Anachronistic Memes: The Best of the Bayeux Tapestry

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The original Bayeux Tapestry is a huge embroidered panel illustrating the Battle of Hastings and other historical scenes surrounding the Norman conquest of England in the year 1066. It was crafted sometime between then and 1077. Because of its use of pictures to tell the story, it has been called "the first known British comic strip."

Today, we have an online generator called the Historic Tale Construction Kit, with which anyone can create a virtual tapestry that will say anything you want, illustrated with characters copied from the original Bayeux Tapestry. Unfortunately, I've never been able to access the gallery at the site, but the best creations make their way into the internet at large. Modern pop cultural references and internet memes make great tapestries.

526CSI

Lieutenant Horatio Caine of the TV show CSI: Miami invariably begins the story with a pair of sunglasses and a horrible pun. Things were no different in medieval times. Monorail has more tapestries illustrating various memes, parodies, and jokes, including a series of panels illustrating the song "My Milkshake" by Kelis, and an appearance by Pedobear.

400hand

With a little tweaking of the language, any pop culture phrase can be adapted as a Bayeux Tapestry.

This notice is a translation of "the cake is a lie", which was originally a reference to the game Portal, but is also used just as it is to comment on either a cake or a deception.

550Belair

The next three revised Bayeux Tapestry examples are from Encyclopedia Dramatica. There are more, but be warned that any page of the website may be NSFW. If you've ever been engrossed in a dramatic story posted online only to have it devolve into the theme from the TV show The Fresh Price of Bel Air, then you'll appreciate this adaptation.

450Doods

Gamers brought us the phrase "I'm in ur base, killin ur d00dz," which went super viral when applied to LOLcats. It also works well on a tapestry.

550taseme

University of Florida student Andrew Meyer was arrested at a John Kerry speech in 2007. As he was overpowered by police, he yelled, "Don't Tase me, Bro!" They tased him anyway. The quote became an instant catchphrase. This tapestry illustrates how the outburst may have been worded in the Middle Ages.

450trebuchet

I don't know the source of this joyous tapestry, but I can assume that Keith Bowman would have been excited to witness the Battle of Hastings.

550bayeauxrythms1

Bayeaux Rhythms is a webcomic that is entirely generated with the Historic Tale Construction Kit.

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In between regular jokes, Bayeux Rhythms has occasional panels that deal with the problems of moving from the old website and communicating modern ideas to characters who are stuck in the Middle Ages.

550GotBack

There is only one female character in the tapestry toolbox, which just leaves that much more room for lyrics. These translate into Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back".

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That one female character puts up with a lot of grief.

550twowenches

A certain pornographic video is better known for its shock effect than its desirability, which makes it ripe for mockery.

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Now see how simple this is? If I can put a tagline into language that vaguely resembles Middle English, you could easily come up with something much funnier! Try the Historic Tale Construction Kit yourself.

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March 9, 2010 - 3:03am
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