Ellen Glasgow - H P Lovecraft - Michael J Fox - Eric Idle - Oscar Wilde - James Branch Cabell - George Carlin - Robertson Davies - David Gross - Soren Kierkegaard - Percy Whipple - Jonathan Meades TV -
A tragic irony of life is that we so often achieve success or financial independence after the chief reason for which we sought it has passed away. Ellen Glasgow
From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent. H P Lovecraft, Tales of H P Lovecraft
I love the irony. I’m perceived as being really young and yet I have the clinical condition of an old man. Michael J Fox
Nobody gets irony any more, as we are now living in the post-ironic age. Once George Bush gets a library, our irony is dead. Eric Idle
Irony is wasted on the stupid. Oscar Wilde
Time changes all things and cultivates even in herself an appreciation of irony. James Branch Cabell, The Certain Hour, 1916
Irony deals with opposites; it has nothing to do with coincidence. George Carlin, Brain Droppings, 1997
The ironist is not bitter, he does not seek to undercut everything that seems worthy or serious, he scorns the cheap scoring-off of the wisecracker. He stands, so to speak, somewhat at one side, observes and speaks with a moderation which is occasionally embellished with a flash of controlled exaggeration. He speaks from a certain depth, and thus he is not of the same nature as the wit, who so often speaks from the tongue and no deeper. The wit’s desire is to be funny; the ironist is only funny as a secondary achievement. Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man, 1994
One of the earliest and best statements of this counter-trend [challenging the concept of irony] can be found in Hegel’s Aesthetik (written in the 1820s, published in 1835). With pointed and polemical language Hegel argued that because irony sees the world as fundamentally ambiguous, it tends to condone an attitude of ‘irresolution’ and ‘loss of seriousness’ which inevitably leads to escapism and irresponsibility. Furthermore, Hegel contended, the ironic stance is shamelessly elitist. Since the ironist believes the world is too complicated to change, he feels justified in withdrawing into a ‘god-like geniality’. From this perspective above the fray, the privileged ‘artistic’ few, the cognoscenti, are inclined to ‘look down upon the ordinary man as limited and dull’. The result, according to Hegel, is both a contempt for the masses and an inability to become involved in meaningful causes. Hence, ironic detachment seemed to Hegel to be the cause of a peculiarly modern form of sickness: one which predisposed the individual to ‘abstract inwardness’ and eroded his power to become filled with a personal ‘content that is solid and substantial’. With the loss of what he termed ‘character’ came the loss of something even more important: the vision of what is ‘highest and best’ in life. If an age were entirely given over to irony it would be unable to take seriously the central issues of ‘justice, morality, and truth’ because it would know how to maintain only a sardonic relationship to them. David Gross, Irony and the Disorders of the Soul, 1977
The presence of irony does not necessarily mean that the earnestness is excluded. Only assistant professors assume that. Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Irony is an insult conveyed in the form of a compliment. Edwin Percy Whipple, lectures on Subjects Connected with Literature and Life, 1859
According to Jonathon Green [Slang], the incomparable scholar of the language which fell off the back of a lorry, ‘Slang is the poetry of the gutter, is the poetry of the disenfranchised, the poetry of the have-nots.’ Jonathan Meades on Jargon: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know ***** BBC 2019
Gore Vidal described irony as ‘the weapon of the impotent.’ ibid.
The real satisfaction is to be had in the creation of texts, of slang which will be deemed offensive and of satire. Satire need not be funny but it must be mordant, vicious, aggressive and hurtful. ibid.
Slang is the expression of what we think rather than what we are enjoined to think. ibid.
Slang is the most sour poetry, it is not wishy-well, it’s demotic, it’s the spoken and very occasionally written invention of the tap-room, the bar-room, the workplace, the barracks, the private place. ibid.
Slang is about showing off, about increasing one’s idiolect … it’s an expression of verbal dexterity … The pleasure of slang is in the making. ibid.
His proudly proclaimed racism and misogyny, his cosmic ignorance, his chilling nationalism, his blatant nepotism, his tax paying, his bullying, sheer nastiness, his complete lack of generosity, his success in turning America into a pariah state, he has launched on an undeserving world a leatherette-faced consigliere called Kelly Ann. ibid.
‘Anyone who puts himself forward to be elected to a position of political power is almost bound to be socially and emotionally insecurity, or criminally motivated, or mad.’ ibid. Auberon Waugh
Don’t they [politicians] realise how tired, how clapped out their paltry jargon is? It’s the language of people who can’t think for themselves, and arrogantly believe that the rest of the populus shares their infirmity. We don’t. These people are programmed morons, their threadbare formulae are more than just pockmarks, they’re seething buboes signalling an absolute contempt for the populus whom they regard as gullible patsies to be patronisingly talked down to. They signal too a contempt for the language of the country they are meant to be governing. They signal their own poverty of thought. Are they brainwashed? They are certainly tongue-washed. ibid.
Jargon is the language of the trained liar, the professionally mendacious, the dishonesty trainee who learns from his masters … That very clarity is of course the problem. ibid.
These accents are worn with such pride, such misplaced pride, in their differences and their ticks and their whimsical peculiarities that they have become foreign to one another. ibid.