Memetic Genes from the Paperwork Empire: Finding Meme Formats in Xeroxlore

Marisa Wieneke (Indiana University)

Examining the xeroxlore collections of Alan Dundes and Carl Pagter I have found examples of xeroxlore that have the same format as memes that now circulate fifty years later. I illustrate this by comparing examples of xeroxlore with modern memes broadly and particularly through a case study of the meme format “What People Think I Do/What I Really Do.” I argue that the recognizability of the format and the overlapping social functions point to this type of office humor as a historical predecessor of present memes and this continuity provides insight into traditional ideas at the core of a meme.

Part of 03-04 Memes, Humor, and Identity [hybrid], Thursday, October 13, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm