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Are You Living the Ironic Life?

the question that Princeton professor Christy Wampole asked. She noted
that, "if irony is the ethos of our age – and it is – then the hipster
is our archetype of ironic living."

But before you dismiss this as just another one of my rants against hipsters,
Wampole’s article is a bit deeper than that. She prodded us to inspect
our lives to see if we’re just one step away from becoming hipsters ourselves
and whether it’s possible to be true to one self. Basically, to live a
non-ironic life:

Where can we find other examples of nonironic living? What does it
look like? Nonironic models include very young children, elderly people,
deeply religious people, people with severe mental or physical disabilities,
people who have suffered, and those from economically or politically
challenged places where seriousness is the governing state of mind.
My friend Robert Pogue Harrison put it this way in a recent conversation:
“Wherever the real imposes itself, it tends to dissipate the fogs
of irony.”

Observe a 4-year-old child going through her daily life. You will not
find the slightest bit of irony in her behavior. She has not, so to
speak, taken on the veil of irony. She likes what she likes and declares
it without dissimulation. She is not particularly conscious of the scrutiny
of others. She does not hide behind indirect language. The most pure
nonironic models in life, however, are to be found in nature: animals
and plants are exempt from irony, which exists only where the human

Read more over at The New York Time’s The Opinion Pages: Link
(Illustration: Leif Parsons)

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November 19th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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