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Irony

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Irony has left the toolbox of the writer to become a staple of our cultural diet. With television and the internet as our main sources of culture, we have begun to see irony imbedded in everything, and somewhere along the line, saying exactly what we mean has lost its relevance. While irony pervades every aspect of our popular entertainment, we are ignorant of an important truth of which writers have long been aware. As David Foster Wallace points out in his essay, “E Unibus Pluram,” “Irony- exploiting gaps between what’s said and what’s meant- is the time-honored way artists seek to illuminate and explode hypocrisy” (65). While it acts primarily to point out hypocrisy, it is “singularly unuseful when it comes to constructing anything to replace the hypocrisies it debunks”(67). Thus, our cultural addiction to irony is unilaterally destructive. David Foster Wallace's work often explores irony’s monopoly on our popular culture.

Occurrences in Wallace's work