Postirony’s Revenge

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Even as I imagine that my (eh, academic) interests are expanding into newer, hipper domains, I find myself always coming back to postirony. I purchased McSweeney’s #18 yesterday (as a reward for having sold at least a dozen books I would never read on Marketplace; trust me when I say I’ve never done anything so drastic in my life; books are kind of sacred to me). Included in this issue was the first issue of Wholphin, Eggers & co.’s new DVD magazine. Included on this DVD are an assortment of strange items: documentary footage of Al Gore, a man singing “Stairway to Heaven” backwards in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral (on the DVD, the footage is replayed backwards, so that it at times almost sounds like he’s singing the song normally, whilst people walk [giving him befuddled looks] backwards); a psychadelic Iranian animated film; a Turkish sitcom; and most interestingly (for me) an animated film by this young director named Carson Mell. I say interestingly because his films exemplify almost perfectly what I have in mind when I use the term “postirony”: when I watch the films and shorts he’s posted on his website I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. His style of presentation exemplifies a major, to my mind new aesthetic sensibility that has come to dominate many arts since the 90s. Pinning it down is hard, but I guess that’s part of what I’m trying to do. It’s my white whale. Wish me luck killing it.