Meme See, Meme Do

Over the past several months no-one, not even United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, escaped the infectious K-pop sensation that was Gangam Style. What seemed equally as infectious was the desire by thousands, if not millions, of people across the globe to produce their own, increasingly outlandish, versions of the associated music video. Even Chinese artist Ai Weiwei utilised it to great subversive affect.

This seemingly absurd and comical behaviour is actually quite a crucial exercise in human behaviour and the spread of culture. A meme is a form of expression or way of thinking that is passed from one person to another within a particular culture or society. In the past this used to occur on a local, regional or national level, but with the advent of worldwide mass telecommunications this can now happen on a global scale. The spread of such memes via the internet is often described as viral and continues to prove both popular and irresistible, particularly within the field of amateur music videos. The latest craze is Harlem Shake as illustrated by our very own University of Manchester students…

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