Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Four for Supporters/Closereads Part Two)

Continuing from the previous installment, Mark and Wes conclude our read-through of the final section of The Concept of Irony, "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." How can a controlled level of irony help us gain health and truth? Read along with us, starting at PDF p. 324 in the middle. Closereads supporters (see patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy) can  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Three/Closereads Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get previous and future installments of this new podcast, including (soon) an additional part to this discussion.Subscribe to PEL to get other part 3's to PEL episodes, plus tons of other bonus recordings, and all of your PEL episodes ad-free. Mark and Wes Closeread the conclusion to Soren Kierkegaard's On the  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Three for Supporters/Closereads Part One)

Mark and Wes Closeread the conclusion to Soren Kierkegaard's On the Concept of Irony (1841), "Irony as a Controlled Element, the Truth of Irony." The discussion starts with the role of irony in good art, and then moves on to discuss the proper role of irony as an existential strategy in a well-grounded, thoughtful life. Read along with us, starting at PDF p. 321. You can  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Two)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free, plus tons of bonus content, including a third part to this discussion. Continuing from part one on On the Concept of Irony, we finish up with Socrates and say why according to K, his type of irony is better than that of his Romantic peers like Friedrich Schlegel. Sponsors: Learn about St. John's College at sjc.edu/pel.  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part One)

Subscribe to get parts 1 and 2 of this now, ad-free, plus tons of bonus content. Mark, Seth, and Dylan discuss On the Concept of Irony, With Continual Reference to Socrates, Soren Kierkegaard's master's thesis (1841). Sponsors: Get $250 off the #1 meal kit for eating well at GreenChef.com/pel250 (code pel250). Start selling online with a $1/month trial period at  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part Two for Supporters)

Continuing from part one on On the Concept of Irony, we finish up with Socrates and say why according to K, his type of irony is better than that of his Romantic peers like Friedrich Schlegel. The definition of irony that K finally gives us here is "infinite absolute negativity." Perhaps "global" would be a better word than "infinite," because the point is that it negates  Continue Reading …

Ep. 329: Kierkegaard on Irony (Part One for Supporters)

Mark, Seth, and Dylan discuss On the Concept of Irony, With Continual Reference to Socrates, Soren Kierkegaard's master's thesis (1841). Rather than simply telling us what irony is, K spends the first half of his book talking about all the ways that Socrates might have been ironic: Not only is he mythologized by Plato (and parodied by Aristophanes and according to K's  Continue Reading …

Irony and Political Rhetoric (Philosophical Issues Related to the #thatasshole Campaign, Part 3)

Start with the South Parkesque absurdist beginning of this series, if that's the kind of thing that you're into. Satire and Irony as Political Tools I've already written on humor for this series; shouldn't this topic have already been covered? Well, no. As Wikipedia tells us (citing Robert Corum writing about French satire), satire need not be actually funny. Animal Farm  Continue Reading …

Assessing Irony

I saw this Opinionator article from Christy Wampole in the New York Times: "How to Live Without Irony." It condemns the ironic lifestyle of Generation Y as terminally inauthentic, avoiding real commitments, making us (them) incapable of dealing with the world at hand and with each other. Central to Wampole's critique is a standard "I don't understand the younger generation"  Continue Reading …

Living Ironically: The Upshot

With a few comments on my last post to spur me on, here are some hopefully final thoughts on the ironic life for the moment. Irony is one of the characteristic social modes for Americans of at least the Generation X (that would be mine, i.e. 40ish) and younger. I can't speak for how pervasive it is demographically in terms of race, class, or education: I certainly read R.  Continue Reading …

More Examples of Irony as Epoché: Cake, Cliché and PEL Bombast

Following up on my last post, here are some more examples, some cultural and some personal, to make my point. 1. Consider Cake: Listen to Cake singing "I Will Survive." When this rendition came out in 1996, it was greeted as a "naughty cover." A parody of some sort. When I hear it now, I just think it's awesome, and not disrespectful of the original disco version at  Continue Reading …

Humor as Epoché: Irony and Hypothesis

Near the end of our humor episode, I threw out the truism that humor tends to deal with something we're uncomfortable with, like death, sex, or embarrassment itself. The example I gave was of someone like Ed Conard making jokes about being rich. Now, I've since seen Conard on the Daily Show, and while he was good natured enough, I see no evidence that he would have the  Continue Reading …

Irony in Music II: Jonathan Coulton

Following up on my post on Weezer and the follow-up discussion of irony, I submit for your consideration Jonathan Coulton: Despite this being a cover (well, lyrically), it's pretty typical of what I've heard of him: he sings pretty folk songs much like the many many individuals regularly highlighted by Performing Songwriter magazine, but with goofy lyrics much like They  Continue Reading …

Troll 2: Doubly Reflexive Irony and the Best Worst Movie

I recently sat through the Rifftrax of Troll 2 (see my previous post re. Rifftrax) and felt the need to relate my fascination with flavors of irony to the so-bad-it's-good movie experience. Just to clarify, the Rifftrax guys claim that they don't actually like bad movies. These movies are simply bad, so the humor in what they do is their addition, and comes in part (and this  Continue Reading …

Trainwrecks: Weezer on Irony

Reflections on the poptastic Rivers Cuomo. Watch on youtube. Weezer is one of my favorite bands, and as in the case of most of my favorite bands, I like all of its eras and permutations, whereas most critics and fans latch on to one (the first) era and are frustrated or disappointed by the rest. Strangely, I got into them late in the game: around 2004 or so; I didn't  Continue Reading …