Apending Silliness

23/02/12

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a thing about irony (that was’t very {or at least I didn’t believe in it} good). I had set myself the difficult challenge of sincerely writing about the need for sincerity with a good degree of self awareness, in a highly self aware manner. I don’t think I succeeded.  And then I read a few more things and realised some of the problems in what I wrote was, as it turns out (and much to my surprise) because I’m not a genius. Unlike David Foster Wallace, who I quoted (at length) in the essay, as he was the recipient of something called a genius grant. I read something else he wrote about irony which I’m gonna quote here now as its better,

‘So then how have irony, irreverence and rebellion come to be not liberating but enfeebling in the culture today’s avent-garde ties to write about? One clue can be found in the fact that irony is still around, bigger than ever after 30 long years as he dominant mode of hip expression. It not a rhetorical mode that wares well, As Hyde (whom I pretty obviously like) puts it, “Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage.” This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function. It’s critical and destructive, a ground-clearing. Surely this is the way our postmodern fathers saw it. But irony is singularly unuseful when it comes to constructing anything to replace the hypocrisies it debunks. This is why Hyde seems right about persistent irony being tiresome. It is unmeaty…

And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to pin down… I think, todays irony ends up saying: “How totally banal of you to ask what i really mean.” Anyone with the heretical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like a hysteric or a prig…”

From ‘E Unibus Pluram’  by David Foster Wallace in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

Told you it was better…

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