Internet fans like to use the word meme a lot without necessarily or remotely understanding what it means. Effectively, people use it like the word myth, although a meme is quite different from a myth. A meme is more than a false story or legend; it is a cultural understanding that spreads through a variety of means.
In the age of the Internet, it is true, memes have great power because it takes very little to spread one through sound, graphics, or written words. For example, the meme that Japanese did not loot or lose social cohesion during their triple disaster. They did, but the results did not fit the meme and was ignored. Part of this is because the internet is great for sharing anecdotes; people believe anecdotes because they are relatable. The Internet can not only spread meme-reinforcing anecdotes quickly, but in large numbers: the same story can appear in seconds in dozens of separate places and thereby reinforce the idea that a small event happened many times. This makes it more believable.
Also, people are reassured by the Internet as a source of information. Most people do not question the source, and studies prove that people never click on linked sources, but assume the fact is proven by the existence of a link.
Memes can be politically dangerous. Sarah Palin was mercilessly targeted by fake and planted memes denigrating her stupidity. These include snide editorials, sexist rants on blogs, and SNL performances. Each fuels the other, but few if any point back to the source. Tim Pawlenty is unelectable. Michele Bachmann takes drugs to cope with stress. Paul Ryan wants to hurt seniors. The rich have plenty of money. And on and on. None of these things are really accurate, but everybody believes them and, because they are memes, people act on them.
The Czar has been monitoring the emergence of a new meme, and invites you to observe its growth with him: the meme that Barack Obama is a one-term president.
Is it true? No, this is not proven until the next election. But think how many times you have seen the three words one-term president in the last two or three weeks. Even liberal publications are buying into it. Oh, they may disagree with the premise, but even a liberal publication spreads the meme with a title like How Obama Can Prevent A One-Term Presidency or Why Tea Party Bastards Need BO To Be A One-Term President. Yeah, those articles might be explaining the inherent fallacy in such an assumption, but everytime they link the three words one, time and president, they stick in the brain.
Just as the Left has used memes to cripple candidates on the Right, the public is being washed with one-term president everywhere they look. On the news. On the Web. On the radio. On TV. And at the voting booth, in November 2012, those three words will be echoing in the ears when the voter sees the box next to Barack H. Obama.
Now, you know the Czar was among the first to suggest Obama was a four-year fizzle, back in November, 2009. We have a long haul to 2012, and a lot can and will happen. But no matter what successes the Republicans enjoy or what mistakes the Obama administration is certain to make, perhaps no greater influence on the independent voter will be three words. No, not Hope and Change; but increasingly one-term President.
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