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Old 01-15-2003, 08:08 PM
Capt. Caustic Capt. Caustic is offline
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Culture of Irony

How'd we get to be such an irony-driven, afraid-to-be-serious culture? Why are the arts full of self-referential humor and meta commentary? Why is the biggest sin to be a true believer?

Is it the result of the demise of Christianity as an explanatory force? The misapplication of Einstein's relativity to the social sciences? The bizarre findings of Quantum Theory?

Does all the navel-gazing have a positive impact? Does the mad dictator and the inner city thug, well aware of his "image" and mannerisms, work to avoid being "that guy," that cliche?

I suppose I'm talking clumsily about post-modernism, from which only two falling towers and 3K deaths could give us (Americans) a brief respite.
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Old 01-15-2003, 09:33 PM
furt furt is offline
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*Sigh*

Jedediah Purdy, now reduced to posting anonymously on web sites.





Just kidding, Cap'n. FWIW, I see the same symptoms as you and Jedediah.
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Old 01-15-2003, 09:46 PM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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Are we talking the dictionary definition or the Alanis Morrissette definition first off?

Brought to you by the fine people at Merriam Webster (www.m-w.com)
1 : a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning -- called also Socratic irony
2 a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c : an ironic expression or utterance
3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity b : incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play -- called also dramatic irony, tragic irony
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Old 01-16-2003, 10:05 AM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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Re: Culture of Irony

Quote:
Originally posted by Capt. Caustic
How'd we get to be such an irony-driven, afraid-to-be-serious culture?
I get it! You sir, are a funny, funny man.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:21 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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It's all these clothes that you just wash and hang up to dry, there's no irony needed, not like in the old days, when you had to irony every shirt.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:30 PM
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I take increasing irony as a good sign, myself. I'm suspicious of "true believers", since many of them strike me as ignorant rubes locked into patterns of behaviour they're too lazy to change or improve.

Ironically, I don't think irony is as omnipresent as the OP implies, since we still have plenty of dogmatic baggage in our lives.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:36 PM
loinburger loinburger is offline
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RE: Culture of Irony

It's probably because, given a choice between being serious and being facetious, it's usually a lot more enjoyable to be facetious.

I also see a bit of Evil Clown behind the Culture of Irony's cause. If you insult somebody and they become Offended, then you are Insensitive. However, if you insult somebody in a sufficiently humorous manner and they become Offended, then they Have No Sense Of Humor and you are off the hook (and actually score some bonus points on your insult).
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Old 01-05-2019, 04:00 AM
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The thread title may be taken from For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedidiah Purdy
Believing in nothing much, especially not in people, is a point of vague pride, and conviction can seem embarrassingly naive....
[A culture of irony] pervades our thought and behavior. An endless joke runs through the culture of irony, not exactly at anyone's expense, but rather at the expense of the idea that anyone might take the whole affair seriously.
(I apologize to Mods if my decision to revive this long-ago thread was ill-conceived. I explain in Note 1 why I did so.)

I stumbledNote 2 onto a book, A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom, by Jedidiah Purdy, whom I'd never heard of. Here's an excerpt from that book:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedidiah Purdy
“Take a step back to recall the story that this book tells, and consider how it might come to a very unhappy ending. Imagine the history our disappointed descendants might write. For centuries, the moral teachings of a civilization held self-interest and self-trust to be the sins of frail and deluded humanity. These traditional teachings denied that societies could discern distinct and viable principles of order and design their own institutions accordingly. They denounced such efforts as doomed hubris. Then, in an unprecedented experiment, some people rejected the old wisdom. They took the heart’s desire and the body’s appetite as compass points and rededicated human ingenuity to serving them. They created new forms of order to house these inverted values. For a time, the experiment succeeded, changing life so dramatically that the utopian visions of one century became the pedestrian common sense of the next.

Then, suddenly and drastically, the experiment failed. Self-interest and self-trust proved to be formulas for devastating the world. Democratic polities, the other moral center of the great experiment, could not stop runaway self-destruction and turned out to abet it instead. Faced with overwhelming evidence that they were on an unsustainable course, the freedom-loving peoples of the twenty-first century wrung their hands, congratulated themselves on their hybrid cars and locally grown food, and changed little, because it never made sense for anyone or any country to do so.”
Like myself, Purdy might be described as a "radical centrist." I find this and other excerpts of his writing to resonate with my own philosophy.

My next book order will include at least one of Purdy's several books, but I've read none of them so far.

Note 1.
(a) First step was to Search for other SDMB mentions of Jedidiah Purdy. The quote at the bottom of this post was the ONLY one (1) mention to ever appear in almost 20 years of SDMB history. Really?!?! Approve or disapprove, Purdy may be a better thinker than any dozen random Dopers summed together.
(b) Even if I had read a Purdy book in its entirety, I doubt that I could improve on his ideas or rhetoric. So I can't start a thread in GD or IMHO.
(c) The issues Purdy raises are far too important for Cafe Society or Mundane Pointless.
(d) I doubt I could think of any 3-word title for a thread on these ideas that was better than "Culture of Irony."
(e) Hence the decision to bump this old much-too-neglected thread.

Note 2.
(a) The quote that first intrigued me about Jedidiah Purdy was "Our conventional wisdom today is a legacy from dead radicals who risked the impossible."
(b) I stumbled on that quote while clicking in pursuit of ... Ocasio-Cortez dance videos!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by furt View Post
*Sigh*
Jedediah Purdy, now reduced to posting anonymously on web sites.
Just kidding, Cap'n. FWIW, I see the same symptoms as you and Jedediah.
I'm sorry I waited 16 years to answer but, yes, I think the Cap'n, furt and Purdy may be on to something.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:28 AM
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I'm a little surprised the 2003 version of me let "Is it the result of the demise of Christianity as an explanatory force?" go unremarked. Christianity has never had any explanatory force.
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Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:41 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Christians can't be ironic? That's a new one on me.

Jesus was only dead three days before being resurrected. This thread took took almost 16 years.

Now that's irony for you.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
I'm a little surprised the 2003 version of me let "Is it the result of the demise of Christianity as an explanatory force?" go unremarked. Christianity has never had any explanatory force.
Thank God this thread was resurrected and you found it. We here at The Dope can't let a mention of Christianity go unattacked. The irony would probably kill the internet all together.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
Thank God this thread was resurrected and you found it. We here at The Dope can't let a mention of Christianity go unattacked. The irony would probably kill the internet all together.
In a thread bemoaning the ubiquity of irony, what you claim to be irony is not in fact irony.

Which is, of course, ironic.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:17 PM
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It's not even an attack. Religions overall have no explanatory force, in the sense that they offer any demonstrable, verifiable facts in explanation of observed phenomena, i.e. if one asks "where do the stars comes from?", responding with "God made them" isn't helpful in any meaningful way. If Drunky Smurf thinks otherwise, I invite him to elaborate.
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