Chic Ironic Bitterness
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Introduction: You Are Being Sarcastic, Dude
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I remember verbatim the above three lines from an episode of
1. Good Morning, America
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Rosenblatt continued by unleashing a hefty amount of anger against “the vain stupidity of ironists” who try to see through everything. There will be no room in this new and chastened time for “columnists” and “pop-culture makers,” people who think that they’re “oh-so-cool.”* ...
2. Excursus on the Genesis of Irony as a Worldview
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Nostalgia often plays a role in how we relate to the present, how we identify the present’s outstanding characteristics, even as one of relentless appropriation. But this extended note is a sidetrack: irony is also a way that we are relating to the present—a way that keeps some unpleasant realities at bay.1 ...
3. European Romanticism Ushers in New Meanings of Irony
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Entirely new, overarching implications of irony that escaped the confines of unreflective, if very effective, usage were ushered in with the unraveling of some Enlightenment hopes in Europe. Continuing religious conflicts and persecution, political fragmentation, and Napoleonic sorties contributed to the faint sounds of European romanticism, ...
4. Irony and Civic Trust
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Since the inception in the late eighteenth century of serious dialogue about irony as a social attitude, it has been conceived of as corrosive to social life, seen as an ethical show-stopper, brandished as a poor—if not impossible—neighbor and confidante. This belief has often originated from the perspective of a religiously rooted ...
5. Trust, Civil Society, and the Social Contract
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The discussion about civic trust brings other concerns with it. It assumes certain values that irony was conceived of as eradicating: trust, sincerity, authenticity, and seriousness. While irony does indeed seem to trump these values, as an attitude it hides what it means under the guise of its opposite. ...
6. The Descent of Inner Dependence
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There is a larger picture prior to the modernist model of how irony functions within the subject; it’s also a model essential to the role of the self in the social contract. Romanticism requires a certain view of the self to operate. Civility operates upon the same logic of social distancing. ...
7. Inward, Christian Soldiers
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Long before September 11, of course, the idea that American society has been in decline because of a remove of citizens’ private lives from the public sphere, a lack of commitment to one’s public duties and responsibilities, has worried many interested in the health of the social body. ...
8. Conclusion (i.e. Everything Summed Up Nicely)
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Attempts to pull irony and some contrary element apart, to oppose “irony” and “earnestness,” “sincerity,” or “moral values”—as the debate over the “end of irony” attempts to do—will never work. Not only have political figures and leaders of business and public life been repeatedly shown to be corrupt and hypocritical ...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2009