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Internet Memes45:55
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Internet memes are the new American mind game. Punchy. Viral. Irresistible. We’ll track the zeitgeist in memes.

Memes like this "LOLCat" are ubiquitous on the internet. (Wikipedia)
Memes like this "LOLCat" are ubiquitous on the internet. (Wikipedia)

We all know genetics, genes, and how they carry DNA.  Now think “memes” – nifty packets of information, and how they carry ideas.  A meme can be words, music, an image.  Winston Churchill’s “V” for victory.  Mona Lisa’s smile.  Richard Dawkins coined the term.  The Internet gave it wings.  And the biggest stage in history.

Memes are all over the net now.  Some funny.  Some hard.  Cats with cute sayings.  Viral videos.  Hillary Clinton looking boss.  What sitcoms were to the ‘60s, Internet memes are now.

This hour, On Point:  memes all over, and the ideas viruses shaping our culture.
-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christina Xu, co-founder of ROFLCon, an “internet culture conference devoted to discussing what makes memes work, why they work, and where it’s all going.”

Brad Kim, editor of knowyourmeme.com.

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist and author of Program or Be Programmed.

From Tom's Reading List

Washington Post "On the pair's Tumblr site, Hillary, wearing dark sunglasses and studying her Blackberry, is surrounded by briefing papers while on the military transport plane to Libya. Diana Walker took the picture last year for Time magazine. It’s become a classic and powerful image in a week, thanks to massive exposure via social media."

New York Times "I don’t remember how old I was when I first climbed up to the roof of my family’s home in suburban Maryland. Eleven, maybe? Twelve? But I do remember what I saw up there. It was the night of the Fourth of July, and it was turning dark enough for the fireworks.

Slate "Even if you've never clicked on 4chan, you've felt its influence— LOLcats, FAIL blog, and Rickrollingare just a few of the Internet memes that incubated there. Yet visiting 4chan—especially the site's most-active board, /b/ —can be a little offputting. There's the porn, the racism, the things having to do with the surprising abilities of an octopus that you see once and never forget. Some of this is designed to shock and scare away the casual visitor. Most of it is just sick."

Photos: Famous Internet Memes

Internet Meme Sites

Texts From Hillary

Knowyourmeme

First World Problems

Video: PBS Ideas Channel

Video: Top Memes of 2011

Playlist

“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astly
“Nyan Cat” Video
“Friday” by Rebecca Black

This program aired on April 20, 2012.

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