Re: virus: Irony as public discourse (fwd)

James T. Martin (
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 20:30:59 -0700

At 12:43 PM 4/11/96 -0600, you wrote:
>Question. I am thinking of writing an article. My current area of
>inquest is irony as public discourse. This works into a number of
>issues- especially in terms of Gen-X culture. But I am interested in the
>"convulsions" pop culture is experiencing between two or more dominant
>discourses (memes) if you will. The current popularity of Angels,
>Gargoyles and Vampires speaks of a convulsive 'phasing' between
>Christian spirituality and new age humanism. My take on this is that
>irony is a form of culturally practiced masochism and spawns pop artists
>such as Quentin Terantino (Pulp Fiction was pure genius) and Madonna. I
>was wondering if you have any thoughts (or sources) on the evolutionary
>purpose of remorse and grief. (From a Darwinian or Darwin-like
Fascinating undertaking, I've been wondering about the implications of the
"return" of angels myself of late. I think the 'answer' lies in the fact
that the higher human consciousness (some animals also - witness the
apparent grief and remorse of elephants over the death of a herd mate) gain
a sense of personal worth from the ritual. People project their acts of
remorse to their own eventual deaths - and thus know that their own passing
will also be morned. Life and the interactions of individuals in the group
would be vastly different if this were not so. Imagine being tossed off
without a care. Your research should show that all intelligent animals that
are socially organized display this behavior to some degree. This whole
tendancy reflects in all acts of apparent altruism - none of which is 'true'
altruism, because we do gain something in the acts. How this
socio-biological behavior affects natural selection is a subject of debate.
Obviously it is not so easy to quantify as beneficial physical mutations.
Keep us posted on your findings - this knowledge is very important in many
ways, not the least of which is debunking all that angel nonsense.
|| Come ride The River ------- ||