I find the dynamics of internet meme popularity fascinating. Something explodes onto the scene, sort of plateaus in popularity, and then it hits a secondary market of sorts—a whole new population that missed it on the first go-round—and it takes off again.

The latest of these to hit my inbox first arrived almost two months ago. It was a simple request to go to Google, type in “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button. Up pops a page that looks like the standard Internet Explorer “This page cannot be displayed” page, but with some added social commentary (the effect is naturally somewhat diminshed for those of us who don’t use MSIE all the time). I hesitate to create another link to this thing, but if you must see it, you can find it here.

Strangely, this thing has shown up in my inbox almost 10 times in the past week. Normally, the only email I get is spam, but this has been coming from friends. I do appreciate the thought, that you wanted to share with me a laugh, or at least a dolorous smile and shaking head. Really, I appreciate it. I can only say, though, at this point: message received. No need to send me another message telling me to Google “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

I should also probably clear up some seemingly common misconceptions. First of all, the page to which the message refers has nothing to do with Google. It’s a piece of satire written by a guy who maintains a website about adverse drug reactions. Second, he wrote it months ago. Now, it’s everywhere.
If, by chance, it is (or was) the first page that Google returns on that particular search, it has gotten there entirely because certain people keep sending other certain people to that page, and certain people keep linking to it, etc.

If you want to know what memes are “fresh” and what aren’t, there is help. Good places to look include Memepool and Boing Boing and, you know, Google.


On an entirely different note, I think I’m teetering on the edge of insanity. All I can say is, “Ooh, the pretty colors!”

NP: The Decemberists, Grace Cathedral Hill