The *medium* (or what we now call psycho-technological environments) that 
generated “memes” is, of course, the same one that dominated people’s lives 
when they were “discovered” in the 1970s – TELEVISION.  Are you sure that’s how 
you’d like anyone to behave today?

That medium is no longer “in control” and, as the name “nettime” signifies, we 
now live in a very different *time* -- in which DIGITAL technology has become 
the “ground of our experience.”  However, following this archeology through 
with McLuhan (and his interest in Gestalt), what happens when the *ground* 
changes is that the previous “ground” (i.e. the one that generated memes) 
becomes a *figure* and, as a result, becomes “obsolete” – which is to say it 
becomes everywhere-in-your-face but no longer has the previous fundamental 
psychological impact (as discussed in the 1988 “Laws of Media”).

To presume that recent “populist” developments are the result of *memes* -- as 
opposed to this fundamental shift in underlying environments – is to succomb to 
the same “television” way of looking at things.  Are you sure that’s how you’d 
like anyone to think about such things today?

On May Day 2017 (illustrated with my favorite IWW graphic), some of us 
published an essay on this – yes, on the site called “Medium” – titled “The End 
of Memes or McLuhan 101” which might be of some interest hereabouts . . . <g>

Mark Stahlman
Jersey City Heights

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Geert Lovink
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:15 AM
To: a moderated mailing list for net criticism
Subject: <nettime> They Say We Can’t Meme: Politics of Idea Compression/Geert 
Lovink & Marc Tuters

They Say We Can’t Meme: Politics of Idea Compression
 By Geert Lovink & Marc Tuters
Originally published here:
“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my 
darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” Friedrich Nietzsche
In his torturous 2017 book Futurability Franco Berardi states that “we should 
go beyond the critique of the techno-media corporate system and start a project 
of enquiry and self-organization for the cognitive workers who daily produce 
the global semio-economy. We should focus less on the system and more on the 
subjectivity that underlies the global semio-cycle.” (1) In this spirit, let’s 
consider memes as one of many ways to understand the fast and dark world of the 
mindset of today’s online subject. We see memes as densely compressed, open 
contradictions, designed to circulate in our real-time networks that work with 
repeating elements. As the far-right have discovered, memes express tensions 
that can’t be spoken in the political correct vocabulary of the mainstream 
media. To what extent can these empty formats symbolize the lived experience of 
global capitalism? Is it true that the left can’t meme? These are the strategic 
questions faced by activists and social media campaigners today . . .

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