Milestones, memes and misattributions

Today was something of a milestone for my new blog. Today, was the first day that I received a comment! And, it wasn’t a comment from one of my best mates, or my mother. No, it was a comment from the guy that came up with the term ‘intellectual blitzkrieg’ that I wrote about in my very first post.

When I first saw that he had written, Iwas immediately concerned I had tried to claim something he had written as my own…but fortunately I hadn’t…I just liked the sound of it. Here’s what he said:

“I came up with the phrase (see my account here: lystellion.livejournal.com), and have been quietly tracking its flourishing on the internet. About three-quarters of earlier articles about Trimble et al. made use of it, that reduced to about half after the simpler (and far less descriptively accurate) ‘human google’ became the choice epithet. It eventually got attributed to Jeremy Paxman on the BBC website, which was soon corrected, but this lead to a lot of sources, including newspapers, copying-and-pasting it as his remark in their own accounts. I’m interested in Dawkins’ ‘meme’ theory, and it’s been fascinating seeing this meme grow, mutate with a misattribution, and eventually be competed against by an alternative phrase. I’m very glad you like the phrase. When I hit upon it, I wanted to give a sense of the fact that you are beaten back by a relentless tide of ultrafast answers, and that is happily exactly the effect it had on you as a reader. I originally used it to describe the whole team, but it fits their captain just as well. The full phrase, which was again intended for the whole team, was ‘relentless juggernaut of intellectual Blitzkrieg’.

This sums up the reasons why I think it is good to have a blog. It opens up communities far wider reaching than those we can be privy too in every day life and encourages thought, debate and participation. It also creates streams of thought that lead into other streams. I love the fact that the meme mutates through misattribution. Think about how often that happens and then original meanings are lost forever, all due at one point to one misapplication.

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