View Full Version : best writing on irony?

19-02-2005, 01:14 PM
I'm writing an article for my student paper about how people use this word as a licence to do/think anything (e.g. someone at the Student Union organised a 'Colonials and Natives' party, defended it as 'ironic' in the student paper, then later on defended it as 'post-ironic'), can anyone recommend anything I should read (ideally on the web)? Cheers.

19-02-2005, 01:58 PM
Modesty ought to forbid this... but modesty's overrated:

19-02-2005, 02:39 PM
which uni?

19-02-2005, 03:41 PM
Cambridge, the paper's called Varsity.

20-02-2005, 04:02 PM
Rilke is magnificent on irony - but i'm not completely sure it fits in with our modern take on the word.

"Irony: Don't let yourself be controlled by it, especially during uncreative moments. When you are fully creative, try to use it, as one more way to take hold of life. Used purely, it too is pure, and one needn't be ashamed of it; but if you feel yourself becoming too familiar with it, if you are afraid of this growing familiarity, then turn to great and serious objects, in front of which it becomes small and helpless. Search into the depths of Things: there, irony never descends - and when you arrive at the edge of greatness, find out whether this way of perceiving the world arises from a necessity of your being. For under the influence of serious Things it will either fall away from you (if it is something accidental), or else (if it is really innate and belongs to you) it will grow strong, and become a serious tool and take its place among the instruments which you can form your art with."

i'm sure there is more in the book itself


there is also a good essay on irony - its current use/overuse and the confusion which it engenders (not least because no-one can seem to agree on its definition and ,ironically, everyone seems to use the word wrongly now - at the back of the paperback edition of Dave Eggers "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering genius". (MacSweeneys haters, please only criticise this essay if you have actually read it, thanks). It's well worth checking out but i doubt it's available online.

20-02-2005, 04:14 PM

"Irony, he wrote, is a corrosive, world-weary habit of mind, "a quiet refusal to believe in the depth of relationships, the sincerity of motivation, or the truth of speech -- especially earnest speech....

...irony in Mr. Purdy's sense is something different -- less a way of conveying hidden meaning than of undermining meaning altogether. Irony for him is an attitude -- a bad attitude...

..What troubles Mr. Purdy about this kind of irony is that in its extreme forms it can lead to alienation and indifference; it can become a substitute for action, and even for thought, and amounts to a passive acceptance of things as they are."

OK _ i haven't read this so i don't know how good or awful it is but it looks like it may be useful to you.


21-02-2005, 02:52 PM
ned man if you're at cambridge you could do worse than get up the university library and bash it into the terminals

failing that there must be a couple of geniuses in the english or philosophy departments who would give you an hour on it!

24-02-2005, 02:57 PM
Hi Ned, this may be of help...

15-07-2005, 03:43 PM
from k-punk's CCRU text:

Hip hop and jungle work on the body, not in the overlit luminotopological epistemoscapes of necrospective mummification, but in the dark zones where you don't have a chance to think about what things would mean before they happen(emphasis added)

What a great phrase! Necrospective mummification! Sheesh!

19-07-2005, 03:22 AM
Guardian article on irony here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,985375,00.html).

Frankly, I'd avoid another rehashing of the "ironic culture" argument and move straight on to abusing the people you dislike.

"Post-ironic"? Dear God, if a group of privileged, white adolescents can't get pissed and dress up as darkies what is the world coming to? It's political correctness gone mad.

"Yes, your honour, I did stab her in the face but I did it ironically, don't you see?"

N.B. It is a true but deeply uninteresting fact that I used to write for Alexis Petredis at Varsity in the early-90s. Whilst many people on this board seem to hate him with a passion, he really wasn't that bad. Loved himself a bit (and gave himself lots of space to write about pretty much nothing) but not actively evil. I can categorically say I never saw him eat a baby.