating how new language and colloquialisms evolve in our everyday language. Every day hundreds of thousands of new sayings mannerisms and quirks are introduced into our culture where they fight for survival with only a few winners. These are most often introduced by pop culture icons like Snoop Dogg (fo shizzle) and popular shows like SNL. Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme plex" which is a slant on RNA replicators that repeat random genetic mutations, but in this cases the Memes are humans who repeat sayings to people we encounter. Andy Samberg did a funny skit on SNL with the punchline "I threw it on the ground!" this could have been the next big saying in america if enough people would have repeated it (an example of one that failed) One that didn't fail is "I feel your pain" by ole Slick. In some cases sayings can come not from mass media but from the population itself...who came up with "Don't go there" or "booyaa" (maybe that came from hip hop I don't know)

It is also interesting to take it to the micro level: Enter Corporate speak and enter church social groups. I have noticed that in my current job more then a few people have been saying the term "skin in the game" as one example, and if you have ever worked in corporate America you can probably think about a few of the ones in your job...but I skip to my favorite and that is my Intervarsity Christian fellowship days at Chico CA. I was part of the "Leadership Team" here are some phrases everyone used: "Being intentional with people" this is code for making a sincere effort to spend time with someone that one does not want to spend time with.
"It's hard, but it's good" was a classic for people to fall back on when they would have trouble verbalizing some of the pitfalls of taking up ones own cross and following Jesus. When I went to Chico every No Cal person would casually drop the term "Hella" as in "dude hella cool" That term stayed up there and never migrated...who came up with Hella? BTW Hella is synonym for 'very'.

Sports teams are another example but all I can remember from my days of playing organized water sports are Yugoslavian curse words...


Brett said...

hella good post Gar, you threw it on the ground. It was the fo shizzle, know what I mean? Booya!

dole2obama said...

Good post:
A few from the real estate world:

"dry powder" -cash

"he got over his tips"- out of cash

"trying to catch a falling knife"-trying to figure out the bottom of the market

"he was fishing off the company pier" ---see Dave Letterman, Steve Phillips, etc. etc.

"at the end of the day"--just a general overused expression

"a coupon clipper"---someone not in the real estate game

"big hitter"---a wealthy real estate guy

Serenity NOW said...

My two favorite real estate phrases... "he's chasing a rainbow". This is the buyer who is looking for the perfect deal and never pulls the trigger: and "paralysis by analysis". This is the guy who spends way to much time trying to make a decision, weighing the pros and cons, the pros and cons, the pros and cons, the pros and and cons...you get the idea.

Broker D

Bible Thumpin' Mike in Utah said...

Wow, I am way out of the mainstream on this. I have not heard of most of these phrases. I do remember "hella" thought in Norcal and hated it. To my defense Garrett, I do not believe you ever heard me utter that term.

Also, way to throw Doctor Dawkins in there. I am a fan of his. I of course to not agree with him, but have gotten a chance to email back and forth and one phone conversation. I like personally like the guy.
1. He is not afraid to discuss with someone who disagrees with him.
2. He is super nice when he does, and when he does begin to get a little arrogant, he will back up and apologize for his attitude and stay on point (feelings and emotions do not get in the way).
3. He comes across as a guy who does have a certain amount of respect for people who have their own belief that differs from his.
4. Does not appear to hate christians, in his mind i believe he wants to free them from a sort of bondage he believes they are under.

Now if more atheists and so-called christians could debate things in a similar way. I guess it is just funner to yell though.