PLEDGE NOW
The Case Against Irony

It’s hip. It’s big. Does it keep us from living a full life?

Hipster (GabeB/Flickr)

Hipster (GabeB/Flickr)

Who knew that irony could be such a hot topic?  Christy Wampole wrote an essay saying we live in the age of deep irony, and it’s cutting us off from life.  Everything’s an ironic pose, she said.  In our humor, our fashion, our politics, our advertising, our hipsters.  Direct candor has become unbearable.

Rampant sarcasm, she charged, rules the day.  And it’s killing us.  Well, that drew a blast in return.  Lay off the hipsters.  Know thyself.  This world deserves some irony.  It’s a new sincerity that’s really the news.

This hour, On Point:  Our culture, and the power of irony.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christy Wampole, professor of French and Italian at Princeton University. She’s the author of a recent op-ed How to Live Without Irony.

Jonathan Fitzgerald, author of the forthcoming Not Your Mother’s Morals: How the New Sincerity Is Changing Pop Culture for the Better and the editor of Patrolmag.com.

From Tom’s Reading List

You can hear an archived On Point show about irony here.

New York Times “The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny.”

The Atlantic “Cultural critics love hypothesizing about hipsters. And certainly hipsters make for useful lab rats if you’re interested in the culture of young, gentrifying, trendy, affluent, and white college graduates. But it’s easy to let this hypothesizing go too far, and you get into trouble when you try to charge hipsters with representing the “ethos of our age.” They’re just kids making their way from young adulthood to the rest of their lives.”

Playlist

Losing my edge by LCD Soundstorm

I’m on a Boat by The Lonely Island

Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell by Shut Up, Dude Mixtape

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley

Call Me Maybe by Fun

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
RECENT
SHOWS
Jun 9, 2016

Newly-minted college graduates on the job hunt. We’ll look at who’s hiring, starting salaries, and strategies for landing that first job.

 
Jun 9, 2016

Europe, India and China, are taking on American tech giants over privacy, monopolies, and more. We’ll look at the global technology pushback against the U.S.A.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Jessica Valenti: ‘Objectification Is About Dehumanizing People’
Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

“There is some power in laying claim to the word victim.” — Jessica Valenti on the Stanford sexual assault case, and the importance of language.

More »
Comment
 
Why The ‘Roots’ Remake Matters (And What Stays The Same)
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016

The recent remake of “Roots” on the History Channel makes important changes, Morehouse College’s Stephane Dunn argues. But it also holds true to the original story.

More »
Comment
 
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone: ‘Trump’s Going To Be The Next President’
Monday, Jun 6, 2016

Longtime political consultant Roger Stone apologizes for his “two martini tweets,” even as he predicts Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president.

More »
Comment