Irony, Postmodernism, and Our Current Age

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The Essayification of Everything. The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

The Essayification of Everything

Lately, you may have noticed the spate of articles and books that take interest in the essay as a flexible and very human literary form. These include “The Wayward Essay” and Phillip Lopate’s reflections on the relationship between essay and doubt, and books such as “How to Live,” Sarah Bakewell’s elegant portrait of Montaigne, the 16th-century patriarch of the genre, and an edited volume by Carl H. Klaus and Ned Stuckey-French called “Essayists on the Essay: Montaigne to Our Time.”

The essayist samples more than a D.J.: a loop of the epic here, a little lyric replay there, all with a signature scratch on top. It seems that, even in the proliferation of new forms of writing and communication before us, the essay has become a talisman of our times. I have had enough of irony. The ultimate faux-pas is not laughing at someone's artfully told joke.

I have had enough of irony

Especially when it's a huge in-joke, but stuff it! I did not find the Eurovision song contest in any way funny or joyful. Magazine - Host. [Click the phrases within the colored boxes to read the commentary.]

Magazine - Host

Mr. John Ziegler, thirty-seven, late of Louisville's WHAS, is now on the air, "Live and Local," from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. every weeknight on southern California's KFI, a 50,000-watt megastation whose hourly ID and Sweeper, designed by the station's Imaging department and featuring a gravelly basso whisper against licks from Ratt's 1984 metal classic "Round and Round," is "KFI AM-640, Los Angeles—More Stimulating Talk Radio. " This is either the eighth or ninth host job that Mr. Ziegler's had in his talk-radio career, and far and away the biggest.

A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age - Ross Andersen - Technology. Meet Jason Silva, the fast-talking, media-savvy "performance philosopher" who wants you to love the ecstatic future of your mind.

A Timothy Leary for the Viral Video Age - Ross Andersen - Technology

I want to introduce you to Jason Silva, but first I want you to watch this short video that he made. It will only take two minutes, and watching it will give you a good idea if it's worth your time to read the extensive interview that follows: If you ever wondered what would happen if a young Timothy Leary was wormholed into 2012, complete with a film degree and a Vimeo account, you have your answer: Jason Silva.

The Joke’s on You. Steve Almond [from The Baffler No. 20, 2012] Among the hacks who staff our factories of conventional wisdom, evidence abounds that we are living in a golden age of political comedy.

The Joke’s on You

The New York Times nominates Jon Stewart, beloved host of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, as the “most trusted man in America.” Jack Whelan: Can Humanism Prevail Over the Technocracy? - Living in Dialogue. Laughter Without Humor: On the Laugh-Loop GIF - Fran McDonald. When is Natalie Portman's laughter not Natalie Portman's laughter?

Laughter Without Humor: On the Laugh-Loop GIF - Fran McDonald

An Object Lesson. At the 68th Golden Globe Awards, a visibly pregnant Natalie Portman ascended the stage to collect the Best Actress award for her work in the psychological drama Black Swan. Her earnest three minute speech is standard Hollywood fare; she thanks her grandparents, her parents, her manager, her co-stars, and her director. She touches her stomach and thanks her fiancé, the choreographer and actor Benjamin Millepied. She tells a bad joke about how Millepied, who has a small role in Black Swan as a man sexually disinterested in Portman's character, must be a brilliant actor because of course he really did want to sleep with her, as evidenced by her swelling belly.

What is it we're longing for? Psychological study. Why Are Easy Decisions So Hard? One of the problems with writing a book on decision-making is that people assume I’m not terrible at making decisions.

Why Are Easy Decisions So Hard?

As a result, they act surprised when it takes me 10 minutes to pick a sandwich or when I confess that I still get mild panic attacks when choosing floss at the drugstore. They believe that, just because I wrote about the prefrontal cortex, I’m somehow better able to wield mine. Our Age of Anxiety. By Elaine Showalter Jonathan Barkat for The Chronicle Review In his controversial book American Nervousness: Its Causes and Consequences (1881), the neurologist George M.

Our Age of Anxiety

Beard proclaimed that Americans in the 19th century led all civilized nations in their susceptibility to nervous, anxious, and depressive disorders. Falling Men: On Don DeLillo and Terror, Chris Cumming. New York Police officers are seen under a news ticker in Times Square in New York, April 16, 2013.

Falling Men: On Don DeLillo and Terror, Chris Cumming

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid) Some terrorist attacks become cultural obsessions, while others are forgotten completely. There were three bombings in New York City in 1975, none of which I’ve ever heard talked about, each of which would probably shut down the city if it happened now. Imagine no heaven. Dear little Six Billionth Living Person: As one of the newest members of a notoriously inquisitive species, it probably won't be too long before you start asking the two $64,000 questions with which the other 5,999,999,999 of us have been wrestling for some time: How did we get here?

Imagine no heaven

And, now that we are here, how shall we live? Oddly - as if six billion of us weren't enough to be going on with - it will almost certainly be suggested to you that the answer to the question of origins requires you to believe in the existence of a further, invisible, ineffable Being "somewhere up there", an omnipotent creator whom we poor limited creatures are unable even to perceive, much less to understand.

That is, you will be strongly encouraged to imagine a heaven, with at least one god in residence. This sky god, it's said, made the universe by churning its matter in a giant pot. A World Without Copyright - House Absolute(ly Pointless) In discussions on Hacker News I’ve said several times that I think copyright should be abolished. Some people agree, but I often get a reply asking how I expect programmers, musicians, or authors to make a living in such a world. Before I address that question, I’ll take a brief digression. Do You Really Want to Live Forever? Imagine you are offered a trustworthy opportunity for immortality in which your mind (perhaps also your body) will persist eternally.

Let’s further stipulate that the offer includes perpetual youthful health and the ability to upgrade to any cognitive and physical technologies that become available in the future. There is one more stipulation: You could never decide later to die. Would you take it? In Praise of Leisure - The Chronicle Review. By Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. The 'Busy' Trap. Refined dining. Shaped in an age of scarcity, our appetite for sugar, fat and salt now torments us.

But there is hope ©Magnum/ Martin Parr. On Being Nothing. Editors' Note Appended Anxiety: We worry. A gallery of contributors count the ways. Every man looketh that his companion should value him at the same rate he sets upon himself. –Thomas Hobbes. The Clutter Culture - Feature - UCLA Magazine Online. Global Capitalism with a Human Face? « AC VOICE. The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation’ Haterade. Correlation does not imply causation: How the Internet fell in love with a stats-class cliché. James Howard Kunstler on Why Technology Won't Save Us. Public Influence: The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death - - News.

How reality caught up with paranoid delusions – Mike Jay. The Rise of the New Groupthink. The History of Boredom. Now Hear This! Most People Stink at Listening [Excerpt] Harry Frankfurt's "On Bullshit" Revisiting why incompetents think they’re awesome. Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. Fear of cannibalism drives us to look at this 'monstrous' image. And that's OK. Please Don't Learn to Code.

Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013. Pinker, Foucault and Progress « Utopia or Dystopia. Paul Kingsnorth. If you think we're done with neoliberalism, think again. In Defense of Autobiography. The Age of the Essay. Relations. About New York; Sharing Baby Proves Rough On 2 Mothers. Inequality and the Modern Culture of Celebrity. Column: Our collective obsession with the trivial. The Quest for Permanent Novelty. I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet. Tragedy's decline and fall. The Death of Postmodernism And Beyond. The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Chemistry Set. The Theory Generation. Thinking About Futurism.

Zeitgeist 2012 – Google. How to Live Without Irony. Sincerity, Not Irony, Is Our Age's Ethos - Jonathan D. Fitzgerald. On Smarm. Rejoice! Believe! Be Strong and Read Hard! Conan O'Brien's Farewell Speech.