World Awash in Irony

Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2023
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
irony spelled out on wooden blocks

Have you noticed? We are awash in unintended irony. Irony is expecting one thing and seeing another, or in fiction when you know what is going on, but a character in the book does not, so you see the surprise coming.

Here is what I mean, maybe you can explain to me why. A country singer writes about self-reliance, self-defense, and America’s small town culture. For singing these values, he is savagely mocked by the left. Then, his song goes viral.

Another country singer condemns Washington’s indulgent culture, calls them “rich men north of Richmond,” gets blasted by pro-government Democrats and media. Never with a song in the top 100, his song goes to number one.

A beer company’s leadership decides to ride the “woke” train, putting leftwing politics ahead of consumer values. Cheered by the left, they get abandoned by everyone, their stock crashing, down 27 billion.

A president who took his adult son to 15 countries, facilitated $20 million in an apparent sale of his office, served as hub of a federal bribery and RICO conspiracy, foreign deposits in 17 bank accounts, demanding a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son be fired – then indicts his top political opponent for “defrauding.”

More ironic, a president who wildly mishandled countless classified documents, leaving them in bizarre places available to the son paid by foreign countries – including China – indicts his rival for mishandling classified documents.

Irony on irony on irony, a president and his son who got warning from the FBI before they came to collect his documents – invaded his chief political rival’s home with intimidating force – 30 armed agents, 11 hours, a “general warrant” seemingly in violation the 4th Amendment.

Then, irony on irony on irony on irony, a former president is demonized by the left, indicted four times on politics, forced to a mug shot – and he rises in the polls.

In short, we live in an era of something more pungent than hypocrisy, contradictions, and rice paper denials. We live in an era of nesting ironies.

All this puts me in mind of Joel Chandler Harris, presenter of slave era folklore, who has – of course – been condemned. He gathered stories, gave them life through fiction, invented Uncle Remus, who retold these stories, like Brer Rabbit.

Harris, through Remus, gave us a living definition of irony, and maybe some instruction – if we are sharp enough to take it – about what to do in a period of profound contradictions, unfair concentration of power, and divided society.

When Brer Rabbit was caught by Brer Fox, a fictional character clever but not clever enough for the brash, bounding Brer Rabbit. The indicted rabbit begs mercy of the fox, who says no.

“Brer Fox, roast me, skin me, tie me up, but please, please don’t throw me in the briar patch!” Today, Brer Rabbit might please “please, please, woke political actors and activists, maybe join me, or pretend you agree with me, but please, please, don’t condemn me, mock me, blast me, or indict me!”

Well, you know the rest of the story, I presume. Brer Fox cannot help his hatred, so throws Brer Rabbit in the briar patch – where the other Brer Rabbits celebrate his return home, smack in that place he loves, the heartland, the briar patch.

Maybe one last irony, before I let you go. Brer Rabbit was brought to life in the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South,” which – in retelling these old tales in historical context – won two academy awards.

Today, Disney – up in woke smoke – refuses to release that film to home audiences, afraid of blowback. At the same time, Disney promotes woke, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-innocent films, woke ideology and theme parks. It is also coming to terms with a decade of total stagnation, Americans leaving them.

So, what a discombobulated, inside-out, irony-saturated world we live in – let us hope temporarily, as common sense returns. Irony surrounds us, songwriters who go viral when savaged, companies who go broke trying to be woke, politicians who think power means entitlement to greed, corruption, and abuse – and a former president being indicted in a flailing attempt to stop him – from going viral.

Who can say what tomorrow brings, or what these nesting ironies means? Perhaps best to follow Uncle Remus, Joel Harris, and Brer Rabbit. Maybe we look to be condemned and tossed in the briar patch, anticipate heartland peace. Maybe we just sing, knowing what goes around comes around, as they say, “zip-a-dee-doo-dah.”

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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