Friday, February 10, 2012

Irony Marches On

Hammer Instructions by paynehollow
Hammer Instructions, a photo by paynehollow on Flickr.

One of my crazy senators (I'm from Kentucky - home of Mitch McConnell AND Rand Paul, so we stay entertained) offered some opinions at yesterday's CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) meeting.

I wanna tell you this: I always love coming to CPAC. And you probably know why: Conservatives are more simply more fun than liberals, and there is a reason for that, We’re always right.

Now the reason the liberals are always wringing their hands all the time - you notice that? They're always wringing their hands all the time - is they know we've got better arguments than they do. So they spend half their time thinking how to convince people that what's wrong is right, and the other half looking for conservatives to tear down or CPAC conferences to disrupt.

You all know the liberal playbook - here's how it works: Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, then polarize it. But rarely have we seen these kind of tactics employed with the kind of zeal we see today..."

Can't wait to see what Jon Stewart does with that. How about you all? Wanna take a shot?

How about:

It IS funny how he does not see the irony of his humorless, utterly-lacking-in-fun, flaccid, polarizing words, I'll give him that.

I've about decided that one thing that helps push people into conservatism must be a total lack of self-awareness in making ironic statements. Maybe there should be a fund to help fight irony illiteracy? Mitch could be their poster child...

I guess I better wait to see what Stewart has to say...


Marshall Art said...

Perhaps you could point out the irony to those of us you believe are incapable of seeing it. Are you saying that describing how libs polarize a target is itself a polarizing action?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Ugh. "I know I am, but what are you times infinity" isn't an argument.

Dan, you should check out Charlie Pierce. He's at CPAC, covering the various pardoned felons like Oliver North, dipsy-doodles like Michelle Bachmann, and past-their-expiration-date non-celebrities like Kirk Cameron.

Dan Trabue said...

In 1964, President Merkin Muffley had to defuse some tensions amongst his staff. He appealed to them, "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

That was irony. He was decrying mere fighting/petty arguing while sitting in a room where Big Leaders decided how best to kill the most of the enemy (ie, "real" fighting).

McConnell is unintentionally being ironic because...

1. He speaks of conservatives being the side of "fun," but does so in a way that is totally devoid of joy or good humor. Irony.

2. McConnell's self-stated idea of why they are "fun" is because they are "right," and there is no direct connection to being right and being fun. Irony.

3. He then proceeds to mock the liberals (and doing so in a way that is humorless) by saying, "they're always wringing their hands... ya notice that? They're always wringing their hands..." and they're doing so, McConnell says, because they "know" the conservatives are right, suggesting that they know they're wrong and continue to do what they do anyway, spending half their time trying to convince people that wrong is right and the other half tearing down conservatives. He said THAT as he sought to tear down liberals by his humorless, weak, unsupported mocking. Irony.

4. He then proceeds to try to tear down liberals by saying that liberals do this tearing down with a special, unprecedented zeal today. In other words, McConnell zealously tears down and polarizes liberals for doing (according to him) just what he is doing. Irony.

It was only a minute long statement and I can count at least for unintentional ironies in his comment. Does that help you see them?

John Farrier said...

I've about decided that one thing that helps push people into conservatism must be a total lack of self-awareness in making ironic statements.

I think that you could say this about some adherents of all ideologies. And as a libertarian, let me include libertarians among them.

The danger lies in being certain that you are always right.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

"The danger lies in being certain that you are always right."

Agreed. I begin with the assumptions that (a) I don't really have enough information on any given subject to be right; (b) anything I say about a given subject will likely change as new information arrives; and, (c) that doesn't mean I should be afraid to act on what information I do have.

I can live with being wrong. I couldn't live with being right and missing the opportunity to have acted on that.

Alan said...

"Perhaps you could point out the irony to those of us you believe are incapable of seeing it."


Uhm...If you were capable, then ... oh forget it. MA is like the MC Escher of irony...layers upon layers of self-reference.

And, yes, MA, before you ask, MC Escher is indeed a rapper you've never heard of.

Marshall Art said...


1. That you don't see the fun or humor in his remarks doesn't mean anything. For the record, as presented by you in your quote, I don't find it particularly fun or humorous either. At the same time, though one might prefer it, speaking of what or who is fun and/or humorous does not require fun or humor to be correct. No irony there, and certainly nothing that compares to the Dr. Srangelove quote

2. Definitely not an example of irony as your Strangelove quote illustrates it. He is merely stating an opinion of why they are more fun. You must first prove he and/or conservatives aren't right before you can dismiss his statement as false, and then establish why being right isn't more fun than being wrong.

3. So again, you're saying that to describe the tactics liberals use to polarize is itself polarizing. I guess it might be, but the distinction is in what is said about the subject. Is it gossip to point out how one who gossips is gossiping? I'm sure his intentions are that libs use falsehoods to polarize. This distinction belies any accusation of irony if he is speaking the truth. If he believes he is, that should be enough for you who believes that sincere belief is sufficient to avoid being called a sinner. Ooh! I'm getting the sense of true irony here!

4. A restatement of point 3.

What you have helped me to see is your own lack of understanding about irony. Ironic, isn't it?