I like this article, “How to live without irony” by Christy Wampole in The New York Times.
First, it signals a deep aversion to risk. As a function of fear and pre-emptive shame, ironic living bespeaks cultural numbness, resignation and defeat. If life has become merely a clutter of kitsch objects, an endless series of sarcastic jokes and pop references, a competition to see who can care the least (or, at minimum, a performance of such a competition), it seems we’ve made a collective misstep. Could this be the cause of our emptiness and existential malaise? Or a symptom?
And I like this interesting critique of it, too, “15 ways of looking at The New York Times’ latest irritating analysis of the hipster” by Judy Berman at Flavorwire.
13. Generation X is becoming as reactionary and overprotective of its own cultural moment as the Baby Boomers their self-proclaimed “slacker” era rebelled against. “I came of age in the 1990s, a decade that, bracketed by two architectural crumblings — of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Twin Towers in 2001 — now seems relatively irony-free.” What’s funny about Wampole’s seemingly random invocation of 9/11 is that, at the time, the moment was called “The End of Irony.” Clearly it was not, but the pronouncement that irony had ended probably wouldn’t have meant much if it wasn’t already seen at the time as a prominent cultural mood.
14. “The grunge movement was serious in its aesthetics and its attitude, with a combative stance against authority, which the punk movement had also embraced. In my perhaps over-nostalgic memory, feminism reached an unprecedented peak, environmentalist concerns gained widespread attention, questions of race were more openly addressed: all of the stirrings contained within them the same electricity and euphoria touching generations that witness a centennial or millennial changeover.” Christy Wampole could stand to a) acknowledge how quickly the LGBT rights movement has accelerated in the past decade and b) spend some time on Tumblr.