2009-10-11

Post-ironism

Irony is a confusing concept, not just because it implies a double meaning or intention, but because the definition of the word itself is a bit hard to grasp. You can check out the Wikipedia page to see what I mean. There are multiple types of irony, on which people disagree, mainly concerning what is "actually" irony, and what isn't.

And then there was the great debate about whether Alanis Morissette's song, Ironic, actually contained irony.

What intrigues me the most, though, is the association of irony with emo kids and hipsters, which give an example:

For example: a person who wears, say, a Legend of Zelda t-shirt, but who does it ironically in the hipster sense, is being self-aware of the irony of their situation — they are in essence saying "Man, isn't it so ironic that someone as cool as me would wear such a geeky shirt?" Thus it is that emo kids and hipsters get away with wearing and participating in a lot of what is otherwise considered "fringe" or uncool behavior.

So, what I was wondering is, since we all obviously define our styles based on emo kids, have we moved on to post-ironism?

In about 1999, a man wearing a pink shirt was obviously gay. Perhaps it wasn't 1999 that was guilty, but in fact the age of my friends at the time. By 2001, however, the pink shirt had been run through the dredges of irony in the sense of, "Look at me! I'm wearing a pink shirt and I'm not gay!" A side-effect of metrosexualism, most likely, and before long every self-respecting frat boy wore a pink shirt at least twice a week.

Now, I wonder out loud, can I wear a pink shirt without proclaiming my bubbly heterosexuality? Can I wear a Zelda t-shirt because I actually like Zelda? The answer is: of course I can; I always could, and I don't really know why I'm asking that question.

Now, the more important issue is that I thought I was founding the post-ironism movement, but I have just noticed that "Post Irony" is, in fact, a section of the Wikipedia article on irony.

Isn't that ironic? (I mean, that trying to found a cultural movement led me to realize it has already been founded.) No, probably not, huh? I don't really know.

Well, anyway, as a warning to all sensitive people out there: don't take my post-ironic statements the wrong way. If I say "women can't drive", it doesn't mean that I don't think women can drive, or even that I'm making fun of people who say that women can't drive, but instead making fun of people who make sweeping generalizations. Got it? Good.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The post-ironic purpose of the ironists was to burn materialism down with Marxist materialism. If Marxism was wrong, nothing could be right.

Post-ironists call this "denial".

Anonymous said...

I always view the post ironist as a cartoon character saying 'don't have a cow, man.' No doubt coupled with that oh so lovely meta awareness.