Webster definition of “irony:” a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other’s false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning.
Webster definition of “satire:” a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn.
As I write this, I’m listening to Dio: not for ironic reasons, as many hipster or cool kids would think, to mock the excessive drama associated with metal, but I’m listening to him because the songs that struck me at fifteen years old are still ringing in my bones and I can’t shake them. There’s nothing funny or ironic about Dio to me. I still take him very seriously.
The “ironic” aesthetic associated with hipsters that has plagued us all over the last ten years or so has become so tiresome, it’s time someone mocks “irony” in an ironic way, just to give these creeps a taste of their own medicine. How many more “ironic” moustaches or rock t-shirts do we have to endure before we vomit our disgust all over these venomous perpetrators? Really, is it that funny to be wearing a Def Leppard t-shirt to a party? Is that the best you have? Is that the funniest thing you can think of before leaving your apartment? Good grief.
It’s the lack of effort that’s most annoying. If these twerps would take a couple of seconds to really put together something creative and inspiring, going out may be a little more exciting and the world may be a little more colorful than it had been a night before. But once again, “repetition” is confused with “style.”
What IS funny is “satire.” Let’s take the film Spinal Tap, for instance. This monumental commentary on the often ridiculous rituals associated with hard rock runs so deep and strikes a nerve so shattering that even the thrashiest of thrashers can’t help but to laugh, for no other reason than it rings true. It’s that clever. It goes so far beyond just wearing a rock t-shirt for “ironic” purposes. It is a perceptive study of a culture that, like it or not, ruled the Earth for a short period of time. And the makers of that film focused on the specifics of that culture so insightfully, the film has ultimately been embraced as a classic. A rich kid thinking it’s funny to rock a denim jacket and sport a giant pair of sunglasses can hardly compare to a piece of art like Spinal Tap.
“Ironically” enough, a few years back, when hipsters were deep into their “ironic” metal phase, they tried to form bands that reflected their take on the genre. Few succeeded, for the most obvious reason: You need to know how to play an instrument to play metal. There is no way around that. Most hipsters subscribe to the aesthetic that you only need to learn a couple of chords and you’re ready to play in a band. That may have been true for The Ramones but they were the exception. True metalheads actually stayed home on Friday nights and practiced their guitars until six a.m.. That was one thing hipsters hadn’t anticipated, that it takes a skilled musician to play metal. This realization must’ve taken some of the zing out of their “irony” since there isn’t anything funny about breaking your ass to learn how to rip on the guitar.
True, there are many amusing things about Dio, as Jack Black has humorously pointed out in Tenacious D’s hilarious song about the master of metal, “Dio.” But that was done out of love and was, in a way, a salute to Dio. I suppose the lesson to be learned here, for hipsters especially, leave the comedy to the comedians.