Stoa :: Luciana Santos :: Blog :: About irony

abril 21, 2011

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Postado por Luciana Santos

"I wonder how far you can go on an ironic mindset. If everything is ironic, you end up pretty harmless, since if it's all equally ironic, why bother trying to change any of it - which is pretty ironic for a subversive. You're drawn into the mainstream willy-nilly since you accept, albeit scornfully, its premises.... You can't do much subverting without an alternate model of how things might be, but then you'd believe in something and that's so unironic.  "

Rick Salutin, quoted by Barry Grills in Ironic

Palavras-chave: belief, Irony

Postado por Luciana Santos

Comentários

  1. Renato escreveu:

    Yeah, it is sooo much better to be an ironic man in a world where most people are serious and ignorant.

    Renato Callado BorgesRenato ‒ quinta, 21 abril 2011, 17:40 -03 # Link |

  2. Renato escreveu:

    (After discussing live with Luciana, I reconsider only writing a witty remark and will explain myself at length).

    Mr. Salutin props up a "straw man" which is inconceivable: a person for whom everything only has one side, that of irony. So he commits double logical suicide: he also supposes true an obviously false hypothesis (unidimensional men exist).

    How does this "argument" proceed? Well, consider if this unidimensional person could be subversive? If yes, then he creates something unironic and that would be a paradox. Therefore, we must conclude that the straw man is a conformist.

    (Having not read the source, I suppose Mr. Salutin is writing to leftists and by equating irony with conformism he is condemning irony - so he believes to have reached his "point").

    _My_ point is: we could substitute the pair "irony/conformism" with any other pair of contrary adjectives, and reach the same conclusion. This is because the argument is logically _fraudulent_.

    Example: "peaceful/violent":

    I wonder how far you can go on a peaceful mindset. If everything is peaceful, you end up pretty harmless, since if it's all equally peaceful, why bother trying to change any of it - which is pretty peaceful for a violent [person]. You're drawn into the mainstream willy-nilly since you accept, albeit peacefully, its premises.... You can't do much violence without an alternate model of how things might be, but then you'd believe in something and that's so unpeaceful.

    As for the last sentence, re-reading the original I notice it has an elliptic sentence:

    "[...] You can't do much subverting without an alternate model of how things might be, but then you'd believe in something and that's so unironic."

    Should be

    'You can't do much subverting without an alternate model of how things might be, but then you'd believe in something [outside your ironic mindset] and that's so unironic.'

    Therefore, my rehash of Mr. Salutin's logic rape is:

    You can't do much violence without an alternate model of how things might be, but then you'd believe in something [outside your peaceful mindset] and that's so unpeaceful.

    Ergo, a fully worked-out example of how to derive anything from a paradox.

    Personally, I wish we had such problems in the real world. Instead, I believe we must rescue a few drops of intelligent speech from an ocean of ignorance and pretentiousness. This explains my short comment.

    Renato Callado BorgesRenato ‒ quinta, 21 abril 2011, 19:12 -03 # Link |

  3. Luciana Santos escreveu:

    Even after talking live again, I feel compeled to answer.

    About  the unidimensional man: sometimes, to describe a behavior, we have to appeal to extremes. It doesn't mean these extremes are out there walking on the street. It's a recursive resource to describe something. This kind of resource is well described by Marx Weber as the "ideal type" with much more distinctness.


    In this case, I think this resource helps to think over the excess of irony. I'm not against all irony (actually, I like it). But when it comes to an habit, when people resort to irony as a first reaction to the world ills, it promotes laziness. When one gets satisfied by creating ironic comments over everything, he allows oneself to affirm: "Since everything is ruined, I don't have to make any move! Join your cause? Your silly! Everything is worthless and I'm the one who knows it, that's why I'm not doing anything! Not because I'm lazy to try! If I try, I'll be fool too!"

    How does this "argument" proceed? Well, consider if this unidimensional person could be subversive? If yes, then he creates something unironic and that would be a paradox. Therefore, we must conclude that the straw man is a conformist.

    This "person" sees himself as a subversive just by being ironic, but he's not, exactly because he allows himself to not act. He stays still, satisfied by the irony. If this person was really subversive, would do something about the situation. Then, wouldn't be ironic anymore. It wouldn't be fun to be ironic about something you believe you can change.  

    The straw man's words are a subversive's words. The straw man's actions are a conformist's actions (or not actions). The author shows  this ironic man is not subversive, but thinks himself as one. He could've written: "which is pretty ironic for someone who thinks oneself as a subversive". He actually shows how irony can fool people over they subversiveness or resignation.

    I don't think you can replace the opposites by peaceful/ violent freely and compare the results. It changes the meaning. A possible comparison would be: a peaceful man stands behind the representation of evil on earth. He has a sword and can put end to any violence. But since he wants to see himself as a peaceful man, he throws away his sword, let all violence happen freely and proclaims he's promoting peace. In fact, he's one of the causes of violence. He's fooling himself by attaching to one single behavior for any situation, without any smart judgment to achieve a final goal.

    There is a possibility though: maybe the ironic straw men inspire people who love them to change the world, hoping someday they don't have material to be ironic about. Naivety for the straw men, guideline for the others.






    Luciana SantosLuciana Santos ‒ quinta, 21 abril 2011, 20:27 -03 # Link |

  4. Renato escreveu:

    About what the author meant to write, I agree with your interpretation.

    About what the author actually wrote, do you agree with mine?

    (She said yes! :D )

    Renato Callado BorgesRenato ‒ quinta, 21 abril 2011, 21:23 -03 # Link |

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