How Star Trek: The Next Generation Predicted Meme Culture

This article from the Twin Cities Geek website discusses one of the most popular episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and how it was the forerunner of today’s meme culture. Darmok, season 5 episode 2 of TNG, aired on September 30, 1991.

Last month, I was in Chicago for the American Copy Editors Society conference, where I attended (among many other great talks) a session on conlangs led by Sea Chapman. Unsurprisingly, “Darmok” came up during the presentation—so unsurprisingly, in fact, that Chapman had a prize ready to hand out to the first audience member to mention it.

As usual, Star Trek was ahead of its time. The Internet was still in its infancy, but Joe Menosky rewrote Philip LaZebnik’s script, inventing a clearly recognizable language of what we call memes today. And as we know, Star Trek memes are the best memes.