Originally uploaded by on-the-run.
(that’s the picture)
I was thinking about different genres of memes – remixes, jokes, flash games and so on and wondering what (if anything) lies underneath the varied content. What sort of messages are carried by different memes?
I was keen to post today that my favourite movie this year so far is Capote, my favourite novel is Never Let me Go, my favourite song is this (Regina Spektor) and my favourite exhibition is James Turrell.
It be came clear I was replicating a listing meme – my favourite things – what I’m consuming (my allegiances). Then, in turn, it seems that the listing, ranking and rating meme runs through popular culture. There are any number of TV programmes on ‘Your Top Ten Glamrock Artists’, ‘All time favourite sitcoms’, ‘Best Hollywood Musical’ and of course the whole annual merry-go-round of awards. Top ten fiction paperback, top ten this, and top ten that. And it usually runs on a dream of interactivity/participation. You, the people have your say. But does all this fill a political vacuum created by a saturation of consumerism?
On Wednesday, Caroline Bath’s fascinating seminar explored ideas generated by classroom work on participation with five year olds. I was fascinated by the way she described the ‘almost religious silence’ when it came to voting in one of the classes. It reminded me how seriously we are supposed to take voting - even when we’re voting about the banal which, lets face it, it usually is. The gospel of democracy (the bloody mission of much recent military action) is the mandate to ride roughshod over the objecting minority, the no-voters, the issues that weren’t in the manifesto and so on. So, is the listing-ranking meme just a cloaked ideology of ‘democratic’ consumerism?