90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Case Against Irony

It’s hip. It’s big. Does it keep us from living a full life?

Hipster (GabeB/Flickr)

Hipster (GabeB/Flickr)

Who knew that irony could be such a hot topic?  Christy Wampole wrote an essay saying we live in the age of deep irony, and it’s cutting us off from life.  Everything’s an ironic pose, she said.  In our humor, our fashion, our politics, our advertising, our hipsters.  Direct candor has become unbearable.

Rampant sarcasm, she charged, rules the day.  And it’s killing us.  Well, that drew a blast in return.  Lay off the hipsters.  Know thyself.  This world deserves some irony.  It’s a new sincerity that’s really the news.

This hour, On Point:  Our culture, and the power of irony.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christy Wampole, professor of French and Italian at Princeton University. She’s the author of a recent op-ed How to Live Without Irony.

Jonathan Fitzgerald, author of the forthcoming Not Your Mother’s Morals: How the New Sincerity Is Changing Pop Culture for the Better and the editor of Patrolmag.com.

From Tom’s Reading List

You can hear an archived On Point show about irony here.

New York Times “The hipster haunts every city street and university town. Manifesting a nostalgia for times he never lived himself, this contemporary urban harlequin appropriates outmoded fashions (the mustache, the tiny shorts), mechanisms (fixed-gear bicycles, portable record players) and hobbies (home brewing, playing trombone). He harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness. Before he makes any choice, he has proceeded through several stages of self-scrutiny.”

The Atlantic “Cultural critics love hypothesizing about hipsters. And certainly hipsters make for useful lab rats if you’re interested in the culture of young, gentrifying, trendy, affluent, and white college graduates. But it’s easy to let this hypothesizing go too far, and you get into trouble when you try to charge hipsters with representing the “ethos of our age.” They’re just kids making their way from young adulthood to the rest of their lives.”

Playlist

Losing my edge by LCD Soundstorm

I’m on a Boat by The Lonely Island

Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell by Shut Up, Dude Mixtape

Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley

Call Me Maybe by Fun

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 29, 2014
A visitor looks at the simple wooden cross that marks the grave of Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, in Laugharne, Wales, Sept. 17, 1963. (AP)

A century after his birth, poet and writer Dylan Thomas lives on. We look at his exuberant work and short life.

 
Oct 29, 2014
In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states. We’ll hear from both sides.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments