Re: virus: Watching

David McFadzean (
Fri, 08 Jan 1999 09:02:50 -0700

At 10:44 PM 1/7/99 -0500, N CASHE wrote:

>to use that word!) ---I do think this could all apply somehow to the
>function of popular music (is there such a thing?). Does this sound as
>crazy or uninformed as I fear it might?

Crazy, perhaps, but certainly not uninformed. :-) In fact pop music was one of Dawkins's archetypical examples of a meme (catchy tunes) in the text where he coined the word (The Selfish Gene), and again in his most recent book (Unweaving the Rainbow). Other memeticists have attempted to separate the expression of a meme from the meme itself, like the expression of a gene (its phenotype) is distinct from the gene itself (the genotype). If that is the case, then pop music would be an expression of a set of memes.

To date is in unclear whether the genotype/phenotype distinction can usefully be applied to memetics, whether it is good poetic science or bad poetic science (as Dawkins would say). Does the distinction illuminate or obscure the phenomenon?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus