April 23rd, 2014

I Want to Believe

The Irony of Relearning

A friend on Facebook posted an article on Salon with the title “David Foster Wallace was right: Irony is ruining our culture”. The URL is http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/david_foster_wallace_was_right_irony_is_ruining_our_culture/ .

My friend shared the quote from the article:

"At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy."

Commercialized irony is humor in disguise. The maligned irony is society's reluctant acknowledgement of truths in disguise. True irony is alive and well, with many more hypocrisies yet to be uncovered. Irony is dead, long live irony!

The authors long dialogue about irony makes me thing about the revelations that each generation realizes, and then calls their own.  It is my personal opinion that every generation has to have their own "revelations". It does that matter that countless generations have had the same ones time and time again. We human beings learn little from previous generations. Each generation must realize these “truths” on their own. Some examples:

God is dead, Now God is alive
War is useful, Now war is bad
Smoking is cool, Now smoking is bad for your health
Everyone over age X is clueless, oh shoot now I'm over age X
AND... irony is dead, wait, it is very much alive.

Can the next generation queue up for self-enlightenment?

The article author also tried to point out that cultural snark has ruined society’s culture. I believe that cultural snark has always defined popular culture. The vision of a genteel age, with a seamy underside, is a myth. Most ages have been thoroughly seamy, in their own special way. The past perfect age, or future perfect age, is a desirable longing, but it is just an illusion. Today is the tomorrow of yesterday, and not much has changed.