A brilliant and timely reflection on irony in contemporary American
culture "This book is a powerful and persuasive defense of
sophisticated irony and subtle humor that contributes to the
possibility of a genuine civic trust and democratic life. R. Jay
Magill deserves our congratulations for a superb job!"--Cornel
West, University Professor, Princeton University "A well-written,
well-argued assessment of the importance of irony in contemporary
American social life, along with the nature of recent misguided
attacks and, happily, a deep conviction that irony is too important
in our lives to succumb. The book reflects wide reading, varied
experience, and real analytical prowess."--Peter Stearns, Provost,
George Mason University "Somehow, Americans--a pragmatic and
colloquial lot, for the most part--are now supposed to speak the
Word, without ironic embellishment, in order to rebuild the civic
culture. So irony's critics decide it has become 'worthy of "moral"
condemnation.' Magill pushes back against this new conventional
wisdom, eloquently defending a much livelier American sensibility
than the many apologists for a somber 'civic culture' could ever
acknowledge."--William Chaloupka, Chair and Professor, Department
of Political Science, Colorado State University The events of 9/11
had many pundits on the left and right scrambling to declare an end
to the Age of Irony. But six years on, we're as ironic as ever.
From "The "Simpsons"" and "Borat" to "The "Daily Show"" and "The
"Colbert Report,"" the ironic worldview measures out a certain
cosmopolitan distance, keeping hypocrisy and threats to personal
integrity at bay. "Chic Ironic Bitterness" is a defense of this
detachment, an attitudethat helps us preserve values such as
authenticity, sincerity, and seriousness that might otherwise be
lost in a world filled with spin, marketing, and jargon. And it is
an effective counterweight to the prevailing conservative view that
irony is the first step toward cynicism and the breakdown of
Western culture. R. Jay Magill, Jr., is a writer and illustrator
whose work has appeared in "American Prospect, American Interest,
Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, New
York Times, Wall Street Journal," and "Print, "among" "other
periodicals and books. A former Harvard Teaching Fellow and
Executive Editor of "DoubleTake," he holds a Ph.D. in American
Studies from the University of Hamburg in Germany. This is his
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