Yesterday I found myself terrified of “liking” something a Jesuit friend had posted on Facebook, because I deemed it too “religious-y,” and thought, “What will my comedy friends think?”
I spend the better part of my Facebook life in this internal tension of speculation over what my friends from my days as a comedian will think about something I “like” or post, and what my friends from the world of religion will think.
I don’t want it to appear as though religious life has made me lose my edge, or conversely that I am a heretic, so I don’t commit to the “like.” I’m not proud of this, but as Jesus said, “It is what it is.”
(Yes, I know Jesus didn’t say that. I was being ironic.)
Which brings me to my point. This recent piece by Christina Wampole in the New York Times articulated my situation (one I share with many others): the intrinsic existential constrictions of living in an age of irony; a time when sincerity is terrifying and pre-emptive self-defense is the first and only option.
Wampole contends that a life of irony “signals a deep aversion to risk.” Indeed, living ironically necessitates a lack of commitment to any particular ideal, person, place or thing. If everything is a joke, than nobody gets hurt. Conversely, nobody gets much of anything else either. Wampole offers a prescription for moving outside the fuzzy world of irony and it begins with observing the behavior of four year old children and noticing how they live: freely, boldly and fully committed to the task at hand. And do as they do.