— Susan Orlean.
Actually, Hamilton Nolan.
“Confidently unaware…”D.C. Muecke identifies three basic features of irony. First, irony depends on a double-layered or two-story phenomenon for its success. “At the lower level is the situation either as it appears to the victim of irony (where there is a victim) or as it is deceptively presented by the ironist.” The upper level is the situation as it appears to the reader or the ironist. Second, the ironist exploits a contradiction, incongruity, or incompatibility between the two levels. Third, irony plays upon the innocence of a character or victim. “Either a victim is confidently unaware of the very possibility of there being an upper level or point of view that invalidates his own, or an ironist pretends not to be aware of it.” (Source.)
The best part is people are actually saying this.
h/t Scripting News.
“To be crouched alongside numerous world player of the years while the windows of your bus are nearly getting smashed in is a strange old feeling.” — Macca describes el Clásico to the Guardian (image c/o the Guardian’s Sport Blog).
The Romney-Ryan tax plan, everybody!
Mitt Romney on Meet the Press this morning.
Steve Pearlstein, “Turned off from politics? That’s exactly what the politicians want.”
Forget about “undecided” voters. They don’t exist anyway (they’ve already decided). Follow the money instead. It’s all about the composition of the voter pool.
EDIT: Link and parentheses added.
Fake symmetry carries instructions for its own perpetuation.
Obama spoke to the American Society of Newspaper editors this week. Here’s what he said about fake symmetry in political journalism, after being asked this question: ”What can you say to the Americans who just want both sides to stop fighting and get some work done on their behalf?”
I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally. [The debate over deficit reduction] is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalence. I’ve got some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress who were prepared to make significant changes to entitlements that go against their political interests, and who said they were willing to do it. And we couldn’t get a Republican to stand up and say, we’ll raise some revenue, or even to suggest that we won’t give more tax cuts to people who don’t need them.
About the part in bold he is absolutely right. And I have seen no recognition by anyone in political journalism that Obama had a point.
But appreciate how well-defended the system is. For journalists, the whole point of “they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle” is to advertise how unswayed you are by either side. If one of those sides, Mr. Obama, tries to persuade you that you’ve entered into a destructive pattern—like, say, fake symmetry—and you listen to him, conceding that he might have a fair point, then… you’ve been swayed!
But remember the reason you got into the fake symmetry biz in the first place. To show that you cannot be swayed. Therefore the pattern teaches you how to discount criticism of the pattern. It’s kind of the obverse of “the system contains the seeds of its own destruction.” Fake symmetry is a system that comes with instructions for its own perpetuation.
Bonus link: Gloria Borger of CNN makes Obama’s point for him. Perfectly, I mean.
(Photo of Obama speaking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors by Steve Buttry. Used by permission.)
Annie Murphy Paul in a New York Times op-ed, “Your Brain on Fiction”.
This is why, as Martin Amis puts it, literature is a “war on cliche”; a war on heard words.
When I die, I hope people make off-color jokes about me on Twitter, and I hope some of those jokes (a lot of those jokes) are offensive. Because that’s what I did to people when they were alive. If you’re not comfortable with people saying shitty things about you when you die, then try not to be a despicable human being when you are alive. Like Andrew Breitbart was.
–- Michael Ian Black