I'm currently trying to write an essay for Express Media's Voiceworks. I've got like two and half weeks to get it down and it's still utterly shit.
It's kinda vaguely dealing with post-irony and what I see as a crucial need, on behalf of a lot of young people, whether intellectually or not, to engage more deeply into what I want to call sentimentalism. Or, to put it another way, to have the balls to admit that some things in life matter. To accept that there are certain things we can say we love, that we care about, that we ultimately fucking need, without ironist sentiment causing us to look down at our shoes, embarassed, that we were stupid enough to let people in. Basically, we should be brave enough to say or feel certain things, without being scared of the jeers, of the scoffs, of the general opinion that we are so lame.
I don't know. Maybe I'm a recovering ironist. Irony has always been the tool with which I felt most comfortable, wether it be in a social or academic setting. Here again you can read the influence David Foster Wallace has had on me. Those who point to his 'look at me, look how smart I am' schtick have entirely missed the point. For Wallace, fiction was about "what it was to be a fucking human being" to quote him directly. As someone who has been raised on the ironist tools of the post-modernisits, Wallace suddenly saw the potential damage a culture based purely on irony could inflict. Rather than highlighting the limitations of literature, art, music, general day to day life through irony (the beginning of which was, admittedly, constructive insofar as it highlighted shortcomings of these things) perhaps we would be better of creating the new worlds by which to live.
I guess I just have this overwhelming sense that almost my entire day is caught up in this disgusting loop of online in jokes, failed face to face run ins, and a lot of time spent by myself thinking about this loop, the entire engine of this life being irony, sarcasm and, in some case, brutal rudeness. It's all fun and games of course but one finds that, after a while, yeh you have shared some laughs, but you haven't really achieved anything with your day/week/month/god damn year. All you have done is, quite effectively, deconstructed certain aspects of your life through various mediums. This makes you very aware of the limitations of your existence, but fails utterly at helping you construct new meaning through which to make something that truly resonates as crystal clear true.
This is kind of like the point at which a lot of people say well yeh james that is obviously true, just get off the internet, or start writing, or read more. Take control for fucks sake.
This is all well and good until your realise to what extent irony has entered the very crux of your life, the abandonment of which would probably result in you losing a good deal of friends and activities, such is the nature in which you would have to end this particular behaviour. There's this sense of entrapment wherein you realise irony has shaped and in some sense hollowed out your life. To admit that certain things matter more to you in life than irony allows is to admit that there is much, much faller to fall should everything, for want of a better term, not end up ok.
The other day I was trying to explain this to Charlie and she replied with the true but terrifying prospect: 'you'll sort it out James...or, um...maybe you wont....I'm not sure.'
Pretty sure this blog is done.