Contemporary Folklore on the Internet
An examination of the fireworks and folderol that erupt when folklore and current events collide
Newslore is folklore that comments on and hinges on knowledge of current events. These expressions come in many forms: jokes; urban legends; digitally altered photographs; mock news stories; press releases or interoffice memoranda; parodies of songs, poems, and political and commercial advertisements; movie previews and posters; still or animated cartoons; and short live-action films.
In Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet author Russell Frank offers a snapshot of the items of newslore disseminated via the Internet that gained the widest currency around the turn of the millennium. Among the newsmakers lampooned in e-mails and on the Web were Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and such media celebrities as Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. The book also looks at the folk response to the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.
Frank analyzes this material by tracing each item back to the news story it refers to in search of clues as to what, exactly, the item reveals about the public's response. His argument throughout is that newslore is an extremely useful and revelatory gauge for public reaction to current events and an invaluable screen capture of the latest zeitgeist.
"Ever the good reporter, Russell Frank has the scoop on all those posts that erupt everywhere about the latest concerns--politicians, disasters, and the cost of living. He reveals the posts as the crucial cultural contents of our in-boxes. He shows them to be lore at the heart of our contemporary culture and at the core of our psyches. With the sharp lens of the folklorist, he focuses on the meaning this material has to offer us in today's society and assuredly makes us look before we leap to the send button. His narrative is literally ripped from the headlines of the day and gives us the story behind the story. "
--Simon J. Bronner, Distinguished University Professor of American Studies and Folklore, Penn State Harrisburg, and editor of Encyclopedia of American Folklife- UPM