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When the photocopier became readily available in offices in the 1960s, people seized on the new medium for their own unofficial purposes and a new folklore genre was born. Photocopylore exploits the machinery to create multiple copies of items, which are then circulated from person to person. Much of the content of photocopylore is traditional, including jokes and cartoons, while other pieces are new, such as spoof memos, and satirical comments on office procedures. As the item gets repeatedly copied, and gradually fades, somebody redraws or retypes it, and slightly different versions are created, in the same way as oral tradition creates subtly different versions. Many of the items circulated are bawdy, or downright obscene, while others perpetuate racist and sexist stereotypes, and the ease and privacy of the copying process are ideal for this sort of material. The use of headed notepaper adds a spurious authority.

Also called ‘Xerox-lore’.

Smith, 1984;Dundes and Pagter, 1975;Dundes and Pagter, 1991.

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