Exploring the "slender man" and other digital memes with the historic spread of religion.
MY BROTHER ERIC HAS GONE MISSING. WE WILL HAVE TO SUSPEND THIS PROJECT FOR THE TIME BEING, I AM NOT SURE HOW LONG. SHOULD ANY DONORS WISH TO HAVE ANY FUNDS RETURNED, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME. THANK YOU.
Slender Men: A Documentary will explore the parallel between historical worship of messiahs and the devotion to the Internet and her memes, while shedding light on the web's ability to engage a growingly cynical and disinterested population that finds comfort in "online" invention. In tone, Slender Men will echo documentaries like Religulous, Bigger Stronger Faster, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, keeping the spirit fairly light while examining societal themes and issues that affect us all in a big way.
Your contributions will help me and my sister fund the execution and marketing of this project!
We're all connected. I write this not necessarily in a spiritual sense, but in the virtual. If you're reading this description, for example, you've linked yourself with potentially thousands of others who share the experience of viewing this project. In our age of the ever-present internet, connection is as easy as ever, and this makes for the incredibly rapid spread of information and ideas in a way that's historically unprecedented. For the first time in human existence, an idea (or YouTube video of a cuddly kitten) actually has a chance at spreading globally before being disseminated regionally. That's pretty amazing.
The term meme was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (in his book The Selfish Gene) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches. With the inception and evolution of the Internet then emerged the internet meme: a concept or idea that takes form in a phrase (even in the misspelling of one), image, photograph, video, hyperlink, hashtag or other web-based modalities that spreads via e-mail, social networking, blogs and so on. An internet meme may stay the same or evolve over time, through chance, commentary or parody as it communicates across an online population.
Though most internet memes are generally humorous in nature and comment on the absurdity of a given image, photograph, news story or sound bite, some draw off urban legends and ghost stories. Case in point, Slender Man (a.ka. Slenderman), a mythical creature often depicted as a tall, thin figure with a blank face and wearing a black suit. According to his legend, Slender Man can stretch or shorten his arms at will and sometimes has tentacle-like appendages. He can cause memory loss, insomnia, paranoia, sickness, photographic/video distortions and can teleport at will. Since the "debut" of Slender Man on the web in 2009, there have been countless additions and variations to his mythos, but I don't think folks necessarily realize that his origins can be traced to far before the Internet existed.
In ancient Egypt, a slender, falcon-headed deity named Horus was worshipped as the god of the sun. In India, the lord Vishnu is often depicted as a slender being with four, one could say tentacle-like, arms. Jesus, the slender messiah, fed his masses with just a few loaves of bread and two fish, thus through his miracle connecting a population who then spread his message across the land to prompt a new religion. Whether founded or not, word quickly spread of a remarkable human who among other magical feats could turn water into wine and channel God Himself. Throughout history, idols with similar qualities have garnered the religious reverence of masses, and though today's Slender Man is hardly a messiah, his inception and spread amongst online denizens suggests at least a continuation, or adaptation, of worship into the digital age. In other words, Slender Man could be seen as an evolution of one of mankind's oldest memes: religion.
In Matthew 14:18, a slender man once said, "Bring them here to me," feeding a mass of people and propelling generations to follow him. If the Internet could speak, maybe it would say the same thing.
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