Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Following the Trend

The other day, my son and I were talking  about memes.  (Yes, the poor child seems to have a geek for a mom.)  We were talking about some of the  those various  words, "catch phrases", videos, posters...all manner of things that made their way into our collective consciousness.  Some of them have been more resilient than others and have actually become somewhat iconic.

What is it about certain phrases or ideas that plant themselves into our collective brain and cause us to want  to share and repeat them over and over?  Now that we have the ability via the Internet to spread our "cleverness" to the masses in just a matter of seconds it seems that each day brings a new "catch phrase" or some idea that everyone feels the need to hitch our reins to and ride that trend...until the next trendy idea comes along.  At which time will will quickly dismount and get on the new trend.

Definition according to the Urban Dictionary...gotta love the phrase "virus of the mind/"

It kind of makes me wonder how ideas spread so effectively prior to the Internet. How did the word "groovy" ever get in widespread use?   Were the words and images in the 1960's transferred by the media, by the music,  or by  advertisers?  Frankly, I don't remember how we all came to talk about "how cool and groovy" or "out of sight" things were....although I do remember thinking my brain would explode if one more person used the phrase "out of sight".

Thought Number One:  Conscious Uncoupling

Last week we have another new "catch phrase" in our lexicon and we can all thank Gwyneth Paltrow for getting the message out for us.  While Gwyneth, didn't come up with this bubble of brilliance, she posted it on her website, Goop, in a statement that her and her husband Chris Martin were separating...oh excuse me...they are Consciously Uncoupling.

The idea came from one of her frequent website contributors Dr. Habib Sadeghi and his wife Dr. Sherry Sami.   They have a lot to say on the subject.

A conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument [within a marriage] was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing, "From this perspective, there are no bad guys, just two people," they say, expanding on the blame-free, "it's about people as individuals, not just the relationship" theory.

OK...some of that sound legit...no finger pointing, no blaming (unless, of course someone is to blame).

"Life is a spiritual exercise in evolving from an exoskeleton for support and survival to an endoskeleton. Think about it."

Oh, oh...now they have lost me!

"There's a scientific theory by Russian esotericist, Peter Ouspensky, that the creation of insects was a failed attempt by nature to evolve a higher form of consciousness.

How did insects get into this? I think we have crossed the line from new-agey to total bull****.

"Conscious uncoupling brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher...If we can allow ourselves this gift, our exoskeleton of protection and imprisonment  will fall away and offer us the opportunity to begin constructing an endoskeleton, an internal cathedral, with spiritual trace minerals like self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness. "The misunderstandings involved in divorce also have much to do with the lack of intercourse between our own internal masculine and feminine energies.

 Maybe we should worry less about our internal energies having intercourse and worry more about who is having real intercourse and with whom.

Thought Number Two: Here comes the bandwagon.

I have been thinking a lot this week about why we ( I am including myself here) follow trends.  The "conscious uncoupling" will not be one of the trends I intend to participate in.  I am just not all that "new age-y" and still am pretty secure  in my belief that long term relationships can last a lifetime. 

 I, however, am not immune to following trends and often find it troubling to be one of the lemmings. This became especially true this week as I went to the "big company who shall remain nameless" to get the next generation of my iPhone.  (OK you iPhone haters...mock and berate me..but let's stop short of calling me an i-hole)

After installing the latest update on my  4S to the OIS 7 operating system.... it went "funky"  That is a technical term for "not working worth a damn."  So hubby and I both went to the cellular store thinking we would qualify for a discounted iPhone 5s because we were out of our contract period.   NOPE..there are no longer upgrades.  You buy your plan by the amount of media you need then you pay a fee to use a phone on that plan.  Oh..and if you want a phone you pay retail but they add it in  monthly installments to your bill. According to them, they are doing you a big favor. 

When I suggested that there wasn't a chance in hell that I would pop for $40.00 a month for 18 months to get a cell phone he gave me a number of reasons why "everyone else" thinks this is a really slick idea. At which point, my cynical side wanted to jump out of my skin and beat the man about the head...instead I went to plan B. 

Plan B is "Big Box wholesale club store.  Yes, I went elsewhere and bought the phone outright and had it activated to my "big cellular company" account.

I was thinking that I had averted a monetary crisis until I got my bill from the "big cellular company that shall remain nameless".  Turns out they didn't charge me the $40.00 per month for the next 18 months but the bill was chock full of  other surprises... all with $$$$ attached.  The phrase "one time charge" might not have had  the pacifying effect that the company hopes that phrase imparts.  GGGRRR

While I may participate in herd mentality and often follow trends...I do recognize this in itself is part of the meme  of  "This is a First World Problem". 

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Wendy said...

As one geek to another (geek,f why geek?) I am totally with you, man ( wait, why man? at the end of this phrase). Oh boy, I could have so much fun doing this because I am a literary 'geek'. My son and I also discuss such topics ( hey, he even introduced it). We both read a book called Virus of the Mind: The new Science of the Meme, which is a light read on the science of memetics. I bought it. Tells you what kind of geek I really am. Having had five boys spread far apart in ages, I had to adjust to current phrase memes. Like "it's totally nar-a-lly dude." Or, say a sentence, and then put the word NOT at the end. Hum, that was 1991, I guess. I think, people want to be part of the 'in' group, or, as you so cleverly show, like sheep, even if the phrase makes little (non)sense, if people are saying it and you aren't , well then, you just are not groovy- just try to use that one today! Hum, I wonder how many of these catchy phrase memes are positive? Well, Nike- just do it. That is positive. Do they positively affect action, or only enter the vernacular?

Before leaving the meme thought, may I point out an irony at the end of your post:
Be #1 on BlogDumps!
The purpose of this Meme is to encourage Networking between bloggers and to have fun while doing it!

Cell phone situation, I won't even get in to. I have a 4S as well but did NOT upgrade. When I went to help a friend buy one, I lived through that speech, which they say with a 'selling snake oil' smile. She went home empty handed. I went home...well...like you. Aggravated.
Oh, and Cheryl, I so hope you keep that white booted Crabby Pants for future posts on aging well- it is like, totally radical, dude, ah...girl! LOVE IT!

AletaObrien said...

"meme" -- just reading the word makes me want to scratch my eyes out! Seriously, things like this annoy the daylights out of me. And sadly, I'm guilty of it just as well. Only, I might skip on using the word.

I still use 80's terminology from time to time and have to slap myself before someone else does it for me. :)

Chubby Chatterbox said...

I don't make enough calls or receive enough calls to warrant buying a cell phone.

Cheryl P. said...

No joke? There is a book named Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme? Is it scary that I think that would be interesting to read? Clearly, I am not the person to judge your level of geekyness.
I think it is pretty interesting how our language, complete with an ever changing vernacular has become so time sensitive. I would say "here today, gone tomorrow but actually it is HEAR today, gone tomorrow. Next week there will be some other word that makes the "now trending" list.

I had forgotten (maybe by design) the word "narly" (how does one spell narly?...just looked it up...it's gnarly) Your point is spot on...even in the span of your children the pop culture phrases changed a number of times.

I would be curious if other parts of the world have the rapidly changing expressions, catch phrases, "new words...the constant morphing and changing of how we speak. Judging from your comment it sounds like Canada has the same use of pop culture words as the U.S.

That is funny about your observation that I am participating in a meme while talking about memes. I hadn't even thought of that.

As far as my 4S went..I held off updating it to the IOS 7 because a lot of the phones had glitches after the update. Some phones did better than others. I finally updated it because some of my apps required it.

I will say while getting a new iphone 5S has been a PITA...I do like the phone. Lighter, faster...an improvement over the 4S. I was very surprised though, to find that how plans are sold is completely different than 2 years ago. I check with the other major cellular companies and they too have change the "rules". Switching carriers would serve no purpose. I considered it though...the salesperson at my carrier's store truly was a "snake oil" type of salesperson.

While Crabby is wearing a somewhat "hippy-ish outfit...Cheryl P. wore more jumpers and more conservative clothes, even in the 60s. Funny...I have spent the last 20 minutes or so trying to find a picture of typical school girl clothes of that era and there is hardly anything on the Internet other than Simplicity patterns . It's not that I didn't ever where bright gaudy clothing but I was pretty conservative.

oldereyes said...

Gwyneth, Gwyneth, Gwyneth ... you are a fine actress, but seriously, Conscious Uncoupling? Bud's Law: discount anything said by a celebrity ... or one of their hangers-on ... if it's not said on the stage or screen. What a lot of hooey. Love your comment about "our internal energies having intercourse." I wonder if the process produces little internal energies. By the way, if you want to read a fascinating book on how things go viral, take a look at Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point." Perhaps, like I, you're geeky enough to enjoy it.

As much as I've railed against the Apple "Dark Side" I am aware that quality was a mark of their products ... I just didn't care for the way they do business. It does seem that since Mr. Jobs passed away, they've slipped some. However, we Android users have been dealing like funky operating systems and apps for years so we're probably not all that sympathetic. AT&T hasn't tried to force me to the monthly plan but they've tried to convince me it's a great way to go so I can upgrade my phone whenever I want. But usually, I don't want. Samsung makes too many subtle changes between versions and I don't care to spend the time adapting. It's very similar to the way Microsoft is trying to force people to the subscription version of Office. I was lucky to have an unused Office 2010 on my Amazon account or I'd have had to got to one of the Office 2013 versions. Just as with evolution, not every upgrade makes things better.

Cheryl P. said...

I feel your pain. While just lately it seems there have been several articles and discussions about memes....it's not a word that comes into conversation a lot.

I had to Google what the slang words were for the 80's. You would think I would know as my kids were of that era but short of the skate board lingo and the whole Vally Girl debacle...I couldn't actually think of what was the more mainstream pop culture kind of words.

Now words and phrases are changing so fast, I won't remember two weeks from now what was popular.

Cheryl P. said...

I think that might be a blessing. We do have a hard line, phone in our house, but our friends and family wouldn't typically use that phone. If my house phone rings and I ignore it, but then my cell phone rings, I know it is someone that really KNOWS me. Our kids tend to text us as much as call us so my cell phone does double duty.

Cheryl P. said...

I think that Bud's Law makes very good sense. I have read the Tipping Point and did enjoy it....so I am definitely that geeky.

I was a tad irritated listening to the spin the Dr.s were spewing about how marriage can't be considered viable for a lifetime anymore because we are living so long... according to them, it isn't realistic. They went on to say: historically monogamy made sense way back when peopled died in their 30s or 40s. I would say, I am good for the long haul even if I live to be 100. It irritates me with people start talking as if marriage should be viewed as a temporary thing."

My carrier is AT&T and I went in there thinking that I would get the 5 S for some nice discounted price around $199. Not so...I had to choose a plan according to GB usage and if I wanted a phone I would have to pay in installments over either 24 months or 18 months...either way it turns into over $600 so I went over to Sams Club and bought 2 new 5S and had Sam's activate them. Still...there were more than a few new fees for switching plans and switching phones.

As for Apple, vs Windows or Android...honestly, I would adapt to any of them. Everything I have heard about the Samsung Galaxy phones sound good (that's what you have right?) The reason I stay with Apple products is I know how to use them and I have all my Itunes set up in the "cloud" to auto sync to my iPad and my iPhone. It just seems bothersome to start something new.

I bought up several of the Office 2010 when one of the office chain stores went out of business so, I am good for now...but I am not going to be happy if I have to subscribe to something to get Office.

lisleman said...

"virus of the mind" - that's a good one. Now I just noticed in the comments there is a book with that in the title. Could the term be extended to having a "viral mind"?
Meme following and celebrity following go together. Since I hate celebrity following, I probably miss many a meme (say that fast with marbles on your mind). The best thing possible outcome from conscious uncoupling is to bury twerking deeper below everyone's conscious.

Warning I'm going to plug my recent post. One reason is because it is also about trends. Trends and comparisons of men's styles. Actually just one.

I believe the latest macro trend in addition to using the word macro more, is the trend of watching trends. Trends are trending. Google and other sites make news with their trend reports. I don't recall that much attention by this many people to trends back in my trendy days.

The big V store (I was part of the big V corporation at one time) is very different than just a few years ago. Last summer I found much better service and offering at Best Buy for the big V service. I don't get it.

Jo-Anne said...

Ok thanks for explaining to me what meme is heard the word seen the word never really got what it meant till now

Cheryl P. said...

I, too, think that is a good phrase "virus of the mind". I had never heard it before and then twice connected with the same post. As for celebrities..I try not to follow them. They tend to let me down by doing or saying something really stupid. As for memes some of the Internet viral "stuff" is quite entertaining but there is just so much of it that it wouldn't seem possible that much of it will really become iconic. Here today, gone tomorrow.

I am going to spend time tomorrow getting caught up reading posts. I am behind on just about everyone's. I am eager to see what your post about trends says.

As far as your comment about the V store...I don't get it either. Same deal with the A store. Why is the 5 S cheaper at a retailer that isn't in the cellphone biz? Should the A store offer the best deals connected with your account holders. I would take my business elsewhere but after checking the different companies they all had pros and cons.

Cheryl P. said...

I think the use of the word meme is confusing though. On blogs it is usually a topic that multiple blogs all blog about but on the Internet in general it can be a poster like Grumpy Cat with various captions...or it could be a series of contributors that weigh in on the same subject. I guess any time something is repeated and shared over and over it would be considered a meme.

Lady Jewels Diva said...

I don't think I really knew what a meme technically was until this year and as for how words got around before the internet, there were magazines and tv shows.

Thinking back to the days of the Brady Bunch they used groovy. So kids either raided dictionaries for words, or they read a new word in a teen music magazine or heard it on The Monkees, The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family.

Now there is the internet to add to the momentum of new words and phrases. Such as Gen Y's contribution of "totes amazeballs", something they should all be punched in the head for.

One uses a word or phrase, it gets picked up by another and you have the domino effect. You just used i-hole so there you go.

As for the iPhone I have a 4s too and I've got my notification to update which I should have done yesterday but might leave until the weekend as I also have the iPad 2 and iPod touch from two years ago to update. I hope I don't have the same issues as now that the new one is coming I think they'll dump the 4 and 4s next. They'll go by the wayside like the 3 and 3g or whatever they were called.

Pickleope said...

Conscious Uncoupling is an obnoxious phrase that sounds like something someone who doesn't grasp what the word "theory" means...after reading further, turns out my hypothesis is correct.
Did you try Plan C, a refurbished iPhone?

Cheryl P. said...

You are right, that prior to the Internet we still had the media and marketers to keep us informed about trends and all the things we must buy, do, say or wear. It just had to of taken more than the nano-second that it takes today.

The Brady Bunch and Partridge Family not only got their fashion advice from the teeny-bopper magazines but then passed all their fashion sense to the rest of us that watched their shows. I am sure I was among the kids that thought Marsha's outfit was so cute....or groovy as the case may be.

I about choked with laughter (tinged with disgust actually seeing those words) at your comment about "totes amazeballs." That is the most bizarre slang on the planet. I can't believe that more than one person ever would use it...you would think that the first person that ever heard it said would of called the "sayer" a dumb ass.

I held off for awhile before updating my 4S to IOS 7 but I was due for a new phone anyway. I really like the 5S. I too, have a Ipad2 and Ipod which keeps me linked to the Apple products instead of converting to Android or Windows. The thought of starting a whole new system is daunting.

Cheryl P. said...

The doctors whole spiel about marriage is chocked full of vague and incomprehensible jargon....but still they manage to have people that buy into their bull****. I swear there are buyers for anything ...and I mean ANYTHING... someone is trying to sell.

While I wasn't keen on paying $600 or $700 on the new 5S...I would of even considered that if there wasn't the forced installment plan. I don't like having an extra $80 bucks on my bill for 18 months. (2 phones) especially given that you can go to the wholesale clubs and buy them outright for around $120 dollars. I honestly didn't consider refurbished,,,because I have always had my upgrade price in play. Hadn't anticipated the change.

L.C. Griffith said...

Hey Cheryl! I'm still confused about memes. Growing up, I called my grandmother, meme—which is French for grandmother, so when people began talking about memes it took me a while to realize that they were those trendy little photos with sayings on them that everyone posts on facebook. I've been creating a few of my own (see below). BTW, are you on facebook?

I can't keep up with technology, speaking of which, I too went to my giant cell phone company to upgrade my phone this weekend. I was able to get a free iphone by signing a two year contract. It seems my phone company is still old school. Anyway, I'm glad you outsmarted those greed buckets. I get so annoyed by the way everyone is trying to put their hands in our pockets trying to separate us from our hard earned cash. My list of pet peeves is growing daily;)

Cheryl P. said...

I am curious about the pronunciation of meme as it applies to grandmother. Is it meem or mem?

Yes, I am on FB and I would be happy to send you my personal info. Just email me if you want to connect on our FB page as the "real" us. I also have a FB page for my blog as well....the link is in the right sidebar.

That's interesting about your company still having annual contracts. Here in KC, neither Verizon or At&T offer them which lends itself to not giving out deals on phones. They don't need to entice people to commit to two years without a huge penalty.

You said it EXACTLY right...everyone is swooping in like vultures to pick our bones dry or at least pick our pickets.

My list of pet peeves is growing by leaps and bounds as well. I try my best to be upbeat then someone comes by and beats the hell out of my upbeat.

BTW..the best part of FB is the quotes. Did you create the one you attached. Very nice.

L.C. Griffith said...

Cheryl, I pronounce it mem, memay is how it sounds.
I sent you my email addy and am waiting for you to send me a FB friend request. We've been talking for years. I can't believe it took us this long to exchange info. Anyway, I'm really psyched about it.
I created the quote on the meme. I love creating memes...they are artistic and literary. I waste far too much time on them though;)

chicken said...

Ha. I am one of those people who really liked the idea of no contract and payments spread out. So much so, that I also added an i-pad to our plan. Now my monthly bill is roughly the same as our mortgage. #winning

Riot Kitty said...

So beating the guy about the head was plan A? Good instinct! I told you, we've got DNA in common somewhere.

As for Gwyneth - I am so SICK of seeing headlines about that vapid twit. I don't see how anyone could face coupling with her in the first place, unless she became mute.

Cheryl P. said...

I searched FB and it went to your page that has the Cosette's Tribe banner...it let's me like your page but not send out a actual friend request. I think the graphic/quote is quite pretty. Time well spent.

Cheryl P. said...

Haha...The man at the cell phone store told me that EVERYONE liked the idea of paying their company over time for their overpriced gadgets...so there you go. I am the sole cheapo. AND even without buying the phone from them and just activating phones that I bought outright elsewhere...by the time they added activation fees, upgrade fees and fees for the sake of fees...my bill is more than any car payment I have EVER had. #thereisnowinning

Cheryl P. said...

You are so perceptive my friend. Yes, beating the stuffins out of the cellphone salesperson was definitely part of my plan A. The only thing that keeps me from acting out on things like that is the fact that jail wouldn't become me. Specifiically the bathroom facilities are not of my liking.
I had managed to totally ingnore her very existence up until this "conscious uncoupling" came into play. Then I started reading about all of her other theories including how she has it rougher than other moms because of her demanding lifestyle...gag, puke...
Vapid doesn't even touch what this chick is. I guess she can conveniently ignore the fact she has wealth that offers her opportunities for help that a lot of moms can't even imagine.

Lady Jewels Diva said...

lol, I only bought my phone brand new last year and I bought the 4S because the 5 had just come out and people weren't sure what sort of issues there would be so I went for the best art the time, so I don't need to update for a while.

Jayne said...

"Out of sight..." Wow. Far out. ;) I'm such a rebel (cheapy) that I still have my Nokia flip phone circa 2005. Yes, I march to my own drummer. :)

Cheryl P. said...

Was there a time that we really talked like that? No worse than today's fave words that would of been off limits back then. (and you know the one I mean)

None of my phone have lasted over about 3 years. They usually fail me around the time a new contract was due. Now that contracts have been done away with and the carriers are charging full price, phones will probably die in about 6 months....then we will be forced to buy another really expensive phone that will die a quick death.

abeerfortheshower said...

Oooh, does somebody have T-Mobile? About a month ago we were thinking about switching over to them and getting new phones, only to find out that you can't outright buy a phone anymore. You can only pay $30-40 per month and "lease" it per month. The girl that was trying to sell us on this was probably giving the same spiel that that guy was giving you about why it's such a 'slick deal', saying, "Yeah, it's only $35 per month so it's not really much more than you're paying now. I mean, $35 a month is practically about a dollar a day!"

To which I said, "Right, so you want to play the 'I can do math' game. Let's do this. $35 per month for 18 months is $630 total. On what planet is $630 'cheap' for a phone?" She immediately lost her chipper attitude and could only shrug and say, "Well, uh, they're just all like that. Sorry. Nothing I can do."

Congratulations T-Mobile, you effectively created a cellphone purchasing plan to rip off stupid people who don't understand basic math. I almost applaud that ingenious level of evil.

I should mention, btw, that the only reason we were looking to exchange phones is the exact reason you had. Because we downloaded iOS 7 on our 4S's and... it runs like absolute dog crap. It's like Apple's not even trying anymore. Everything's slow. And crashes. Sometimes my phone will put itself into Do Not Disturb mode for no reason and without telling me. My keyboard locks up sometimes while typing. It's practically unusable.

So, since I'm in the exact same boat as you, would you mind if I asked what phone you ended up getting and how much you ended up paying at the big box wholesale club store? (We have a Costco membership, mind you)

I really am desperate to unload this awful, barely functioning phone, but I'm also not gonna spend $1260 for both of us to do that... (Who knew basic math skills would ever pay off this late in life, amirite?)

LL COOL JOE said...

Gwyneth is such a drip.

Well this is such a groovy post. Okay that is the first time I've ever written or said the word groovy. Did people ever really say it?

Cheryl P. said...

OMG...we are living the same technically screwed up life.

I am with AT&T but considered going over to Verizon...sadly both of those companies (at least here in KC) are doing the installment buy so there was no advantage for me to jump ship. The plans were very similar in price and there were gives and takes on the coverage areas that we need. (as hubby travels International, I have to weigh the International rates) Verizon sucks as far as I am concerned on anything in Europe.

At least your salesperson had the dignity to back down when you mentioned the $630 dollar phone. Our guy spun it as I wouldn't find a 5S anywhere for under $750 and he was doing me a favor. At AT&T I think the cost was $40 a month for 18 months...but I might be wrong. I threw an embolism about the time he said that. I might of blacked out.

I ended up over at Sam's Club only because it is just down the street. I also have a Costco membership and like that they stand behind everything so well so I really should of taken the time to check over there for the sake of comparison. . Surely they are as cheap if not cheaper. In the heat of the moment, I was prepared to buy a phone outright from anyone other than AT&T.

At Sam's I bought two iPhone 5 S for $118 each. (My husband's phone after the upgrade to iOS7 was even worse than mine.) They had a good assortment of phones including the Samsung line of Galaxy phones. Those also were around the same price. ( a couple a little cheaper) Frankly, I just didn't want to learn a whole new system and deal with converting my music off of Itunes....not even sure if that is necessary but again...didn't want to have to figure it out.

I thoroughly agree that there is no way in hell, that I would spend $1260 or more for two phones. While I am not even all that excited about the $236. I will say the the iphone 5 s is really fast. I am pretty pleased with it. There are some differences to learn but overall, I am liking it a lot.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree with your assessment on Gwyneth.

You are very wise to have avoided typing or using the word "groovy" up to this point. I don't remember specifically using the word "groovy" in the 60s or 70s but no doubt I did. As an era goes, we seemingly had no shame. Otherwise how could there be an explanation for the styles of that time.

LL COOL JOE said...

I was thinking about the 70's recently, and it seems to be the only era that remains horribly dated and naff. :D

Cheryl P. said...

Perhaps most of the 1960s as well. Prior to that when you see photos of people the clothing may be out of style but not ugly...more classic looking. But in the 1960 and 1970s they take on a clownish, bizarre looking style. How could a whole generation lose their minds and fashion sense at the same time?

Linda R. said...

On thought #2, I guess I am behind the tech times here. I've had my phone for 2 years and felt like I got a good deal. On an outright purchase I got a $50 rebate plus $50 off for turning in my old phone. Then I got 4 GB of data for the price of 2. Guess I'd better hope it keeps on working.