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Meme Update #7

In this issue: 
    Subliminal Meming



I'm noticing more and more use of "subliminal meming" these days. Subliminal meming is a phrase I coined to describe the technique of slipping memes into people's minds covertly, woven into a seemingly innocent presentation. Subliminal meming is a kind of Trojan Horse, the kind I discuss in my book VIRUS OF THE MIND if you discover that reading my book is something you want to do.

It's the kind of topic that, when you hear about it, once you become comfortable that it's really happening, you just want to put everything else aside and try to get a clear picture of what's going on. For instance, I started by discovering the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) community and their idea of "embedded commands" (see Chapter 7 of VIRUS OF THE MIND, "How We Get Programmed"). Then I started to tie in the idea of subliminal advertising (see book review below).

Finally, I got a call from a fellow named Ross Jeffries who wanted to order several dozen copies of VIRUS OF THE MIND and wanted to know if he could get a discount (yes). Being curious, I asked why he wanted so many copies. He told me he wanted to buy copies for all the students attending his top-level week-long seminar in the Bahamas. "You have a seminar on memetics?" I asked, incredulous. "Not exactly," he said, and suggested I check out his web site, Ross Jeffries teaches men how to seduce women using subliminal meming. He is clearly a controversial character. Look for him on talk shows. They love controversy.


From the terms & conditions of Alaska Airlines lowest economy fare:



The Age of Manipulation: The Con in Confidence, the Sin in Sincere
Wilson Brian Key
Madison Books (1993)

Dr. Key's fourth book on subliminal advertising is worth the purchase price just for the pictures: liquor ads with blatantly obvious erect penises drawn into the stream of pouring gin, "sex" airbrushed into practically everywhere, and even a McDonalds ad with a hand dipping an unforgivably phallic "Chicken Tender" into sauce.

Key hypothesizes that the male homosexual taboo is at play in many of these ads. When we perceive these images subliminally but repress them, he says, it creates an irrational attraction to the advertisement. He showed some of these ads to Inuits, almost all of whom saw the penises immediately and burst out laughing. Americans only saw the images immediately 5% of the time.

Although Key doesn't use the word "meme," he is thinking along the memetic paradigm as he uses Madison Avenue's sneaky tactics to enlighten readers about the vulnerable nature of their minds. A well written and erudite book.

Click to order from the Memetics Bookstore:



[Thanks to Mike Koss, who found this little bit of memetic hacking in Scott Adams's newsletter]

Naked Pictures On Dilbert Zone Web Site


Pranksters recently hacked into the United Media web site, home of the Dilbert Zone, and replaced Dilbert graphics with pictures of naked women. I was shocked and offended. The pictures were quickly removed, but there's no guarantee that it won't happen again. There's a good chance that sometime soon you might find more incredibly clear, sexually stimulating pictures of naked people on the Dilbert Zone web site at If that happens, believe me, I'll be plenty mad.