When truth is truly irrelevant

Samsung paid $1 billion in nickels to Apple.
A linebacker defends a gay classmate against a bully.
And when the superstar American basketball player LeBron James was still in high school, he met his idol Michael Jordan.

Events or news can be condensed to the size of a meme and spread quickly through social networks. Does it still matter if the story is true? Yes. And no.

Continue reading “When truth is truly irrelevant”

Grumpy Cat: The Modern Achilles

Or,

How Memes are Actually Classical Tradition and How Publishers Are Killing Them Regardless

 

N.B. In the context of this essay, ‘meme’ refers specifically to internet memes and oral tradition refers specifically to that of the Ancient Greeks.

How could an unhappy looking cat be comparable to the greatest Greek hero? Achilles and Grumpy Cat are much more similar than they first appear. They come from traditions, Ancient Greek oral tradition and internet memes respectively, that are mirror images of each other.  Continue reading “Grumpy Cat: The Modern Achilles”

The Price is Rice: Making Sense of a Cognitive Surplus

We’ve all noticed the steady decline in long-form writing.  Fewer writers are being properly compensated for their efforts and a dwindling loyal readership is willing to pay top dollar for quality work. Correspondingly, an abundance of cat memes, life hacks, and celeb-centric listicles have been flooding our personal newsfeeds all at the cost of nothing. Is generosity the driving force behind this shift in our journalistic and publishing landscapes? This is an argument that social technologist Clay Shirky makes in his study of our current cognitive surplus. While his positive premise is valid, and frankly quite touching, it may be more accurate to deduce that we are experiencing an influx of condensed and frivolous content due to economic factors, rather than human benevolence. So what do the quantity and quality of public knowledge have to do with the price of eggs? I argue that they have everything to do with the price of rice, actually. Continue reading “The Price is Rice: Making Sense of a Cognitive Surplus”