Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Reason for Irony

A response to The Stone article: How to Live Without Irony

credit: Leif Parsons

IRONY: “It pre-emptively acknowledges its own failure to accomplish anything meaningful. No attack can be set against it, as it has already conquered itself [do I even need to cite Anonymous here]. The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism […] to dodge responsibility…to secretly flee…”
-OR, are we just unconsciously recognizing, finally, the fallacy of causality?

Irony is a defense, “a shield against criticism” but it also a weapon, or rather, a tool. It is what we use to sift through the bullshit. It is what we use to shift the power structures.

Value? From whence, for whom? In the old clothesline paradox, as value recedes, retreats, packs it bags and gets on a plane to Iceland, we use irony to make sure it doesn’t come back home. Back home to the banks and the corporations.

Irony is a shield, not just for us the users, but for the value itself, the lambswool that hides the wolf, but, in this case, not to penetrate and attack, instead to escape, like Iranian-crisis hostages.

It is not us who are hiding. We are hiding something, a game of hot-potato, or hide-and-seek, or just keep-away, just long enough for Big Everything and Big Everyone to lose track, or lose interest.

MEANING: “Moving away from the ironic involves saying what you mean, meaning what you say and considering seriousness and forthrightness as expressive possibilities, despite the inherent risks.” Sounds as if being absurd were a cop-out, yet the author says just prior, that being a hipster entails processing “several stages of self-scrutiny”.

In a world where it is almost possible to predict the future, (Barabasi’s Bursts, Sandy and the success of meteorological prediction, election forecasting, speculative futures, financial engineering, predictive analysis, etc…), how else can you avoid being a foregone conclusion unless you completely make no sense.

Absurdity is the antidote to the probabilistic world. Interestingly, Hipsters ^here are referred to as Harlequins; John Twelve Hawks, in his 2005 future-fiction, also writes of  Harlequins’ using random number generators to help them make decisions randomly, thus subverting the Vast Machine (or as PKD called it, the Vast Active Living Information System).

If Big Data has given us anything thus far, it is “The Search for Meaning”, and if culture has offered any comfort, any insulation, as is its purpose, it is giving us new ways of meaning, new ways of being.

How do you make meaning out of absurdity? That, of course, is the new frontier. Artists, in all regards, are  always one step ahead; Hipsters, with their slieght-of-hand tautologies, giving us a glimpse of the future, ghettouflaged in junk data – an encrypted program for a ‘way of living’: a generation not-yet has the cipher.

partially unrelated image

As my own page for a few years now has read in its subtitle: ‘Clarification, Contradiction, and Confusion’, I somehow seemed to have fallen victim to this pre-emptive defense. Or have I?

I gave feliz navidad christmas cards to my family for years (we don’t speak Spanish). It is not because I fear dislike, however, it is because I’ve tried to give away all my fucks, like an anti-Scrooge McDuck.

If I do not speak in the language of the world around me, how can I live? And yet, as such, I write, for cultural critics of the future to point out with effortless accuracy, the Greta Garbo Lips of my portraits.
How to Live Without Irony

Bursts: Can Human Behavior Be Predicted And Controlled?
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, 2010

“Sandy shows storm-prediction progress”, Business of Federal Technology
Frank Konkel, The, Nov 05, 2012

[Argo, the 2012 film]

Stevens Institute, “Financial Engineering”

The Traveler, John Twelve Hawks, 2005

VALIS, Philip K. Dick, 1981

Greta Garbo Lips and the Van Meegeren effect, in:
The Forger’s Art, Denis Dutton, ed., 1983


U.S. Cities Relying on Precog Software to Predict Murder
KIM ZETTER 01.10.13
The software parses about two dozen variables, including criminal record and geographic location. The type of crime and the age at which it was committed, however, turned out to be two of the most predictive variables.
“People assume that if someone murdered then they will murder in the future,” Berk told the news outlet. “But what really matters is what that person did as a young individual. If they committed armed robbery at age 14 that’s a good predictor. If they committed the same crime at age 30, that doesn’t predict very much.”
-Richard Berk, criminologist at the University of Pennsylvania who developed the algorithm

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