Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Satanic Irony

Irony seems to have become one of our primarily, modern American modes of expression -- particularly among what might call the "hipster left". After all, we live in a time in which one of the most-watched political news and analysis shows is actually a parody show in which a comedian pretends to be running a news show, and actually does kind of report the news, but, you know: ironically. And another is a show in which another comedian pretends to be a rival conservative news host, but of course he's doing so ironically, to show how dumb those guys are. (Which -- ironically -- means that while in general mocking religious conservatives, via parody, Stephen Colbert is at times able to express his apparently sincere religious beliefs more plainly than any non-ironic mainstream media figure does.)

One of the ways that this ironic sensibility gets expressed is in taking the impression one's opponent has of one, acting it out, and thus thinking that one has made one's opponent look stupid. One can only assume it's some dynamic along these lines that led to the latest story out of the Texas abortion fight: Apparently in response to pro-life protesters singing religious songs such as Amazing Grace, their pro-choice opponents took to shouting "Hail Satan!"

See, it's ironic because those religious freaks think that people who just want to stand up for women's rights are spawn of Satan. So these courageous fighters for women's rights shout "Hail Satan" and the religious wingnuts get angry, and...

Yeah. As you can see, this goes nowhere but stupid.

I'm sure the "Hail Satan" shouters don't believe that Satan actually exists. They probably just think they're getting a rise out of their opponents by playing into negative stereotypes. But words and actions mean things. I suppose it would be hard to convince these people that they shouldn't call on Satan, since they probably don't think he exists, but nonetheless choosing to do transgressive things has a real cost and causes real harm even if someone thinks she's only be "ironic". Frankly I'm glad that irony does have the following on my side that it does on the other. I don't think it would be a good refutation of liberal claims that conservatives are racists of Nazis for people to go around in SS uniforms or stage mock clan rallies. That wouldn't be ironic, it would just be wrong. And so is this.

Or, looked at another way, maybe it's just truth in advertising.

1 comment:

bearing said...

On my Twitter feed

-- which reaches as far as left-center in general and includes people I think of as Well-Meaning And Sensible Liberals, and therefore includes a number of people who tweet and retweet moderate pro-choice sentiments

--there was evidence of a fair amount of dismay at, and mockery of, the loud folks at the capital.

I sometimes wonder if we can't, for purely pragmatic and political reasons, form a coalition with people who want to keep first-trimester abortions legal but would like to see bans on late-term abortion, bans on public funding of abortion, conscience protections for health care workers, and parental consent laws. The number of people in that middle area is quite large. I don't think we use the slippery slope to our advantage quite as much as we could.