It seems to me that irony has perhaps had its day. Authenticity is now in vogue. It’s a shame. I love irony. No really, I love irony.
Maybe it is Twitter’s fault. When people tweet something ironic, there’s a wee flutter and a panic. It’s safer to tweet sincerely. Less libelous, probably
It’s sad though. Irony is how I get through life. If I am stuck in a dull meeting about how to do something better/well/more relevantly … internally (and sometimes externally) I get the giggles because of the irony.
There are some forms of sincerity that bother me. The most grating is the kind of sincerity that presenters look for on ‘talent’ shows – they need the poor old contestant to say “It means the world to me and I’ll be gutted if I have to leave the process”. The presenter is particularly pleased if there is a demonstration of what they call “emotion”. Apparently emotion is a crowd puller. Especially if it is sincere.
I have a problem with schmaltz.
If I was to say something schmaltzy, I would be being ironic. Unless I was being sincere, in which case people would think I was being ironic, which would be ironic. It’s a win-win.
So saying, most of the time I mean what I mean and that’s what I say and I am not being ironic. People just assume that that can’t be what I actually think so they think I might be being ironic, or pulling a double bluff.
But, I have noticed in the media of late there has been a wee theme emerging about authenticity winning out over artifice. That could explain the swing from fictional drama to ‘reality’ TV (or was that not really to do with low budgets?).
There are, apparently, worries in the Art world that the age of Art might be almost over – as anything can be seen anywhere; anything can be replicated and broadcast globally in seconds. The defence of Art is that the original piece of art exists somewhere in a time or place as a framed picture, a sculpture or an installation or whatever – and that replications or pictures taken of art are never the same as the original.
What is valued is the ‘real thing’; the authentic version.
Although, I have to admit, when I saw the Mona Lisa when I was about fifteen or so, it just looked like the Mona Lisa. Any potential wow-factor was completely gone because I knew what it was going to look like, and that’s what it looked like. In fact, the most important striking visual in the room was not the painting itself, but the robustness of the glass case and the crowds of people all squishing up together to see the real thing.
I wonder if this perceived swing towards all things authentic are a subconscious defence against society’s rejection of ‘truth’. Truth was too definite for people. If you had truth, then some people would be wrong so we CAN’T HAVE THAT, now, can we…?
At least with sincerity and authenticity we can have real and true things intended by the speaker/artist/director. And this seems to be what society is after these days, or so the media would seem to suggest, from my very random intake from it in the last few weeks.
Do you thrive on irony or does it unsettle you so you don’t know what’s what? Or do you like spades to be spades?
Or do you like a spade to be a piece of installation art that you can take a picture of and tweet?
*thinks, this is one of these posts that I’ll think no one will understand and winces at the thought of the tumbleweed it’ll generate in cyberspace*
POSTSCRIPT: I am now enjoying finding it ironic that I used art as an example of something authentic, when, at best, it is a representation…