Irony in the News
|Surprisingly long article in Friday's NY Times about the possible death of irony. |
Do you think its author, Andy Newman, has a working definition of irony, or, more harshly, knows what it means and how to spot it?
Reading it over, I find no firm evidence suggesting he has or does. The closest the article comes to a definition is in a quotation from Roger Rosenblatt, who said, "Irony is a diminishing act — the incongruity between what’s expected and what occurs," but he then goes on to describe irony as basically "clever comparisons." That definition is a diminishing act itself.
Newman also did a Nexis search for "irony," and he interviewed several other columnists, some writers, and a stand-up comic. And he interviewed someone from The Onion and tried to interview someone from SNL.
But the article shows no evidence of having even consulted Wikipedia, which has a pretty good entry on the concept, one that Newman would have benefited from reading.
I feel like this is journalistic hack work at its best. Hear about something semi-controversial that someone semi-famous said (Didion). Do a Nexis search (in this case, one with methodological flaws the author recognizes but is too inept to do anything about). Interview some people (in this case, journalists and humorists). Report what they say, regardless of whether what they say makes sense or is on topic. Done. No thinking required.