Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id IAA26932 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Fri, 15 Jun 2001 08:21:45 +0100 Message-Id: <email@example.com> X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.1 (32) Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 09:21:25 +0200 To: email@example.com From: Metascience <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Mooning In-Reply-To: <email@example.com> References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745EF6@inchna.stir.ac.uk > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Yesterday, a large group of demonstrators were mooning president Bush at
the summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is very unpopular in Europe,
especially for breaking the Kyoto agreement (against air pollution). I
wonder if American media dare show the mooning - the European media
certainly do. (For those not acquainted with American slang: To moon means
showing your bare arse to somebody)
The word to 'moon' has entered the Danish language without translation
during the last couple of years and has now been used in the TV news for
the first time.
An ethnographic study of American youth (1) published in 1987 mentions this
word as the slang of a limited youth subculture and unknown to adults. They
also said "Moons are shining tonight".
Obviously, the word has spread quite far since then. I don't know if the
word has spread to other non-english languages, but I consider it very
likely. We didn't have a word for this act before, though the act was not
completely unknown. The act has probably been more common after it has got
The act of mooning may have various meanings:
1. a prank
2. a provocation against sexual norms
3. an expression of contempt.
In the 1987 study, mooning was just a childish prank. Yesterday in
Gothenburg, it was certainly an expression of contempt.
Sociologists would argue that the word, the act, and its meaning are
strongly tied together. Most memeticists probably agree that these three
spread together as a meme complex.
The meme may get its fitness from pushing a sexual button, according to
Brodie's theory (2).
1) Fine, Gary: With the boys: little league baseball and preadolescent
University of Chicago press 1987.
2) Brodie, Richard: virus of the mind: the new science of the meme.
seattle: integral press 1996.
M. Schwartz, Ph.D.
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