RE: Structure of facts and opinions

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 12:32:24 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 12:32:24 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: RE: Structure of facts and opinions
In-Reply-To: <000001bdd03e$bdf769e0$88293fce@uymfdlvk>

Richard Brodie wrote:

>Most self-help books are an attempt to transform dysfunctional memes whose
>locus is inside the mind into better-functioning memes by the use of a
>benign mind virus. A best-selling book replicates outside of minds (mine
>personally uses a printing press in Ann Arbor, Michigan to self-replicate).
>But it would never happen if it was not infecting many minds with its memes
>AND with the "recommend me" meme. And when it infects Oprah Winfrey's mind,
>as mine recently did: watch out!

The Oprah Winfrey show is an excellent venue for marketing self-help books.
It might not impress most scientists, but then, most scientists do not even
watch the Oprah show. To be sure, Oprah probably did not know about all the
copies of your newsletter posted to, either. If she did,
then your book would not have made the show. Postings to
might not impress Oprah's fans, either. But then, most Oprah fans to not
read On the other hand, there *are* scientists who read
science newsgroups, and they have seen your crossposts mixing science
newsgroups with This can give memetics a poor
impression in the science communities, and even impart the notion that
"memetics" is a lightweight fad of adolescent boys.

Another pitfall of mixed marketing arises in your negative impression of
professors. There is an implication in Virus of the Mind (p. 72) that
professors are only out to protect their jobs. The theme also gains
expression through the "" postings, at least one of which
refers to "the academia virus." This idea does little to spread memetic
thinking to professors and academics who do not already accept some form of
memetics as such. Professors Dawkins, Dennett, Hofstadter, and numerous
others have done much to develop and disseminate the core ideas of meme
theory. We should accord them proper respect.

So in the interest of all the best memes, I would suggest marketing VOTM
through talk shows *instead of* And of course, I would
also suggest not putting down professors in any memetics work marketed in
part to the academic community.

--Aaron Lynch

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