We've Been Arguing About Irony vs.Sincerity for Millennia The Atlantic
Christy Wampole's "How To Live Without Irony," published in the New York Times on November 17, 2012, pinpoints the newest version of this ironic interrogation. Her 20-something students, the youngest of hipsters, are the latest rendition of the Incroyables and Merveilleuses—social performers of the first degree who, wittingly or not, are saying something about our own age, as Wampole herself acknowledges: "If irony is the ethos of our age—and it is—then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living." She goes on to say that the hipster is not alone in his or her irony; he is rather a manifestation of the irony that pervades the whole of life for those born in the 1980s or 1990s—particularly for middle-class white people. Wampole was not bashing hipsters (that's been going on since they appeared on the scene, in 1999); she was rather lamenting their ironic lives, or "Ironic Living," now with the caps, as she clarified in an interview with New York Magazine shortly after her article garnered a landslide of response. Such a life, she said, was colored by "constant hyperbolic pitch that maintains itself in ... speech, and ... interactions [that] consist often of a sustained string of ironic utterances that dissolve into total negation." Totally!