Tagged: Irony

Updates on the State of Public Discourse

This morning I noticed two news items that tell a very consistent story, a story that would seem ominous, were we not all resigned by now to the irreversible trajectory of our civilizational decline. Since, on the other hand, we all know (I presume) that we are currently and inevitably cascading into the darkest night — though not necessarily the longest one —...

What Is An Activist?

An activist is one who is so oppressed and tortured by his immoderate feelings that his only means of relief is to disperse his pain among others, demanding that everyone be oppressed and tortured by his (that is, the activist’s) feelings. An activist is one who is utterly without intellectual reserve, philosophic detachment, or the natural sense of irony born of learning to...

Warmed Over, or When Donald Trump is Too Clever for You…

Joseph Conrad said that “women, children, and revolutionaries hate irony, which is the negation of all saving instincts, of all faith, of all devotion, of all actions.” To challenge Conrad’s broad judgment of women and children (“Wasn’t the juvenile Jane Austen a most clever ironist?”) is perhaps to prove his point: One mark of a “true believer” is his inability to take a joke...

Reflections from Limbo: The Death of Irony

Irony is overplayed and lost when its implicit sense comes too far forward and reveals itself as the foreground meaning, hence obliterating the critical distance the ironist requires in order to achieve his defining purposes. For the defining purposes of irony, pursued to varying degrees of emphasis by all ironists, are humor and philosophy–neither humor nor philosophy pursued independently of the other, but the...