Irony has its limits as a form of communication, “useful, on occasion, for stripping away nonsense, but not for making sense of things. It prevents discussion, by silently implying: ‘How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean.’” Dan Hitchens discusses the stakes for a culture steeped in irony.
Quite possibly related to the culture’s refusal to engage in sincere discussion, Constance Grady makes the case that stories about teen suicide have replaced dystopias like The Hunger Games as the pop culture representation of America’s collective subconscious. If she’s right, we’re headed down a dark and nihilistic path.
But perhaps we could find hope if we all read the original Robinson Crusoe, which is not just an adventure story, but a tale of sincere conversion and the right ordering of both the individual and society toward God. It turns out, the abridgments many of us read as children left out the story’s central theme, and Philip Zaleski explains why that’s a problem for society at large.
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