I Can Haz Memes

I Can Haz Memes

Update: 2021-08-06
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Description

Internet memes seem harmless enough. A few pictures of cats with some grammatically incorrect text—what could go wrong? Well, memes have come a long way since the early days of the internet. For more than a decade, memes have been deployed as a weapon in culture wars. And they’re even more persuasive than most people realize. A well-placed meme on somebody’s social media timeline can lead them down a rabbit hole of radicalization, misinformation, and extremism.

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with Emily Dreyfuss, a senior editor at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy about how memes have shaped politics and culture.

Show Notes: 

Read more about all kinds of disinformation at Harvard Shorenstein Center’s Media Manipulation Casebook. Here’s Emily’s story about her life as a robot. Read Angela Watercutter’s story about the Bernie Sanders mittens memes.

Recommendations: 

Emily recommends that you look up what happens to an artichoke if you let it flower, and also American Nations by Colin Woodard. Mike recommends r/random, which takes you to a different subreddit every time you click. Lauren recommends the HBO show White Lotus.

Emily Dreyfuss can be found on Twitter @EmilyDreyfuss. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

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I Can Haz Memes

I Can Haz Memes

WIRED