RE: Mooning

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Fri Jun 15 2001 - 14:59:14 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Mooning
    Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 14:59:14 +0100
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    I'm not so sure it's actually much of a taboo, rather a generic form of
    displaying contempt or defiance. Showing one's bare behind to potential
    opponents suggests a lack of fear as well as of contempt (re: the scene in
    'Braveheart' where Mel and the boys raise their kilts to show bare arses to
    the English at a battle- don't know historically is this was done by Scots
    before battle or not, but certainly lots of ancient armies fought naked, or
    near naked to provoke fear in the opposition).

    In terms of your question about general behaviour, there was that experiment
    whereby a man stands in a busy city street staring upwards, most passers by
    ignore him. Put five people standing together staring up though, and large
    numbers of people will stop to look up also. I believe this has something
    to do with social compliance, at least that's how the social psychologists
    interpret it.

    Of course, the memetic element rests on whether or not people copy what they
    see. It does raise the issue of social learning and memetics though.
    Perhaps mooning like other aggressive/critical gestures are products of
    social learning not memes?


    > ----------
    > From: Philip Jonkers
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 2:30 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Mooning
    > Interesting anecdote,
    > > 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.
    > Members of a meme complex (memeplex) do have strong mutual
    > ties too, right? At least they shouldn't be incompatible or
    > mutually conflicting as the memeplex otherwise would disintegrate.
    > Therefore both interpretations are mere
    > reformulations of the same statement I would say.
    > >The meme may get its fitness from pushing a sexual button, according to
    > >Brodie's theory (2).
    > De act defies or breaks a sexual taboo and therefore has an
    > impression on observering bystanders likely to share the same
    > sentiments as the actual mooning-initiators. This may help the
    > mooning-wannabe's to cross the threshold imposed by the taboo,
    > thus promoting the adoption of the same provocative taboo-breaking
    > behavior by means of memetic transmission (imitation).
    > Is this an example of a more general type of behavior?
    > Once someone breaks a taboo (temporarily) as a provocative
    > act of defiance. Its observers and bystanders, perhaps en masse,
    > imitate the actor and as such break the taboo as well.
    > A memetic avalanche effect by means of taboo-breaking?
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

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    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

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