There’s been a lot of this sort of parodying of Carl Beijer’s tweet, so I don’t mean to pick on Hanania specifically. But knowing Beijer’s style, the original tweet is almost certainly ironic itself, and so people are insincerely mimicking that which was insincere mimicry in the first place. Typically this is seen as an even deeper “own” of the people unwittingly parodying a parody. I’m not 100% sure why - like, what’s that getting you, and what’s the joke, exactly. But so it goes.
Resistance to irony these days is almost always immediately cast into a clumsy binary. If you identify some consistent and systemic problems with a culture in which literally everyone you encounter is emotional only about their emotionlessness and deeply invested in letting you know they aren’t invested in anything, then you are assumed to be calling for a (ugh) New Sincerity. Like, either you’re some irony boy doing Weird Twitter material that was stale in 2015 when you’re not practicing arching your eyebrow in the mirror, or you’re Dave Eggers writing a short story about the time you watched an old man flying a kite on a cold April day in Golden Gate park and his stout delicacy made you cry. I would prefer neither! Set aside questions about whether constant blank sarcasm is corrosive for the soul, or if it’s preventing us from feeling broad-based communal empathy for each other, or if it dulls the wonderful and indispensable power of irony through overuse. Those may be problems, but they aren’t my problem here. My problem is that I don’t know what the absolute fuck anyone is saying anymore because they are so terrified of just saying “I feel this, and it matters to me.”
I know, I know, I know: it’s a defense mechanism, it’s a coping mechanism, capitalism killed all my hopes so I’m entitled to this, I hate my dad, yeah yeah yeah. You certainly are entitled to live this way. The question, my friend, is whether you actually want to live this way. How’s that coping mechanism going for you, hmmm? You coping pretty good? Posting Simpsons memes really defending you against the drudgery and injustice of a broken world? I’m guessing not! How many times a day do you have to evince derision without directly stating it to be impregnable? It seems exhausting. And how fucking old are people going to get, exactly, before they decide it’s beneath their dignity to live their entire lives in sneer quotes? You have people drifting towards their 50s who get up every day and find a target to “dunk” on. Are you gonna be in the old folks home, squinting through your bifocals, saying “I’m going to corncob someone today!” My advice is to develop an escape plan. I don’t know why people take that so personally, especially given that their entire personas are built on the premise that they take nothing personally. I mean I can’t be hurting any feelings, right? You don’t have feelings. I know, your Instagram told me.
I have known many, many people in my life who live behind the mask of irony all day, every day. I have never known one of them to be a happy person. Make of that what you will.
I’m trying to ween myself off self-deprecating irony, a crutch (disproportionately used by women) that always gets lots of likes on Twitter. It won’t be adorable when I’m 60 and still posting that I’m a disaster at basic adult tasks.
The constant feedback (likes=dopamine), combined with the algorithm that teaches us how to be popular, can really warp a person’s brain.
I've been reading a lot of 18th century English lit lately, and if one thing is clear, the era was rich with killer ironists: Swift, Pope, Dr. Johnson, Gibbon, and Hume could absolutely eviscerate a target without even raising their voices or breaking character. But all of them could--and usually did--spend most of their time writing seriously about serious topics. Swift was an ordained clergyman, for fuck's sake: however much we peg the man to some half-baked notion of misanthropic "Swiftian satire," he spent every Sunday of his adult life talking patiently and plainly about Heaven, Hell, faith, hope, and charity.
Like Freddie, I'm continually surprised at how few ambitious young writers don't try to be more serious more often, if only so their jokes land much, much harder.