Archive for the ‘mcrolling’ Tag

Literally A Meme?

When is a meme not a meme? And what is a meme?

I thought an English lit. grad with a penchant for pedantry should take it to task. But I could quickly prove myself wrong. Let’s see.

If you clicked the above link you’ll have read about the Hamster Dance and Rickrolling. That Wiki doesn’t yet include the literal video. So here’s what I’m talking about:

Dustin McLean‘s literal take on A-Ha now has now had over 2m YouTube views. That’s viral, right?

So since he’s done it again, with different videos, does that make it a meme? Here are the next instalments – using Tears For Fears…

… and Red Hot Chilli Peppers:

These are all very funny. Don’t get me wrong. But is this a “catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the internet”?

Well, it’s spread to the extent that it’s been imitated. There’s a literal video for U2 without subtitles. And the Rick Astley version by Joe Sabia cannibalises another meme – check the subtitle on the preview!

Two things I want to flag here: sharing and evolution.

Obviously these videos have been shared – and I’m sharing them now. But is it evolving?

Rickrolling was a form of anarchy that spread beyond the internet. Anyone could do it. It was simply a trap/ device. That’s not the case with the literal video. It has made Dustin McLean (more?) famous but, so far, the concept has been too well-honed to imitate on a mass scale. The layman can’t repeat the act.

Until Joe Regular can repurpose, evolve, mutate the meme… I’m not sure it’s a meme. Then again, I’m sure a scientist could define “meme” better than an English lit. a**hole.

I should take my fat words and go Mcroll myself…