Władysław Chłopicki, Dorota Brzozowska
March 22, 2021
The analysis undertaken in the article focuses on a group of memes selected from the database which drew on culture-specific references. Specifically, they embrace the memories of socialist times and call on references to comic films and easily recognized characters in order to bring out the re-discovered absurdity of the current COVID-19 situation. This material seems ideal to revisit Raskin’s early notion of sophistication, which was broadly argued to derive from intertextuality as well complexity of references that function as sources of humor. In all the examples discussed we can observe the intertextual and metatextual elements, multiple levels and shifts in points of view and attitudes as well as the mutual relations of verbal to visual within the meme cycles. In order to identify specific mechanisms of sophisticated humor, we attempt to identify the visual or verbal triggers of overlap of the two worlds in question, and discuss comic mechanisms of sophistication, including attributions of desire, belief and intention (purpose) to characters or the narrator as commentators on events or situations.