The Irrepressible Nature of Irony*

Or, Nothing Is As It Appears To Be

If you were to do a search on my site for the word “irony” — and why would you? — but, if you were to, of the ten results you would receive, the first three would have the word “irony” in their heading, so it’s easy to see why they would be pulled up in the search; but as far as the other seven, it’s been so long since they were written that I have no clue why they were pulled in with the results, except for maybe the eighth one: it’s a post about Radiohead allowing fans to pay whatever they want for their latest release at the time. There’s probably a decent amount of irony to be found in that one.

Anyway, of the first three positively ironic posts pulled in the search, they are:
Continue reading “The Irrepressible Nature of Irony*”

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An Early Holiday* Gift Just for You

christmas-present

Beautiful, free – in cost and rights – photographs for your, while it still lasts, First Amendment blogging needs:

UNSPLASH.COM

Ho ho ho…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!**


 

*No, I’m not writing “Holiday” instead of “Christmas” to be politically correct, I’m writing it to be humanely correct. Well, actually I’m writing it mostly to piss off those who get pissed off by those who say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I get a kick out of that.

**Even to those intolerant of those who say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

An Abundance of Irony

Ironic Glasses
Ironic Glasses
Since 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 extermination care and feeding of the mus musculus. And, as I’m sure anyone who’s done even the most cursory of web reading can imagine, most of what I read is just pure blather…100° proof; however, as most of you (and by most (what’s with all the mosts?) I mean the one or two of the three regular readers of this site (one of whom is me)) know, blather is my specialty so I pretty much dig it…the higher piled the better.

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.

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?

No, indeed.

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) –

Postscript:

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

~ New York Times’s How to Live Without Irony
~ Big Think’s In Defense of Irony
– The Oatmeal’s 3 Most Common Uses of Irony
~ Irony, as told by Wikipedia
~ Irony, as told by Dictionary.com

 
 

Tragic Irony

Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that the remains of Richard III — the English king remembered mostly — courtesy of the chronicler of kings, Shakespeare, of course — for his unrequited request for a means of transportation to help him escape his impending doom — were found buried beneath a parking lot?

From The Telegraph:

The skeletal remains believed to be those of the King, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 but had been missing ever since, were uncovered last September in the remains of the Grey Friars Church, in Leicester, over which had been built a social services car park.

In Defense of the American Way of Life

I spent twenty years and four days as an enlisted swine sailor in the navy. That’s twenty years and four days of living on the government dole. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens after someone joins the United States military, they get to live on the dole.

To get on the dole, however, I did have to promise my government that I would give it my life for it to use of and/or dispose of as it required or so desired. But fortunately for me, a good chunk of my service was during the happy-go-lucky Clinton years so I never really had to worry much about that unwritten but very much binding “dying in defense of freedom” clause in my contract.

For most of that twenty years and four days I was just like every other American rat who had to get up every morning to compete against all the others in the race.

Except that I had to wear a goofy-looking racing uniform while doing so.

Seriously, ever see those horrific bell bottoms on the old dungaree uniforms that we sailors used to have to wear? And those cursed “Cracker Jack” sailor suits weren’t much better either, let me tell ya.

Sheesh…the fact that we were willing to die for our country was never so impressive to me as was the fact that so many of us were willing to wear those embarrassing uniforms while doing so.

But just like so many other unavoidable indignities one must suffer throughout one’s life, one learns to accept it, or at least try to numb oneself somehow from the sting of it, and move on.

It sure was hard for me to accept the indignity of those ridiculous uniforms though, that’s for sure.

You know what? I bet I can guess what some of you are thinking right now.

I bet some of you are thinking: “True Americans are fighting and dying in defense of our country right now and this bozo is making fun of the uniform they so proudly wear.”

Listen, if that’s what you are thinking, and I am pretty sure some of you are, and it hurts your feelings, I apologize.

It was not my intent to cause pain to your sensitivities.

However…

Aren’t those True Americans who are fighting and dying in defense of our country right now doing so so that I could do exactly just that?

Well, perhaps they are not fighting and dying specifically so that I can cause pain to your sensitivities, but I certainly believe they are doing so to provide me the protection and guarantee and freedom to say whatever it is I feel I need or want to say as I strive to live and abide by the American Way of Life, which, in my view, happens to encompass MY pursuit of Happiness.

I do sincerely believe that and I am sincerely very thankful for their sacrifice.

And I pray that there will always be those who will willingly and courageously volunteer to fight, and even perhaps, sadly, sacrifice their own life, just so I can continue on with my own selfish and never-ending-till-I-die pursuit of Happiness.

Writing and saying what’s on my mind makes me Happy, that’s why I pursue it the way I do.

But I suppose that what I write or say doesn’t always make you Happy.

Sometimes, like right now, maybe, I say things with a specific intent in mind, which is, regardless of what I say, for me to always end up sounding like I am funny and smart. But instead of me ending up sounding funny and/or smart, the actual impact of what I say usually ends up with me sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am.

And even worse than me just ending up harmlessly sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am, I suspect that far too often the impact of what I say ends up so far off the mark from my intent that I unintentionally end up sounding like some offensive and inappropriate jackass.

When that happens, what I say just might end up hurting someone.

I hope that what I have to say doesn’t unintentionally hurt too often.

But then again, sometimes that may just be my intention.

That is, in addition to always trying to make myself sound funny and smart, sometimes my intent also might be to intentionally sound like some offensive and inappropriate jackass.

That’s because sometimes it takes a real jackass with enough oomph in his hindquarters to kick hard enough to make a point truly stick.

And unfortunately, whenever we do get stuck with a point, it tends to hurt for a bit.

Just to be clear, though, I cannot ever imagine a scenario where my intent would be for me to end up sounding like the misinformed dork that I really am.

That happens far too often enough without it ever being my intention.

But, that’s not really my problem, is it?

I really have no way of determining how what I say ends up impacting you.

For that I assume no responsibility or blame.

I just write the crap.

How it ends up sounding in your head after your brain interprets it is all on you.

I hope the intent of my words always matches the impact they have on your brain.

But I cannot guarantee they will.

And when they don’t, and especially if it causes pain to your sensitivities and causes you to think what an offensive and inappropriate jackass I am, please remember one thing.

And I say this understanding that I may end up sounding both like an uninformed dork and some offensive and inappropriate jackass…

Please remember that this blog was created and is maintained by me primarily as a resource for MY Happiness, not necessarily yours.

And like “True Americans” will sometimes say in defense of their American Way of Life, I say in defense of my blog:

“If you don’t like it, you can leave it.”

But really, I hope you don’t leave if I become too offensive and inappropriate for you.

And I hope you don’t leave if you become too offensive and inappropriate for me.

I like having you here to talk to.

Having you here, regardless of where you are from, or what your “Way of Life” or “way of life” or “WAYS OF LIFE” might be, provides me with much of the Happiness I so fervently pursue.

Besides, if you think what I DO or WILL say is offensive and inappropriate, just imagine some of the things that go through this troubled mind of mine that I DON’T or WON’T say.

I shudder to think.

Thank god for the delete button that’s all I gotta say, because so many of those offensive and inappropriate bastards of thought that float around in my mind often get just this close (use your imagination here to visualize me holding my hand in front of your face and pinching my pointer finger and thumb together so tightly that my hand shakes from it as I illustrate exactly what I mean by “just this close”) to being shouted out loud at the top of my scarred and deteriorating lungs.

And by just this close to being shouted out loud at the top of my scarred and deteriorating lungs I mean that sometimes this irrational world that we are living in drives me so bonkers that I can barely refrain myself from publishing those offensive and inappropriate bastards of thought that are floating around in this troubled mind of mine here on my blog and then tweeting and bleating and blasting them out to the twitterverse and then linking and posting and liking them like a mad crazy fool to Facebook and then finding other ways—Ah hell yeah!…google+—to shove them into your self-righteously offended and offensive face but, just because those thoughts barely strayed over that very thin and swaying line in my mind which I consider to be the boundary for good taste, I refrain myself and say nothing about them at all.

You have absolutely no idea what you are missing out on.

But enough of all that patriotic nonsense.

Back to my “on the government dole” point.

It always struck me as completely ironic (and if I think about it too hard it verges on the sardonically so) how so many Americans join the military to defend the American “Way of Life,” and, as a reward for their patriotism and service, they are provided for by the American government and funded by the American tax payer with a “way of life” that is so completely different and diametrically opposed to the “Way of Life” they gave up to defend.

Once someone joins the military, their new “way of life” becomes part of one of the most successfully socialist ways of life that has ever existed on this irrational planet of ours.

Now, the way I see it, the American “Way of Life” encompasses much and means different things to different folks, but I think all Americans can agree that this “Way of Life” certainly encompasses that democratic republic mashup system of government that so many Americans do not understand yet so many righteously trumpet, as well as a pretty hardcore capitalistic economic system, that, again, so many Americans do not really understand, but most are certainly beholden to.

Nothing wrong with that at all.

I’m all for the American Way of Life.

Hope you are all for it too, especially if you consider yourself an American.

And if you consider yourself a “True American,” well…

Well…I prefer to not even consider what the “True Americans” are all for in this, or any, regard, to be honest with you.

Besides, they will certainly tell us what they are all for anyway without the least bit of consideration at all.

But sometimes, especially when I really think hard about it, it makes me SMH in amazement that those who will so willingly sacrifice their life in defense of the American “Way of Life” have to live their “way of life” in a such heavily, if not completely, subsidized, socialistic, anti-American “Way of Life” manner. (BTW, for all you dinosaurs out there, SMH = shake my head. You can figure out the BTW for yourself.)

These potential military heroes are provided for with a completely free and well-maintained “gated” community if they live on base. If they choose to or are required to live off base, then their housing costs are subsidized. Their medical costs are completely paid for if they are seen by an on-base medical facility and, again, these costs are heavily subsidized if they are seen by an off-base medical facility.

And similar to the way of life in most anti-American “Way of Life,” socialist societies, the “way of life” in the American military includes serious restrictions on its service members’ freedom of expression and speech, restrictions that Americans who have never served in the military could never understand or imagine as they Happily and freely enjoy their own unique, and, quite honestly, sometimes a little weird and occasionally even a little creepy, American Way of Life.

I have several more “Way of Life” versus “way of life” examples, but I think you get the point:

A socialist “way of life” for those who volunteer to defend the Democratic Republic and Hardcore Capitalistic American “Way of Life.”

Again, nothing wrong with that.

Just a little ironic, wouldn’t you agree?

Besides, I’m all for providing anyone who willingly and courageously volunteers to defend the American Way of Life, regardless of how one defines it, with a decent and honorable way of life, American, socialistic, or otherwise.

America better provide their courageous volunteers and potential heroes with at least that because it sure as hell pays them like crap.

Believe me, after spending twenty years and four days as an enlisted swine sailor, I know exactly how crappy American service members are paid.

*

As I think and I write about all of this BS, all of the this Way of Life BS and all of the that way of life BS, and all of the goofy-looking uniform BS, and all of my pretentious and pedantic intent versus impact BS, I am being completely overwhelmed and thoroughly embarrassed by the ridiculous politics and even more ridiculous politicians behind the budget crisis that seemingly has the potential to rip the American Way of Life, regardless of how one defines it, to shreds.

That, to me, is wholly indefensible.