If you aren’t a blogger (read: most of my regular readers) than you may or may not know about a WordPress “feature” called Freshly Pressed. This is a compilation of editor picks, so to speak, for the blogging world, that are all featured, daily, in one place of popularity and fame. Because I am not blogging in the hopes of becoming freshly pressed myself one day, I have never explored the ins and outs as to how and why a post gets chosen, but I do know this: it is quite an honor indeed.
Of the Freshly Pressed posts I’ve actually clicked on (which is several, especially when there is nothing good on TV), fewer than half manage to intrigue me as much as they intrigued the WordPress gods. What the posts rarely fail to do, however, is remind me that no matter how big and vast and scary The Internet seems to people like my mom, it is really just a vortex of similar ideas, swirling around and reminding people like me that we’re not as creative nor unique as we think we are. And, newsflash, neither are our children.
It makes sense, if you think about it, that most bloggers are writing to an audience of other bloggers. Who else in the universe (outside of our own mothers) cares about what we have to say?
One freshly pressed blog I read recently, for example, was an in depth how-to list, organizing the perfect way to de-clutter your closet in the spring. People raved in the comments about how great the post was. I can’t be too quick to judge. I read it, after all. It was nicely written and even contained original pictures illustrating ideas. It didn’t pretend to be some new and exciting idea that no one ever thought about before, but took on the tone of, “Things I’m doing today that you should consider doing too.” What nobody says, however, (out of some unwritten blogging courtesy code?) is, “Hey, I think Martha Stewart says the same stuff in her magazine and on her show about this time every year. But it was so much better hearing it from you.”
This is what the Internet does to us people.
In the same way that reality TV has become little more than scripted television with unpaid amateur actors, the Internet has taken even the most creative and intelligent among us and mixed them with hundreds of thousands of others. Some, only partially literate! (I’m not saying you and your closet are only partially literate Ms. Wardrobe Detox, I’m talking about them.)
This is why it is such a joyful surprise to discover something new, even if it is only new to me, on the world wide interwebs. Today’s lesson came straight from a Freshly Pressed blog about the premier of Mad Men, of all things. Skip over the parts that hailed what’s-her-name’s little song and dance number as the only success of the much awaited two hour Donald Draper worship service. The gem came when I discovered this word: “meme.”
I was satisfied first because this is a word I was mentally grasping for a few days ago, but didn’t know it actually existed. The definition of meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” [Oxford Comma added for snobbery.]
I honestly needed this word in my recent obedience post. I sat and sat and didn’t even know what to Google in order to come up with a word that encompassed the idea in my head* so I settled for a Tommy Boy analogy instead. (“…Naturally, too many books have already been published on this topic, and every single one comes with its own set of parenting memes.” Ooh that a was long-awaited scratched itch.)
Lesson number two comes in the discovery of the correct pronunciation of “meme.” It turns out, our beloved YouTube has a whole library of eight second videos, pronouncing words which are decidedly difficult to orally decipher. (I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked, but I’m wondering if every single word in the dictionary is in there. I’m also contemplating a bored night in which the junior high me reveals herself in a series of naughty words and endless giggles. Can you tell I don’t yet have Siri on my iPhone?)
Meme. Rhymes with theme and scream and Kareem Abdul Jabeem.
And now it is mine. A new word. To own. And use. And probably fail to recall in a moment of brilliance at a podium one day.
Thank you Internet! Thank you Mt. Freshly Pressed gods! Thank you, Compaq, old trusty, for not dying when my foot caught your cord today and I threw you to the floor in an accidental moment I normally would have reserved for one of my children and not myself.
Satisfaction is mine.
*This gives me an idea that perhaps there should be a website in which we type a definition, no matter how twisted or screwy or moderately correct, and the search engine provides potential vocabulary matches. Yes, sort of like a thesaurus, but more encompassing. A few names I might throw out there before someone decides to steal this idea (and also before I go digging to see if it already exists) include: extendothesaurus™, grasping at words dot com™, i’m thinking of a word dot com™, what do you say when… dot com™.