Good Morning, America tional anesthesia. The idea of survival of externalities and faltering metaphysics, dealt with by a recourse to subjective irony, has become for some commentators—usually from the realms of philosophy and the other humanities—the talisman of the postmodern age; and for the critics of the liberal, secular mind—a social corrosive. Norton, , 94— Yet this is its allure. What is the need to dig further for a meaning that exposes base, self-interested motivations and the relating of contemporary life to that of extreme survival, when the base meaning is already showing?
If power is nakedly presenting itself to the understanding, when the wizard is out from behind the curtain, what is the impetus to uncover? Out of this cultural boredom comes the urge no longer to uncover, but to destroy. Ironic detachment is a way to fend off that to be invading the self, a subjecwhich is felt to be invading the self. It is, in short, one of chief defenses of the modern, secular, agnostic mind. The term in noun form belies its elusive nature. It observes that irony as a means of social engagement is the only way to appropriately deal with the world in a postcolonial era.
The attitude this entails—and which the author wholeheartedly recommends—is that of irony. It allows them to tease foreigners, without the foreigners realising they are being teased. All the diplomatic proprieties can be observed—but the Brits can still feel quietly superior. In days of yore British superiority was proven by force of arms. Now the point is made with a joke, and a quiet, knowing smile.
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Irony is a distinctly post-imperial quality. While irony aimed at foreigners may seem unpleasantly supercilious. It reveals itself as a secret wrapped within acceptable expression. It is the sublimation of a sense of moral, corporal, or intellectual dominance, or, at least, echoes of its past. As some of the critics above attest, this attitude now roams free. While lending evidence of this inner rebelliousness toward authority or claims to noble ideals, ironic insight can provide a muscular counterweight to the dominant culture and politics of an age; it challenges power assumed natural, or, more poignantly, that overreaches its authority.
Truth and meaning in the maze of irony: A glance at Muriel Spark’s fiction
Most importantly, the ironic mentality is rooted in a belief that individuals have the legitimacy to challenge those structures of power. It has no built-in politics. All that is needed for irony to function is some kind of social fuel, a moral situation, a charged existential moment—and a knowing audience. Irony in this sense is amoral, even cynical.
Either side of a power relationship can use irony to skewer nearly any aspect of life on Earth. It depends upon who picks up its ammunition. The ironist, on the other hand, retains a nervous charm about his alienation; he does so because he holds on to an entrenched hope that the cynic has long since disavowed.
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Self-Consciousness, IV, p. A worthwhile note on the extent to which Might captured something: on the blog www. Then, I called the subscription line and left a long message about how Might had changed my life and I just wanted them to know that. In Florida. Salvation is possible. Good Morning, America 61 gloomy facts, tinged with a taste of defeat.
The cynic is a failed optimist. He has given up entirely on performing a social role and on hope in general. Where the ironist remarks, the cynic disregards. He speaks truths more directly, because he has less at stake at their disbelief.
He sees himself on the side of reality. But his honesty is almost always painful because his assumptions about the operating principles of the social world are brutish. He likewise conceives of himself as the most authentic kind of person because he expresses truths that others are either too ignorant to know or are timid to reveal. Cynicism thus counts as positively unspoken but commonly known political wisdom.
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Realpolitik is life. When power is naked, noblesse They mean business. When power is naked, noblesse oblige becomes far less convincing—or necessary. We know this better today than we have in some time. It is truly no wonder at all that survivalism in pop culture has become so, er, popular.
Not only have some political narratives in America for several decades been trying to create a nation of strident individuals, but the accompanying corollary to this idea has of late been accentuated: if there are only individuals, they must be bound in a state of constant competition, toiling against each other under the frightful vision that everyone else is out to beat them.
There is no rest, no consolation. Moreover, he needs it. He is more publicly bubbly than morose, more skittish than weighty—indeed, a charming depressive. He holds secret melancholy about the world hidden behind a facade of joviality and sarcasm. The ironist realizes the necessity of roles, though he is pained by their awkward contingency, particularly if taken to be real.
There are no more illusions. The ends justify the means, at all costs and regardless. Nothing less than absolute implementation of the will, and ideally in plain sight, is accepted. If television advertisements have anything to say about the Zeitgeist, then a recent Nike commercial says it all. Flashing to different sports stars in a totally black room lit by a stark overhead light, each player, in slow motion, goes from helmetless to helmeted, unmasked to masked, each version of which is increasingly and violently defensive: spikes, barbs, some in the shapes intimating armor or monsters.
Indeed, this is defense of the head, of the seat of the Western self, against the violence perceived to be done against it. And indeed, this is the essential point in modern cynicism: the ability of its bearers to work—in spite of anything that may happen, and especially, after anything might happen. A certain chic bitterness provides an undertone to its activity. For cynics are not dumb, and every now and then they see the nothingness to which everything leads. Though young people are far from dead, it is oddly a gallows humor we share. His cultural references to the immediately preceding decades, currently seen in the form of trucker hats, retro fashion, and massive s Jackie O sunglasses, are a readily available cultural expression of nostalgic longing, a longing for a time, like most all nostalgia, that was far more imperfect than we remember it, if we do at all.
The only way to Anchorman. It looked like a disguise or camp but was not. Quickly realizing the realness of the moustache, I did not make a knee-jerk comment about the moustache. What had happened to him? It was weird. I had to try hard not to stare at the nonironic moustache. No, sir, that moustache was real, which made the man who had it, just for a split second, not. Good Morning, America win is to play by the unspoken or cloaked Machiavellian rules, which, depending on the comparative power of the cynic, he will either perform in politics or live out in everyday life—each with equal vindictiveness, sometimes with a coy smirk to those who share in his knowledge.
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When cynicism is found on the side of power, in a public role, these coy smirks are more easily visible to a public well habituated to descrying them. The worldly realism of the master cynic comes from the wish to save face while getting his hands dirty.
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This face often goes together with polished manners. But this kind of personality is no longer quite so cliquish. These attitudes have been at it, for better and worse, for some time.