Were people always this unoriginal?

Or is it a result of blogging? It seems like nowadays some little idea, phrase, comparison, or shred of information can go from nowhere to everywhere so fast, I wonder if this is an indication that people nowadays are somehow more unoriginal than their predecessors or if it is just easier to get access to stickier ideas faster.
The thing that brought this up in my mind is the new Avril Lavigne song ‘girlfriend’, which I like (although the way she overenunciates her t’s grates and the line “She’s like so whatever” so oversteps the line of self-parody that I am forced to either be jolted out of the song or accept it as some sort of pop-ironic post-modernism-ism). The meme that got me thinking is the one that goes “Avril Lavigne’s new song ‘girlfriend’ bears [endless] comparison to Toni Basil’s song ‘Mickey’.” I have seen countless repetitive professional (i.e. for profit) media outlets echo this simplistic idea with phrases like “If she think’s she can fill out Toni Basil’s cheerleader sweater she’s dead wrong” and “I like Toni Basil’s song ‘Mickey’ better than Avril Lavigne’s new song ‘girlfriend'” and “If Toni Basil could’ve used the word ‘motherfucker’ in her pop song for twelve year olds, it would have been as good as Avril’s new hit.”
I think it is likely that people were always this parroty, and that the internet of today is to memes what toilet seats, doorknobs, and children’s hands are to bacteria. That means that really sticky memes are going to be able to infest people’s minds faster than ever, which means that people are going to become more and more ephemeral.

I sought out, watched, and embedded this clip, despite having earlier sworn to myself that I never would, in order to illustrate my point that the things that spread most readily on the internet are not necessarily the most noteworthy things on the internet. But you likely already knew that.

It is estimated that 70% of a person’s leisure time is spent consuming and spreading ideas that exist for nobody’s benefit but their own and don’t add any new or helpful information to anyone’s life. Stay tuned to Paint Roller, and together we can pull that number down to 69.999%

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~ by Joe on July 8, 2007.

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