Pardon Me? becomes infinitely recursive internet karaoke meme, with bunnies

Thank you, Robert Popper.



    1. Thanks to video recursion they were able to pack a much longer piece into a mercifully short time.

  1. Dear Xeni et al.

    I love you, but I’m concerned over your frequent use of the word “meme.”

    Ever since balloon boy this summer I’ve seen many of your fellow boinger’s throw the word around when not always entirely appropriate.

    Obviously language changes, but it seems a phenomenon would be considered a meme when it attains a certain ubiquity in a society’s lexicon (visual or otherwise). So overusing the term is like telling someone “I love you” on the first date or maybe its like crying wolf. :)

    I would also ask you to consider boing boing’s unique position as “hub” of internet phenomenon and the potential that naming things “memes” might be a self fulfilling prophecy (e.g. Fox News and the Tea Baggers)

    Just some thoughts, some clarification would be exciting to read.


    1. Great point about something becomes a meme as soon as Boing Boing says that it is — which really only goes to show that the term “meme” is about as pointless a neologism as they come. What is a meme anyway? Is the idea of “a meme” a meme? I’m with the philosopher Mary Midgley on this (see e.g. )

  2. Tonky-

    According to meme (a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation)) “memes are the cultural counterpart of genes”.

    In other words, somebody uses a word for something (“meme”), or has a certain mannerism (“talk to the hand” gesture), or adopts a certain style (steampunk), and other people think it’s cool and adopt it. Voila! A meme! A parcel of information that is passed on socially.

    Or as somebody once told me- memes are human viruses.

    So under those definitions, bOingbOing is using the exactly correctly.

  3. Anselm is talking about the definition of the word “meme” where Tonky is talking about the term “internet meme” which has a slightly different connotation. I agree with Tonky’s observation – this particular video has not reached the viral critical mass necessary to merit its classification as an internet meme.

    Calling it a regular (non-internet) “meme”, while technically correct, is rather pointless, since everything humans have ever created also falls under this definition.

  4. Dammit. Just the other day I got that awful awful song out of my head. And I was thinking “Yes! I forgot what that song from Boing Boing was!!” Now I just want it out of my head.

  5. mEh, not buying it – I think this one requires a deeper dig into cultural theory beyond wikipedia or an online definition.

    Online Phenomena spread, get big, and die so fast – yet I think “fad” might be more apt. Meme, to me, denotes something deeper rooted and more ubiquitous (e.g. WTC attacks, we will never look at a plane the same way again)

    Also, whether meme or not, Boing Boing over posts about “Steampunk” and “Homemade Super Mario Brother Quilts”

    @anonymous thanks for the link I’ll check it out.

  6. A successful meme is supposed to be self-reproducing.

    An unsuccessful meme is just some stuff I saw on the internet one day.

    Sorry bunny.

  7. so, does the license fee for the song apply for each iteration displayed within a single video, or just for the surface video? I can make out separate songs at least 3 deep, possibly 4 on a good video. Does that mean the song is being played 4 times, or just once?

  8. Geez, what’s with the precious treatment of the word meme? It’s not that remarkable or significant a term…

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s an internet meme if it’s viewed by a considerable amount of people (Pardon Me youtube clip is up to about 150,000… Not a huge amount, sure, but still significant) and if it’s parodied or reproduced in some other form (see above video, and several other re-imaginings)…

    Internet memes are probably not as socially important or life-changing as wider social trends, but come on… It’s only the internet!

    In short, damn the man, save the meme… and get off your high horse!

  9. It’s a good thing there is so much discussion in here about whether this is a ‘meme’, because I need to know this before I decide what I should think of it.

Comments are closed.