These days, an hour doesn’t go past before one is confronted with a four-letter word that seems to have overtaken normal discourse – face to face, or in writing! What is it and why does it exist?
We’re all familiar with other quadriliteral words like memo and mime, but who would have thought that two nuclear-savvy countries in the subcontinent would have resorted to a menacing meme – yes! – as a vehicle to hurl polemical invectives and much more at each other in the opening days of June?
Who are they, but those old adversaries Pakistan and India.
Let me explain. It all started – believe it or not – with pigeons, not the clay type but those of real flesh-and-blood. From an innocent incident near the two nations’ border, it blossomed into a full-blown attack , not military, but more in the mode of a James Bond-like character doing undercover sleuthing.
He is certainly depicted in the press as the real McCoy, except of course for his avian, albeit sinister, demeanor and hardware to boot. Without ado, I’m displaying further below shots taken of the hotshots touted in the media, much to the hilarity of the two countries’ urban, iPhone-toting populace, as evidenced by the sizzling social media activity on the Internet by addicts on both sides of the border who can’t get enough of the crazy – some might say, manic – goings-on.
Judge for yourself, as the idiocy unfolds ‘meme-ographically’ for what it really is. Yep, it’s all beautifully captured in the cunning, tongue-in-cheek Twittering craft of Ayar Ahmed, the Pakistan Defence, and Mishkaat Umair respectively. First up is a memorable picture of the Hero Pigeon – no kidding! – before leaving on a mission inside India: Next, is the Pakistani version of you know whom, except for his you know what. But, unheard of – or unseen – in any of the real Bond’s innumerable escapades, our Hero here was entrapped by an exotic Indian female in feathers – not draped in a feathery boa. And finally, the full-blown passing out parade of the ‘Pegion Squadron’ out to outwit any incursion by, or interference from, a “foreign hand!” [Excuse the misspelling – after all, our racing fraternity in Kentucky insist on ‘Pharoah’ for the name of its favorite horse to win the Triple Crown at Belmont this Saturday, June the 6th, rather than ‘Pharaoh’ as in the other 49 states of the Union and the rest of the world. And no retort of “horse feathers!” p-ul-ee-ze.] ‘Tis a pity that, by hindsight, all those brave messenger pigeons of yore in WWI and WWII hadn’t, to the best of my knowledge, had the on-the-ground training that a century later the smart-looking ‘pegions’ of today now seem to receive in their special squadrons run presumably by the secretive RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) organization.
One thing I can’t discern is whether the greys (blue rock) are preferred to the greens in the selection process: the former are widely distributed in Europe, Asia and North Africa and would be the species of bird used in the two World Wars; the latter, because of its ubiquity in the subcontinent and its color might be the Pakistani bird of choice, but it’s clear from Hero above that the greys have it – at least among those sent out to flight the good flight on foreign soil!
Afterword: For the uninitiated – and I was one of ’em until I turned to online sources – here is a brief explanation of that pesky four-letter word everyone is using heedlessly and, I dare say, needlessly: A meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme.
Get it? In that case, one should be entitled to call a meme espouser a memic and the art thereof as memicry. Any other artful or even not-so-artful down-to-earth forms using the mem- root would be welcomed by me in the comment section at bottom.
Copyright © 2015 Azim Lewis Mayadas