Sometimes we find it wearisome that everybody is so ironic. We feel like saying — stop saying everything in quotes. Don’t say ” ” Doctor Who is such a great show” “. Just say it was a great show, or don’t. We wish, on other words, for a world in which all communication was sincere.
Be careful what you wish for. Tigers eating you are perfectly sincere. So are tapeworms eating you from the inside. So, in a certain way of thinking about it, are liars. A tiger pretending to be a bunch of grass in order to pounce and eat you is sincere. He is just tricking you. In a sense even the internal voices within us that stifle our lives through repeating various half-truths that others would like us to believe are sincere. Coca Cola sincerely wants you to think its product “adds life” even though, in reality, it makes their stockholders money by killing you.
Irony is the weapon against deadly sincerity, the kind that kills us outright, and the kind that burrows into our minds and eats us up from within. There are at least three musical instruments playing all the time in contemporary culture — irony, fake sincerity (bullshit), and prosaic speech.
When we want a world free of irony we have to be careful that we also want a world free of irony’s duelling and dancing partner — sincerity that is setting out to devour us.
Would we wish for a world in which no one was ironic, because nobody was trying to hurt us with their sincerity, and we didn’t have to defend ourselves ever, because everybody loved us perfectly all the time.
Sure. Who wouldn’t want that?