The ironic frame functions as a shield against criticism. The same goes for ironic living. Irony is the most self-defensive mode, as it allows a person to dodge responsibility for his or her choices, aesthetic and otherwise. To live ironically is to hide in public. It is flagrantly indirect, a form of subterfuge, which means etymologically to “secretly flee” (subter + fuge). Somehow, directness has become unbearable to us.

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Ironic living is a first-world problem. For the relatively well educated and financially secure, irony functions as a kind of credit card you never have to pay back. In other words, the hipster can frivolously invest in sham social capital without ever paying back one sincere dime.

How to Live Without Irony – absolutely fantastic NYT op-ed by Princeton’s Christy Wampole.

Contrast ironic living with Joan Didion’s timeless meditation on what character means, then counter it with some advice on how to live a sincere life of purpose.

(via explore-blog)