Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Double Irony

Making fun of people who ridicule is at least intellectually dangerous. If you care about being mistaken for the wrong team, that is.

PunditMom raises some interesting questions about the, shall we say conversation-stimulating new cover of the New Yorker. (I call it a double-irony because it makes you ask, 1, are they making fun of the Obamas, Muslims, or Black Panthers? Or, 2, of the people who infer an association?) Mocking the number one team is highly fashionable. The interesting observation PunditMom makes is that it's not only unfashionable to mock the number two or three team, but those who do are passionately censured. It's unfashionable *not* to censure said mockers.

Ethnically mixed societies at uneasy peace are nothing new of course. And so there must also be a long precedent to the effect PunditMom illuminates. Some sound reason for the rigid byzantine rules of political correctness. Here's a try at answering her question. Once ethnic groups begin commercial integration, insulting the disadvantaged groups must be stifled. Otherwise you got your insurrection. So when someone says "whatever you do, don't disrespect Muslims" they may be channeling subconscious instincts "don't encourage Muslim revolt". Think it's sincere? The best way to appear sincere is to believe it yourself. Just notice how rarely westerners get passionate about anything else Muslim. But hey, I'm really very content with selfishness doing more good than evil.

Back to the complexities of double-irony. After Obama is elected, I look forward to the doubly-ironic political cartoon (here and now I predict it) where U.S. Christians parade Obama as a conspicuous human shield on display for the benefit of the Muslim world, wearing a sandwich board "Lookit his name, will you? Now PLEASE don't hurt us!" I think it might be the shrewdest ever phantom campaign platform. Not for duping Muslims, but Christian voters.

Speaking of double-irony, reminds me of Nellie McCay. Is she mocking feminists? Or feminist bashers? Probably the latter, but I revel in not being sure. I adore ambiguous people because I think the rest are just up to something that will ultimately confuse me more.


readsalot said...

I think the magazine cover is mocking those who believe a "fist bump" is a terrorist symbol. Please. This is a stupid example and I'm using it merely because I love this show, but on The Office Andy (a very white non-terrorist character) did it quite a bit. And he blew it up. No one called him a terrorist or said that NBC was promoting terrorist culture.

Bob Stein said...

My kids will do a high-five with me but if I hint at a fist-bump then they will scream in horror, as if by completing one I could single-handedly make it permanently un-cool. So I must have more street debit than terrorists or The Office Andy.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Bob Stein, I think you may be a genius. And I am now going to become one of your number one fans in the hope that it will make me look intelligent by association. Or at least rub off on me, or something.

Bob Stein said...

Dear Schmancy, your kind words would bring me pure happiness except for two factors. One is a caveat I must as a gentleman return. That if my intelligence rubs off, so does my idiocy. (Prime e.g. arguing with a lady over her compliment.) Secondly, I do hope you'll forgive my skepticism, but the subject is after all irony, and I am as gullible as they come.