Memetracing: Doctorow on a Balloon

What is it with Cory Doctorow and hot-air balloons? Humorous references appear to be popping up in the strangest places – last in Bruce Schneier and the King of the Crabs (which I discovered through Schneier's own blog).

But just what do these references actually reference? I find them mildly funny because they evoke memories of the Xkcd episode "Blogofaire", as well as the small print in "Online Communities".

On the other hand, I don't get out much. For all I know, Doctorow might be famous for being an avid balloon pilot in addition to a writer, and that's what everybody are alluding to. On the other-other hand, I cannot seem to google up any non-humorous Doctorow/balloon juxtapositions.

So perhaps it is all an in-joke referencing the xkcd strips, or perhaps xkcd was itself referencing some ur-joke known to only a few initiates (or, alternatively, to everybody but me). Impossible to know, really – when an Internet meme reaches a certain critical mass, half of those who pass it on have no idea what it refers to, anyway. Close to nobody ever played Zero Wing, but that does not prevent the all your X are belong to us snowclone from being productive.


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