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Be the Mule Blog

Irony Plague


I find this (link above) to be a really important piece of writing, especially for those of us in the arts (minus the shot at the trombone. The trombone is a wonderful instrument that speaks just as fine as any of the others).


I don't think we are doing our job as artists, collectively. We are too divisive and too little of ourselves. Its not everyone, but its pervasive. Wampole writes a perfect piece, reasoned and calm, on the increasing commonality of the celebration of the ironic, its silliness, and what it means to be a people that are constantly in defense of ourselves by refusing to admit that we are, indeed, defending ourselves. 


Our retreat into the life of irony is a product of heartbreak. My generation grew up watching people get what they wanted fast, big things being built seemingly with ease, fame on the television, and being told we not only could, but would, be whatever we wanted to be. How much work, decency, and humanity it was gong to take was conveniently omitted. That kind of information does not sell as well. Reality. 


A good friend reminded me a few days ago, in talking music, a recording we had made, that all we have our is our integrity. And this is art. It can be fun, but in the illuminating manner. It is serious, and it is expression, and it deserves respect. We don't get that respect often from audiences, so we coil up and mock ourselves without outwardly acknowledging we are doing so, again, all in defense of our shattered egos. Its not always our fault, until we keep doing it and celebrating it. 


Irony, born from fear and resentment, most often born out of disappointment, or fear thereof, does its best to make integrity moot. But irony loses. We still feel what is real. There is an objective difference in quality and meaning between the entertainingly ironic and the human. I do not mean this as a passively aggressive statement towards anyone, or thing. While certainly it is a critique, its aims are for people to take their own music, and each other's music, a bit more seriously. Respect it and give to it.


Music gave me something for free when I was a kid, and continues to do so as an adult, and consistently saves my life. I owe it. And I owe the music of others, their art, Im talking about art, respect. Make your statement, and its valid. Know it and own it.


Quality is derived from humanity, a feeling of connection and of wonder (not wonder in the sense of idolatry, wonder in the sense of inspired fascination to be oneself).  Irony defends us from having to take ourselves, and others, seriously. It deprives us of each others' inherent humanity, and spins upon itself until we are embittered, naive, and ultimately blind to interaction as a participant in the arts. So don't do it. Believe your stuff, because you should, and if its not where you want it to be, get it there.


We are not going to get to wherever we thought we should be. That place does not exist. We are going to end up where we should be, if we work, get honest, listen, and stop falling in love with distraction. Be the Mule. We want to hear you.

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Right on.

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