Memetic defense

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 14:21:25 -0700

> [EvMick]
> another thread [Natasha] critiqued (unjustifiably in my
> humble opinion)
> Other examples of antagonistic memetic replicators are "nigger,
> kike, geek, redneck, ...truckdriver" ...the list goes on and on.

I think Natasha is right to call those antagonistic memes, but we must be careful to distinguish between the meme itself and the mere word--the sounds and shapes by which it is spread. Indeed, as much experience in the use of language has shown, the taboo on the words actually increases the virulence of the meme, because it prevents other memes from competing for the same word. The gay community has shown us a great example by their "reclamation" of words like "queer", that new ideas, connotations, and implications can be given to a word to fight the old ones effectively.

I proudly call myself a "geek", and seek to instill implications of intelligence, resourcefulness, power, and industry into the word to combat (or at least supplement) its connotations of social ineptitude and pedantry. An amusing example of that is when a stripper once asked my occupation in casual conversation, I told her "I'm a computer geek". She asked why I would insult myself like that...while she was at the time wearing a leather dog collar with "slut" spelled in rhinestones.

Well, she was proud of being a professional slut, and should be; she was quite good at it. Just as I am an excellent geek, and Max is a top-notch philosopher. Perhaps we can help restore some positive connotations to that epithet one day.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>