An Abundance of IronySince I have a lot of time on my hands, I spend much of it (hey, I am a capitalist — spending is what I do) reading articles on the web. While I’ll read just about anything I happen upon, most of what I seek to read involves literature, politics, current events, and, as t’is the season of the warmth-seeking rodents, the intricacies involved in the
In addition to the intricacies involved in the
extermination care and feeding of the many snow shy mus musculus now snuggled warm and carefree throughout my home, I’ve also been reading lately about irony (see the german links below). Let me tell ya, there are some rather heady, profound philosophical conceptualizers out there coming up with some rather heady, (did I say german? I meant germane not german! see the germane links below) profound philosophical concepts revolving around the term, meaning…I don’t understand most of what I’ve read about it.
Consequently, it’s hard for me to get my less than profound head wrapped around these profound philosophical concepts.
No matter how many times I look up the meaning of irony, I can never remember exactly what it is whenever I’m in a situation when I need to prove my understanding of the concept. If I don’t really know what it means, how can I confidently, and safely, do irony?
And based upon my wary observations of all the many ironic hipsters running around loose and carefree (as my homey mus musculus) lately, it appears I am not the only one who does not quite have a necessary grasp on its meaning.
Okay, but who really cares, right? I mean, when does one ever really need to know the meaning of irony?
Other than teacher’s having to explain it to students (who will forget its meaning mere seconds after being taught), the only real life example I can come up with off the top of my head for when there was a true need to know the meaning of irony is when Lelaina Pierce, Winona Ryder’s character in Reality Bites, is asked to define it as part of a job interview.
Spoiler alert: She fails miserably and does not get the job. Worse yet, when she explains her unfortunate failure to her love interest Troy Dyer (had this movie been set in the Seventies he would have been a Hippie. Had it been set in the Naughts or the Nows he would have been a Hipster. However, it was set in the Nighties which meant he was nothing more than an annoyance (which is synonymous with Hippie and Hipster) who didn’t even have the decency to be full on Grunge), played by the most ironic of actors, Ethan Hawke (I really don’t have any facts to back this ironic claim up with (heck, as I’ve already confessed, I’m not even really sure how to appropriately apply irony) but if there ever were to be an ironic actor it would have to be he…), who, when asked if he could define irony, of course
prattles rattles it off like a boss…as ironic as that may sound (That does sound ironic, right? A slacker like Troy being a boss? Situational Irony, perhaps? I’m so confused…).
So yeah, I don’t think one scene from a trite Nineties movies – even one that has come to define my generation (or…is it Breakfast Club that defines my generation? I’m so confused…) – qualifies as a good example of when there is a true need for having to know the meaning of irony.
Ergo, we probably don’t need to know the meaning of irony. I mean, I’m pretty sure most of us could lead near normal lives (however normal may be defined in this undefined day and age) without ever even having to once consider the concept’s existence.
Besides, there’s sarcasm. It more than adequately meets our needs. And better yet, everyone pretty much understands it, if not in its definition then surely in its application.
So who cares about irony?
No one but the ones that no one else cares much about, that is…
Well, teachers care about irony, job security and all, and we care about teachers; but mostly I was referring to all the ironic Hipsters running around loose and carefree.
Who cares about them?
Not me, that’s who.
— THE END —
Ah, but heck, for argument’s sake, and for the sake of this ironic post (well, ironic in the sense that it’s a post about irony, not in that its a post full of irony…well, unless there’s irony in the fact that I’m attempting to illuminate the concept of irony here and, instead of me being a floodlight of understanding, it appears I forgot to put the batteries in my flashlight of knowledge… Yeah, that was bad. But you know what? That painfully dull metaphor just may in fact be irony… Right? Oh boy… ), let’s say there is, in fact, a need for irony.
Poof! There is a need for irony.
Okay, since we’ve now established the fact that there is a need for irony, does that mean that everyone has a need for irony?
I mean, would a Third World Kid picking through the pile of trash in search of dinner ever have a need for irony? Perhaps at some point in his or her miserable life this kid might realize that life, just about all of it, is mostly ironic in the sense that outcomes rarely match expectations.
But is understanding that ironic concept going to help fill his or her belly?
Nope. Not even with one tiny little morsel of hope.
But knowing that concept and applying it effectively in, let’s say, an “artistic” environment just might fill a belly or two, that’s for certain.
If the act of living is mostly ironic as the poor, unfortunate Third World child one day may or may not come to realize, good god, how many times more ironic can The Arts then be? When I think about all the art created over time by all the artists of whom the world will never know…wow…to me that is irony of the purest kind.
Just as is a painting of a conceptualized aspect of life, one which the “altruistic artist” surely humbly pained over purely and only for Art’s sake in an effort to help us better understand the irony of our ironic lives, selling for millions of dollars.
That would fill an altruistic artist belly or two, no?
And by “no” I mean hell yes.
Now that there is some Premo Irony…100° proof.
C’mon, the conundrum of irony is purely a First World Conundrum, a conundrum which can only be understood and appropriately applied within the context of abundance.
Yeah, we surely don’t need irony but is sure seems we want it. And as much of it as we can get our needy little hands on.
Irony is our step ladder to our superior place in this world.
Whether you like it or not.
So my advice to you then is, embrace your privilege and the irony it affords you and, whenever you see a striving ironic hipster, instead of succumbing to the urge to punch him in the face, smile kindly, pat him knowingly and condescendingly on the head, and see him safely on his ironic, privileged, loose and carefree way.
For his way is our own.
- THE END (for real) –
But, like I said earlier, no matter how much I read and discuss about all this irony stuff, I am never really sure I understand it.
Let’s just say I’m much more comfortable in a practical, hands on vice heads on environment.
So, in the spirit of practical applicability and to see if I have been able to absorb even a little bit of what I have read/discussed, I am going to attempt to practice applying irony in an understandable (at least to me) and practical way.
From now on, if I read an article and/or post of any sort (wordpress, facebook, twitter, cereal box, etc.) and I don’t comment, “like,” or tweet it, it could be because not that I don’t like it, but because I DO like it.
Inversely, if I read an article and/or post of any sort and I do comment, “like,” or tweet it, it could be because…well, you know…more applied irony.
Now wouldn’t that be ironic?
Or would it?
Germane Links Below
- The Oatmeal’s 3 Most Common Uses of Irony