Category Archives: Media

Internet Memes

Wikipedia definition:
The term Internet meme is a neologism used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet.

Internet memes in a way, are the online version of chain letters.  Most are silly and uninteresting.  A waste of cyberspace.  The blogger Nessa, tagged me on the following Internet Meme and whilst I usually avoid them, this one in particular has an appeal strong enough to compel a response.

The objective is to enter your answer to each question into Google and then choose an image from the first page.  Some cheat and swipe an image from any page.  Others choose their target based on aesthetic—either what they find ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’ and/or what they think others will like with a primary purpose to impress.  Whatever their reasons, they are a byproduct of intellectual laziness with a flair of conformity.

I see this meme foremost as a psychological exercise.  By sticking to the rules, it necessarily forces specificity on the author, thereby transforming it into an enjoyable logically inductive experience.  The images are both ambiguous and highly descriptive.  Many of the images in my response contain more than one meaning; specific search criteria and selective scrutiny within the confines of Google search engine.

As an example, I have chosen the first image because I will be 28 on my next birthday, enjoyed the film 28 Weeks Later, and the biohazard sign is one of the symbols for Androgyne.  My answers are all contained within the images, accessible for those that can decipher them.  It is a two-way psychological mindfuck regardless of whether or not people manage to interpret accurately.

Therein lies the full extent of the allure.

Note: Whatever you choose to believe, I will neither confirm nor deny.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday.

2. A place you’d like to travel to.

3. Your favourite place.

4. Your favourite food.

5. Your favourite pet.

6. Your favourite colour combination.

7. Your favourite piece of clothing.

8. Your favourite TV show.

11. Your first job.

13. A bad habit you have.

14. Your worst fear.

15. What you would like to do before you die.

I have been plagiarized.

A few days ago, I became aware of a particularly perverse development. The blogger Nessa, whose blog I have been a frequent commenter on since my wordpress beginnings, was plagiarized. The degenerate culprit, stole at least 20 of her entries and posted them verbatim on his MSN Spaces blog.

It gets worse.

The overall theme, About information, and comments made on those stolen entries were swiped as well. Another blog was created to feed the delusion so that he could ‘converse’ with himself. That additional blog had entries made by individuals from Nessa’s blogroll. He then used that account to ‘respond’ to the plagiarized entries. Some of my comments from Nessa’s blog were stolen and posted once again, verbatim. This demented person, then proceeded to ‘reply’ to my comments by copying Nessa’s responses to me–with the twist of pretending he had been the author, of course.

This is the cyberspace equivalent of what you would expect an offline stalker to do: taking intimate photographs of his subject, using an exacto knife to cut out his head from self-portraits so that he may duct tape it over the bodies of anyone near his object of affection, and in so, relish in the illusion of seeming as it he had been there all along, with the grand finale of adding all of this to his wall/devoted shrine at home.

After carefully examining which entries were chosen along with which comments, I told Nessa this abomination was most likely the invention of someone she knew.

As it turns out . . . I was correct.

Note: To read a copy of the response I made on her blog, see the comments section of this entry.

The Mars-Venus Myth

The Mars-Venus Myth made famous by John Gray in 1992 by the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus remains insufferably regnant. Here is a link to a table from the article The Gender Similarities Hypothesis originally published in 2005 in the journal American Psychologist—which is the official publication of the American Psychological Association. The author of the article Janet H Hyde acts as an effective countermeasure foundation for this issue.

To understand the table:

d = score equivalent of standardized gender difference
-d = women are stronger in this area
+d = men are stronger in this area

Observe that the major communication differences between the genders are in the Spelling and Smiling categories with women in the lead by -0.45 and -0.40 respectively. Men take the lead in Conversational Interruption (+0.15 – +0.33) and Assertive Speech (+0.11).

According to the Mars-Venus myth, communication is a significant difference but this is easily dispelled in the most compelling column of all—Effect Size. The most dramatic ‘difference’ is not only Moderate but lies in Spelling and Smiling and so irrelevant that one cannot reasonably cluster men and women on different planets. The Effect Size column differentiation consists mainly of ‘close to zero’ and ‘small.’

Most publications that headline dramatic gender divergence rely on single studies with low sample rates that are understandably misleading. This particular study is an amalgam of numerous studies which take into account a variety of social scenarios. The author is a psychologist who specializes in the statistical technique of ‘meta-analysis’ whose purpose is to substantially increase statistical power by calculating a standard between a group of studies (instead of a small sample size) and analyzing the results.

Unsurprisingly, this research does not amass as much media attention as the Mars-Venus Myth. The media tailors to a market that would rather believe most misunderstandings between the sexes are a result of gender differences instead of poor communication, social dynamics, power struggles, and other factors.

In actuality, the differences between the genders as this study proves are so minute to be essentially redundant for when you examine the scores of the average woman and compare it to the average man, the gap is smaller and less diverse than a comparison within the genders.

Thankfully, Oxford language professor Deborah Cameron has published a book titled The Myth of Mars and Venus to verbally vaccinate against such widespread misconception and ignorance.