Re: Sticky Memes

From: John Wilkins (
Date: Wed 25 Jan 2006 - 01:32:16 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: Sticky Memes"

    On 25/01/2006, at 11:19 AM, Scott Chase wrote:

    >> From: "Price, Ilfryn" <>
    >> Reply-To:
    >> To: <>
    >> Subject: Sticky Memes
    >> Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 14:47:02 -0000
    > [snip]
    > Kate:
    >> > Also let's not forget the fact that a significant minority *do*
    >> learn
    >> > another language, convert to another religious viewpoint,
    >> discard racist
    >> > attitudes or bizarre Santa-related practices (she's off again).
    > If:
    >> Can you really discard 'Rudolf the red nosed reindeer' or
    >> 'Santa' (as opposed to certain 'Santa-related practices' out of your
    >> head. I would call them highly sticky and relatively trivial
    >> (logical dangers of manipulation and association with over
    >> consumption excluded)
    > I still remember Rudolf and Santa and the elves as they were a part
    > of my childhood, especially given the heavy consumption of holiday
    > television programming with all that Christmas lore (let me give a
    > shout out to "Frosty the Snowman" representing the crystalline
    > water anthropomorphs). At some point kids probably think "Mickey
    > Mouse" and "Bugs Bunny" are real too, but eventually they realize
    > otherwise.
    > Can we discard colored eggs and chocolate bunny rabbits, neither
    > having anything to do with Christian mythology, from the symbology
    > of Easter? The Christians co-opted these pagan fertility symbols,
    > so apprently they have some staying power. But what's really wrong
    > with coloring eggs and hiding them on an annual basis, beyond the
    > foul odor experienced due to forgetting one behind the couch for a
    > couple months? One could do that and eschew the whole Christian
    > aspect of Easter. Heck it's really about some long forgotten
    > fertility goddess ain't it?

    That's what was reported in some medieval chronicler, but in fact it appears not to be. There were fertility rituals at about that time of year, for sure, but that's because the northern spring began about then and most agricultural societies were very aware of this. But the calculation of Easter relies upon the Jewish calendar, and it is solely based on that.

    Arguably there are the "god-resurrected" myths that Fraser reports but AFAIK this has tended to evaporate on hard inspection.

    John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project
    University of Queensland - Blog:
    "Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other
    hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122
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