virus: ouch

Kevin M O'Connor (
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 02:05:59 EST

I found this on the Hotwired Brain Tennis threads. And to think, I went
out of my way to be polite to this guy as he rambled at me.

30.De re memetica
Arthur T. Murray (mindmaker) on Mon, 28 Oct 96 12:19 PST

On WED.28.AUG.1996 I was giving a tour of the University of
Washington campus to (code-name) "Odna Mona," my informal German student,
and as a meme to impress her
(but I don't really believe in memes) I took along a print-out of my
most recent Usenet mind-diagram posts. Afterwards in the University Book
Store I grew tired standing around
and trying to make up my mind to buy "The Pinball Effect" on science
and inventions, by James Burke (I was glad to pay $23.95 for it.) Looking
around for a place to sit down
during a mad sale, I noticed banks of folding chairs set up for a
book-signing author. Barely curious after taking a seat, I inquired who
would be speaking, and the clerk pointed to
a cardboard advertisement for Mr. Richard Brodie, author of "Virus
of the Mind." But I had just been reading about him the night before on
the Internet in the alt.memetics
newsgroup. Scheming began in earnest. After a while a handsome
fellow came in, and I asked if he was Richard Brodie. No, it was not
himself, but a follower not worthy to loosen
the shoelaces of Himself. The acolyte was the very same K.M.O. who
has posted so grandiloquently in a few passages further up in this
thread. K.M.O. had just come here to
Seattle and had never yet met Richard Brodie, but had been in
contact with him for a year. Now they were about to meet, and I witnessed
when memeheads collide. Richard
Brodie in the sarx was so happy-go-lucky and affable that I stood up
near K.M.O. and addressed my own remarks to Richard Brodie. I introduced
myself as Arthur Murray, put
up with Richard's joke about dancing lessons, and said that "as a
test" I would like to know if he had ever seen this mind-diagram on the
Internet, and from my nerd-pocket I
withdrew the folded-up printout that I had brought along to impress
my young private-lessons German student. "Yes," said Richard Brodie,
"several months ago," but the ASCII
mind-diagram had been askew on his computer monitor because of the
varying font-widths. Oops, I thought, I'm putting out what many people
see as garbage. As an afterthought,
I asked Richard Brodie, "Did you see my post from last Friday in
alt.memetics -- Mother of All Memes?" Richard Brodie stood stock still
and turned his face slowly to mine. "That
was you?" he gravitassed. Things were getting curiouser and
curiouser. Richard Brodie gave his talk on memes, but told us in the
audience that he shortened it each succeeding
time. He invited us to be on his electronic mailing list for special
announcements, so I went up afterwards, but there was no sign-up sheet.
Ladies and gentlemen of the memetic
ricochet, I had to give Richard Brodie the Mentifex mind-diagram
print-out sheet as a vehicle of joining his mail-list. Thus did one world
of memetic Geisterwanderung and
change-the-world propaganda collide with a front standard-bearer of
the whole memetic movement, Mr. Richard Brodie, author of Microsoft Word
and personal assistant to Paul
Allen's co-founder at Microsoft. I left Richard Brodie sitting
there, staring at the grand meme of the artificial mind, and softly
saying to himself each syllable: Men- ti- fex.