December 5th, 2012

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Irony, sarcasm, and vulnerability

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Perhaps you saw Christy Wampole’s New York Times article “How to Live Without Irony,” published in mid-November. While I believe Ms. Wampole makes a mistake in mass-labeling so-called hipsters as insincere narcissists (because I know plenty of people that fit the “hipster” bill who are both genuine and generous), I do think she’s accurately pinpointed a larger cultural norm.

From the outside looking in, I am the furthest thing from a hipster; I like my jeans flared and my house Pottery Barned. But I recognize my use of irony and sarcasm as shields against vulnerability – and I know that I’m not alone. I see it all around me, in people of all ages, in all sorts of clothing, with all sorts of hobbies, and all manner of facial hair. Irony is not reserved for the mustached.

In light of that article (which is worth the read), I hope you’ll watch this TED talk by Brené Brown about the importance of vulnerability. You may have seen it already (6 million have), but I revisit it often, particularly when I feel my armor start to go up. I could go on about all of the reasons I love this talk, but really, you should just take the 20 minutes to watch it.