Valhallolz: Medievalist humor on the Internet
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The Internet provides social conditions that allow medievalist ideas to continue to evolve in the twenty-first century. It is fertile ground for medievalist humor, and a significant proportion of that humor comes in the form of memes. Memes were first described in 1976 by Richard Dawkins as ‘units of cultural transmission.’ They are analogous to genes, replicating and mutating in response to the culture that hosts them, and passed on socially, rather than biologically. The Internet provides a ready social network and an accessible set of technological tools for memes to flourish. This essay explores the ways in which Internet memes foreground the social relations that structure medievalist humor.
I would like to offer particular thanks to my University of Queensland colleagues Sean Rintel and Fiona Nicoll, who provided invaluable feedback on the draft of this article.
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