on doing things ironically

If there is a keeper of the great list of things real men do and do not do, then a long-standing entry  on the “do” side of the ledger must be they act with purpose and a more recent entry on the “do not” side must be act ironically.

As the parent of a teenage daughter, I have become well acquainted with the destruction through abuse of the word “literally”.  “Ironic” now seems to the next word to join the unhappy band of perfectly good words destroyed and lost.

As far as I can see, to do something “ironically” is some form of sad prop comedy which juxtaposes some artifact or statement which is at odds with the herdspeak of the moment but which everyone in the herd apparently knows is a joke. Or is it? Example – a few days back I was talking with a few young hipster-type folks at work and one of them was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap. I, being someone who refuses to believe that President Trump is the cartoon villain the media make him out to be, offered some kind kind of icebreaker along the line that his hat made a broader statement than what was printed on it (and isn’t that the purpose of all clothes?).

Well, the young fellow was most indignant “Can’t you see I’m wearing it ironically” he sneered.  No, frankly, I couldn’t – because wearing something and hoping that the observer has the requisite clairvoyance to impute an opposite meaning is wearing it moronically. Although, one could argue that making me think he supported Trump as opposed to his actual disdain for the man was actually ironic.  But that wasn’t why he was wearing it.

I was told recently I wear bow-ties ironically. I’m not even going to ask what that means.

The point is your style is your message, and what you wear speaks in some part to that.  Dress purposefully to communicate your values, speak purposefully to give point to those values and  live purposefully to further those values. There’s enough bullshit in the world without people who think they are cleverer than they actually are adding to it.

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