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The JokerA Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime$
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Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462388

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462388.001.0001

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Never Give ’Em What They Expect

Never Give ’Em What They Expect

The Joker Ethos as the Zeitgeist of Contemporary Digital Subcultural Transgression

Chapter:
(p.109) Never Give ’Em What They Expect
Source:
The Joker
Author(s):

Vyshali Manivannan

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628462388.003.0008

We move into the realm of digital and ludic paratexts with Vyshali Manivannan’s analysis of the “Joker ethos” as one that “prizes cleverness, inventiveness, and Dadaist absurdity as much as the destabilization of social and emotional expectations,” making it largely coterminous, Manivannan argues, with the ethos of “lulz.” Defined as a kind of online emotional schadenfreude, lulz is the primary objective of those who antagonize interlocutors for the joy of sparking a reaction and partake in a “disrupter culture intrinsic to both trickster mythology and contemporary phenomena such as hacker culture and trolling.” “Doing it for the lulz,” Manivannan suggests, “mirrors the Joker ethos: it too seeks to transcend conventional rules of engagement, interrogate restrictive order, create social disjuncture, and above all take pleasure in provocation.”

Keywords:   Joker ethos, Lulz, Schadenfreude, Trickster

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