I've basically decided to fill this entire blog with pure lies, as it is easy and much less stressful. It's made the last month much better for me, psychologically speaking. So despite what I wrote on the blog last week, Rick Moody has not been arrested for arson. Joan Didion did not refer to the other National Book Award nonfiction nominees as "fucking pussies." Leonardo DiCaprio has not bought the rights to Malcolm Gladwell's hair. And poetry is not "totally gay." Though like 90 percent of poets are. That part's true.Ah yes, my friend, fun it may be. But as we have demonstrated only this week, irony is a dangerous tool to have in the box. Sometimes you can injure yourself just reaching for it.
Yesterday, by the way, and before I forget, I read somewhere in the press that a recent Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he found out the hard way that self-deprecation can be misunderstood. The use of that curiously English form of comic self-mockery can lead to difficulty, because in some cultures they take you seriously. And they are not impressed.
What a pity. Because self-deprecation is so much more attractive than its opposite -- grandiose claims about one's own talent and degree of success -- which is so often found in the book world.
Should it be a surprise that other cultures - and here I read other languages as well - take claims literally?
It isn't just "irony," many idioms do not move well, and we have lots of those.Some not understood within a language because of regional differences.
People tend to resent it if they suspect their legs are being pulled.
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