In a carefully contrived series of experiments, Dr. Richard noted that when left alone in grocery stores, little children helped themselves to all sorts of food, from chips to fruit, and showed no concern about the fact that their behavior was quite rude, obnoxious, and even illegal. He then cleverly deduced that children not only have an inborn tendency to eat, but an equally inborn tendency to be rude, and to act like insensitive little brats. The genetic tendency to be rude probably arose from our early ancestors, who could obtain life supporting nutrients faster if they snatched if from their parents, stole it from another’s nest, or jumped ahead of the line. This conclusion met with great controversy from other Lagado academics, who disputed the claim that we have an inborn tendency to be rude. Indeed, several critics noted that rudeness could not have been genetically favored in our ancestors, since rude behavior can only provide a series of quick snacks at best, which is hardly enough to secure the propagation of one’s hungry genes.
Nonetheless, Richard knew he was on to something by his postulation of genetic puppet masters, since it explained lots of things without a wasteful recourse to unnecessary thinking. Indeed, he figured that the genetic metaphor can be extended to just about anything that involves some sort of selection, from marriage partners to shoes. Take ideas for instance. We often select different ideas by figuring out their value to us. Good ideas crowd out the bad, and can spread like crazy given enough marketing buzz. If we just think about ideas as little viral entities that can spread like cold germs and infest our minds like some mind altering plague, these ‘memes’ provide a whole new way for us to shift responsibility without shifting the way we think. Thus, when you are confronted with some new or imagined fault, just say it’s not my fault, just blame those bad ideas.
Empowered by his insight, in his following great work, ‘The Copyrighted Phenotype’, Richard expanded the Darwinian metaphor from everything from architecture to shopping. Thus the patterns and shapes of lumber that you see at your hardware store are selected because they have fittedness, pants are selected because they must have a tight fit, an adolescents can hardly wait to select each other (particularly if they are looking fit) and pass on their genes and memes. Thus, along with meme and genes, we have selfish beams, blue genes, and teens as new and exciting genetic metaphors that can be used to further our academic knowledge and dementia.