I was speaking with someone this weekend about the value of moderation: swinging too far in one direction almost guarantees an equally strong reaction toward the other direction. I believe that goes for anything from religion to substance use and even to generosity (but how can one be too generous???).
Anyway, I like and agree with this article in the New York Times‘ opinion section about the defensive use of irony that defines the hipster class – but I only like it because it was followed by a tempered response from a reader called Gemli from Boston, who tellingly identifies him/herself 30 years older than the author.
So I won’t quote the author – you can read that yourself – but I’ll quote the commenter since this is the internet. Read more below…
I would hate to live in a world that was so full of hipsters that I felt the need to write a column about them. I’m thirty years older than Ms. Wampole, so maybe the view from up here is different from hers, but I hardly ever encounter the people she’s talking about, except maybe as comic figures in sitcoms.
The fact that fundamentalists are never ironic is to me the highest recommendation for irony that I can imagine. Irony is the basis of humor, which has a way of illuminating truth and puncturing pomposity. I would happily live surrounded by hipsters if they crowded out the self-important scolds and all the rest who are dreary, humorless and rigid. I suppose people who purposefully adopt an ironic worldview might be equally dreary, especially if they don’t get their own joke.
There are a lot of interesting ideas in this compactly written column. There’s not a wasted word; but I found I had to come up for air every few sentences, possibly because it treats the ironic hipster without a bit of irony itself. But that’s just me. If I had friends who used phrases like “dissipate the fogs of irony,” I’d roll my eyes so high in their sockets I’d have to get them surgically put back in place.