My sense of humor is a little off. What mortifies most people leaves my wheezing and gasping for air as often as not. Sarcasm is a highly respected art form for me. Sardonic wit is nearly a second religion. Parody is a blast. But what really makes my day is irony. If my sense of irony were any stronger I’d grow a full beer and drink PBR all day.
Boy, I got a good dose of it today! I got a helping of irony like what we all experienced first time we saw Ice-T portray a cop. And I loved it!
I had a customer come in at work bitching about the song “Gangnam Style.” His knickers were really knotted over it. He kept going on and on about how awful the song and video were.
Now for everybody who isn’t familiar with the song and video, it’s a month’s full serving of irony stuffed into four minutes. The song is about a guy chasing girls who live in South Korea’s equivalent of Beverly Hills. The girls are described as classy and sensible. They are also described as barely making ends meet and living like misers in private so that they can enjoy expensive things in public. Irony level one. He’s also mocking the over expensive lifestyle, excesses of the people in that area, and talking about the shallowness of their society in a catchy, sugary, top forty hip-hoppy song with all the instrumental depth of a sitcom’s theme song. Irony level two. He’s also cashing in on his rising fame and fortune by taking both subtle and thinly veiled shots at capitalism and its stark contrasts to the more leftist (or at least 99%er – if he were American) views he is promoting through the lyrics. Irony level three. Its subtext is about the importance of more traditional values – values compromised by the westernization of South Korea- in a western originated music style with the hook in a western language! Irony level four.
The video ramps it up. It’s done in the tight rapid style of serious hip hop videos, but is intentionally kitschy. Irony level five. It’s a video for a song that on its surface is about the high fashion district, but is populated by people wearing clothes that would have gotten them laughed out of the seventies. Irony level six. It is intended to remind people of the cheesiness of hip-hop videos trying to make a serious social point, but is itself a hip-hop video making a serious social commentary. Irony level seven.
All the irony involved up to this point is fully intended by the artist.
The customer went on to talk about how terrible the song was, after all, it can’t be understood. Never mind the fact that it isn’t aimed at native English speakers. He went on to complain about how stupid the artist, Psy, looked in the video, never realizing that the man fully intended to look “stupid” in order to support his point. He went on to complain about the irony of the foolish kids who’d see the video and think the artist looked cool. The man was trying to look smarter than the people he looked down on, but freaking misused a fairly simple freaking word.
Of course not contented to leave well enough alone I had to play along and bitch about how the youth of today look and act stupid and miss so many things that are right in front of them if they’d only open their eyes.
It just makes you wonder, how long would it take to explain to the man that the song is actually making the some of the exact same points that the man was lambasting it for. And if that isn’t the greatest piece of irony since Alanis Morrisett sang about a man waiting his whole life to take a flight and then crashing, I’ll eat your hat.
P.S. That last line was intended ironically…