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August 28, 2007


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patrick j. mullins

I doubt it.

cynic librarian

I think it depends on the context and the forms of irony and cynicism, eg, you might mean. The types of irony exhibited by the Daily Show can indeed display the form of superficiality you describe. This is an aesthetic irony, one born of ennui and irresopnsibility.

On the other hand, there is the Socratic form of irony, which is "earnest," to use Kierkegaard's notion, because it is born of a desire to find something that provides an ultimate basis for determining happiness. This form of irony is required so as to create a distance between the everyday truisms people never question and a self or reality that cannot be captured by customs and traditions, eg. The chasm thus opened up by this form of irony shows that we are not only what our socio-cultural matrix says we are. Need I mention that it also opens the possibility of critique leading to questions of justice?

Cynicism is, by mpost accounts, a different bird than Socratic irony. The image of the cynic is one who negates all, often maliciously--perhaps most of all because this form of cynic is world-weary and incapable of finding something good in the world. Therefore, the cynic casts a gloom and doom pall over all and sees life itself in its most rudimentary, bestial form. This form of cynic might be characterized as one who sees no possibility and defines him or herself by the crudest forms of necessity.

Another form of cynicism is that which followed in the footsteps of Socrates. This cynicism refused to bow down to the notion that systematic thinking could provide final and absolute answers to life. More often than not, this form of cynic gauged all human activities against the horizon of human finitude, most notably death. Within this horizon it then questioned all human activities and attempted to sprinkle a dose of cold water on pretensions to hegemonic grandeurs.

I would note that cynics in the Roman Empire were be quite revolutionary. They were executed and expelled from Rome for stirring up trouble among the impoverished masses. It is this form of cynic that some Biblical scholars use to frame Jesus' mission. Crossan, for example, thinks that Jesus was a Cynic wanderer who attempted to institute a more just form of government than the corrupt, priestly, quisling one of Herod.

love and terrorism

I second Patrick's comment.


Well, I definitely can't top Patrick's comment...

But I do think C.L. is correct in suggesting that there are different kinds of, and uses for, irony & cynicism. The words are so vast & amorphous, it's like saying "jazz": are we talking about Benny Goodman, Eric Dolphy, John Zorn, or Kenny G?

Personally, irony & cynicism are the swords I use to slice through the Gordian knot of cognitive dissonance.

pientere poeet

cynicism is selling alcohol to natives and not having any with them but by the by everything they own instead (which as 1830 riots ((yeah, socalled 'pogroms')) prove, feels worse once you are no longer a socalled slave.

there's truth in paradox to the degree it is lent weight as much as alllowed to shine a light

the one that slowly attains benevolent predominance and gains organic weight fed by shining light led and leading eyeballs.

Eichmann using the jewish method on jews. Hey, they believe cause they prove cause they believe social gradient is the only place where curves can fetch the fetchyest and up to speed slope (hope, sloop) verschleppers that merit and match flames flavoured to feed the finest curves who can fetch ... etcetera ... .spin off theory (believing that jump on equals having practice will ripen to jump off subjects, subjectivity and all that peskily humble support stuff we can do without). Nitzan and Bichler bnarchive.york.ca show how israel thrives on opression tec, the new name for honesty. May i pass on that paradox please.

we no 'llowed alocohol, i mean land, our soupariers are 'ginstit'.

wordy writs, Bibles, Holy Books, bibliographies ...
Most, when not based on and taking leads from various materials and their conditions but lacks thereofs and complaints thereabouts are an armchair lazy and cynical man's way to (slightly shift an otherwise unbudgeable unbalance?) hunt, set (dig) traps (valkuilgraverij)
which, wether meaning to or not, project, protect, transfer and 'space toga';
the more sanctimonious this destructiveness gets dressed up, the darker the will intending it all in full view of the consequences and the deeper the distractions on display in hopes and attempts to direct dictate n delegate to anybody stupid enough to lend not only flaunt flutter and flourish that sent words flying in ancient times weight but stockpiled their dead bodies on top of that, never mind the irrescusitability of any relevant meaning.

Stars survive us and not the other way around, specially when we get too close, though if earth is a star rather than a ball of dust we seem to be up for a tug of war in a bid for massiveness.


From Bergson's Laughter. '...there is nothing very benevolant in laughter. It seems rather inclined to return evil for evil...' and ' Deep-rooted in the comic, there is a tendency, we said, to take the line of least resistance, generally that of habit...' Bergson, not in the least cynical makes the suggestion that the comic and the cynical exists to help temporarily relive us from the strains of existence. Less then a defense against nothingness but instead a defense against something. It is then a correction that cannot be sympathatic or kind...

patrick j. mullins

Hi piet! Bored with me and Nick talking about free markets and Hillary all the time? We missed you. (Sorry, Jodi, this is nice fellow from secret place...disappeared for long time)

Badda Being

What happens if we reorient the question so that the fissure between practice and belief is created not through a retreat of the subject -- i.e. a retreat, in his belief, from the truth of practice, or, conversely, a retreat, in the truth of practice, from his belief -- but through the subject’s affirmation of a truth to come?

For example, one may genuinely affirm a belief in the fallacy of racism and yet score poorly on the Implicit Association Test.



Irony and cynicism at their best are healthy innoculations. A curative even.

"The monthly death toll of Iraqis is down to 2,000 this past month. Things are getting better," he said.

"Glad to hear that. I was afraid it would be larger than last month's 2,002," she said.


i said 1830 but meant 1881 - confused memories of recent '200 years together' (german version) with the one acquired through reading 'forest rites' (a very good read also).

ps: hi pat.

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