I don’t fucking care at all that Richard Dawkins invented this word. It’s straight up horrible and nobody will point out this fact so I guess I have to.
First of all, Richard Dawkins is a dick. I mean his NAME is even Dick. I’m an atheist but I think between he and Christopher Hitchens, atheism is very poorly represented, the same way Christianity is very poorly represented by James Dobson, Veggietales, and Pope Leo XII. But perhaps good ideas can come from dickheads — it is widely known that Marie Curie was an incorrigible bitch, and she managed to invent radium, by scraping away at tiny watches for three decades.
But this isn’t a good idea, because at its core, its definition is the following:
Meme: (meem) n. - thing
Of course, dictionaries have to dress it up a little, so you don’t feel stupid for using it. Here’s the definition as given by Dictionary.com
Meme: (meem) n. - a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes
And that is fine. Philosophers need to reference all sorts of ideas because they are talking about very complicated esoteric things. But that isn’t what the world thinks this word means. Here’s what the definition should actually be:
Meme: (meem) n. – Stupid internet horseshit a bunch of inbred teenagers think is funny
Supposedly, Dick Dawkins tried to use Latin, the Zombie language, like all biologists do, instead of something more modern and relevant and not shitty. And according the OED (that’s Online Etymology Dictionary to me) the word was supposed to sound like “gene”, reflecting how a meme can be mutated after repeated copying, or, in the case of memes, made less funny.
When I first saw the word “meme” I thought it was pronounced “mem”. It’s slightly less caustic that way. We might have then been able to say it came from French, with that elegant decorative E at the end, or even Olde Englishe. But it’s actually pronounced MEEM, like the EE in BEE. You know why they’re called bees and not puppy dogs? Because they’re fucking ANNOYING and we want to smoosh them and steal their honey.
MEEM sounds like something small and annoying that will not go away, and many memes behave this way, refusing to die like the Zombie language. Even the spelling is bad. “Meem” is at least honest about its pronunciation. There’s only one way to pronounce it in English. “Meme”, on the other hand could be pronounced MEE-MEE, or MEM, or MEEM, or even MEM-EH.
From now on I’m going to pronounce “meme” as “flying spaghetti monster” because it’s a better idea and I think Dicky Dawkins would understand anyway.