View Full Version : the irony of modernity
Hi to all.
I hope there is someone out there that can help me.
I need to know how to answer the question 'what was the irony of modernity?' please give me all the information you can, with referencing would be a bonus. :confused:
Just before anyone starts assuming and getting nasty I wanted everyone to know that this is not for an essay and the reasons why I asked for references is because I may be able to find such books.
I was discriminated against in another message board because people assumed wrongly.\
Sorry to say this Frank, but as far as I know there is no such word as 'modernity'. May I suggest that you expand on your question. I have no idea what you are asking. Is it a riddle or a genuine question? Also, if you are not asking it for an assignment of some sort, what is the motive behind the question?
What a bad subject I have chosen!
What is the motive behind the question?
My god what have I created?
Why does everyone have this fixation about essays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
Can't people have genuine questions?
Get a life!
By the way there are 205000 websites that mention the word modernity!
Yes, Frank, you're right, you have chosen a bad subject and by the tone of your response to my question I understand why you have had no success in other forums. Sounds to me like you have made a few other people turn against you.
Sorry, Frank, I have no time for people who can't explain themselves in a less offensive manner.
Sorry Teri 2, I apologise for my attitude in my response, but I did make it clear my question was not for assignment purposes.
I guess it's a little frustrating when people question your honesty with no reason and assume wrongly.
I think we should all learn to put a little trust on our fellow neighbour.
09-09-01, 10:54 AM
you've got two directions to go in. one would be that modernity has created a new irony that pervades culture and criticism. the other that modernity itself is ironic. there is also the combination of the two.
09-09-01, 02:33 PM
The irony in this case is in the question "What WAS the irony of modernity?". It contradicts itself. Modernity can´t be found in the past.:D
09-09-01, 02:48 PM
If the question was supposed to be " What IS irony of modernity?", then there can be some interesting answers.
I think that irony of modernity is to objectify modernity and dissicate it into small pieces of comedy, or make a big cake of it and eat it.
Artists do it all the time, everybody does it all the time, this whole world is in irony of itself. It´s just a state of mind....
mo·der·ni·ty (m-dûrn-t, m-)
n. pl. mo·der·ni·ties
The state or quality of being modern: “Warriors of the... tribe, imposing symbols of a nomadic culture... are caught between tradition and modernity” (Sheila Rule).* http://www.dictionary.com
I tend to think the irony of modernity comes in the fact that we still, despite our modern views, undertake archaic ritual in various forms. I do not speak solely of religious ritual; this is far too naked an example. But what, aside from thick padding on one's fists and the lack of swords and body armor, makes modern boxing any different from ancient combat sports? It's still a huge draw; it's still formalized and ceremonial. Rites of passage? Little Jimmy on his first hunt; it's ironic to recall the recent videotape footage I saw of a young man accidentally shooting his father on his first quail hunt. Jomo Kenyatta's Facing Mount Kenya, in addition to the stomach-turning ritual of clitoridectomy, documents all manner of sex-play engaged by tribal children tantamount to supervised grope sessions.
Sir James Frazier, in The Golden Bough, notes the ritual of Rex Nemorensis, the King of the Wood, at Nemi. By this ritual, the King/Consort guarded a tree in the wood outside the village; only a runaway slave could challenge him for his post, and this was accomplished by the breaking of a bough on the tree; once this was done, the combatants would duel, and the slave, upon winning, would assume the kingship, and wander lonely days and nights around the base of the tree until such time as the next challenger came along. Savage? Barbaric? In the broader sense, we still undertake this ritual, which Frazier asserted at the time of publication. Modern versions of the ritual are commonplace and less barbaric; the simple election/selection of various public offices, seats of honor, &c., reflect the idea that one must "overcome" opposition to hold the office. Term limits would seem to except the presidency of the United States, but we see this ritual in other federal offices. The challenger breaks a bough by declaring candidacy and then duels the incumbent for his office.
A more immediate example would be to recall the Clinton-Lewinsky debacle; this seems an American enactment of the ancient ritual of the Scapegoat described in Hebrew scripture. As pundits, cartoonists, and comedians around the country noted, those persecuting the presidential fellatio were oftentimes guilty of the same offenses (a Horsey cartoon about glass houses is among my favorites). Amid the shouting and voting and violating of grand jury laws, I heard a Columbia University professor on NPR referring to the idea of Puritan pornography; that sexual scandalization of others provides an outlet for one's own sexual guilts. The professor cited the old Anti-Catholic League's tracts describing in some detail "Catholic" sexual practices. The good Protestant readership got both the titillation of forbidden material and the appropriate revulsion toward "deviant" practices while enjoying the self-superiority of having not sinned in this way. It's not that complex a psychological process to observe. Thus we see a sexually-repressed culture (1) employing a scapegoat in Clinton to exorcise its demons and finally have a public go-round on the moral merits of fellatio and marital relations. We wound the symbolic sacrifice and send it into a desert of moralist judgement so that we, as a culture, can engage one of our phantoms--sexuality.
Note (1): Yes, America is sexually repressed; bad television, music, and movies notwithstanding, if the country was sexually liberated, we wouldn't pay attention to this sort of crap. Artists would find better things to move onto for the simple fact that overt sexuality didn't grab the people's attention: that is, there is nothing particularly fascinating about the mundane. A more direct example? What is so tantalizing to young boys about looking up a girl's skirt? Well, it's forbidden, for one, and we can make all manner of assertions about dominance in culture which lend toward the point of the nation's repression. Nor is it the nation's growing acceptance of homosexuality and the reactionary conservatism that persecutes it; if we the people of the United States of America were truly sexually liberated, we would neither care about this or that person's sexuality, nor would it distress us that our sons or daughters chose their own gender for pleasure. Along this vein I submit the more radical idea that the social implications of the crime of rape would be lessened in a sexually liberated environment, and that a few (as in, not many, but still ...) of the psycopaths and sociopaths that use sexual violation to establish their power and ego trips would employ different methods, as the social stake that makes the act so violating would have been reduced. This is not to lessen the crime itself, but the damage endured by rape is ridiculous, and invited largely by the repressed curiosity of the well-intentioned people around them. As I seem to be digressing largely, I shall stop here.
But I do believe that the irony of modernity comes from the observation that, despite our modern sophistication, we have merely polished old rituals and standards, and never fully applied the knowledge modernity brings to our growing, collective human psyche.
Hi again Frank,
Apology accepted. I would also like to apologise for not doing a bit more research myself before responding to your question. I found a more ‘modern’ dictionary and lo and behold the word was there in black and white. So I would like to extend my apology, firstly for the statement that the word doesn’t exist and for the assumption that it was asked for help in an essay question. The notion was planted when I read your bio, and as you had labelled yourself as a student, I guess the essay assumption just took hold. :o Apart from that, to me the question does sound like something a teacher would ask his students to ponder for an essay. However, I did spend a moment pondering how far back in time you were reaching to do an analysis on the irony of modernity, hence the request for a possible expansion of your question. That being said, I have noticed you now have a few responses and I hope they help. Tiassa seems to have gone into great detail.
As for myself, it’s not my area of expertise and just reading the question made me go cross-eyed! (Far too intellectual for me, methinks!) In any event, this topic is way over my head so I’ll leave it to the great thinkers in this forum to help you with your quest. I hope there are no hard feelings? :)
Good luck with your search.