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Anyone that has a smartphone is surely familiar with memes. There is no way to avoid them. They are everywhere on social media. They get shared on messaging apps and through email; they even get referenced in published articles. Most people don’t give memes a second thought, beyond noting whether they are funny or not. However, there is a history to them that might surprise you.
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(˶‾᷄ ⁻̫ ‾᷅˵)好可愛~
The word “meme” was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and it first appeared in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. The word comes from the Greek word mimema, which means something imitated. For Dawkins, a meme is merely an idea. He used the word to discuss the way in which ideas are spread through a culture and how they change along the way. He compared it to the way genes are biologically passed down from parent to child.
「迷因」一詞是由演化生物學家理查．道金斯所創造，它最早是出現在他 1976 年的著作《自私的基因》中。這個詞來自希臘字 mimema，指的是被模仿的某事物。對道金斯來說，迷因僅僅是一個概念。他用這個詞來討論概念在整個文化中的傳播方式以及它們在整個過程中如何變化。他將其比喻為生物學上父母遺傳基因給孩子的方式。
The meme made the jump to the internet in the 1990s. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch suggests that Mike Godwin was the first person to use it in terms of internet communication. In a column titled “Meme, Counter-Meme,” Mike Godwin stated that if an online discussion went on long enough, it would inevitably lead to a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis. This concept became known as “Godwin’s Law.”
迷因在 1990 年代躍入網際網路。網際網路語言學家格雷琴．麥卡洛克提出，就網際網路交流而言，邁克．戈德溫是第一位使用這個詞的人。邁克．戈德溫在標題為《迷因，反迷因》的專欄中敘述，如果線上的討論持續得夠久，就會不可避免地出現希特勒或納粹的類比。這個概念之後就被稱作「高德溫法則」。
Memes nowadays can be in the form of texts, photos, videos, or any othermedium. Some memes have inspired new words, like “rickrolling.” This is pretending to send someone a serious link, but when they click it, it leads to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video. Countless memes feature a person, an animal, or a character with a certain expression on their face. There is Grumpy Cat, Distracted Boyfriend, Screaming Marmot, and Baby Yoda. Users can edit the text on the photo to make their own joke. There are countless meme generators♦ online, so your own personalized meme is just a click away.