On the use of the typo to signal irony on Twitter

Irony, clearly labeled

One of the problems with rhetorical irony is that sometimes people don’t get it. That’s also a major source of its appeal. When irony works, the reader sees it but holds out the possibility that someone else does not. This effect is a big part of the fun, even though plenty of satirical writing cheats it by deploying irony in a way few readers could miss. The trick is to maintain a sort of plausible deniability. Irony doesn’t have to actually fool anybody, but we as knowing readers must be able to fool ourselves into believing it might. Satire can therefore be pretty heavy-handed, so long as the irony is not explicitly signaled. I mention this to introduce a convention of irony Twitter that has bled over into other sub-comunities: the practice of signaling irony with typographical errors. For example:

Is it cheating to explicitly signal irony in this way? Consideration after the jump.

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Friday links: Boom! It Sucks edition

Thanks, Failblog!

It’s a disorientingly beautiful day in Missoula, where the sun and light breeze and 71-degree forecast almost distract me from the roaring of the creek, which has gone from eight inches deep to about eight feet. In this way it resembles the Clark Fork river, another usually placid body of water that has decided to erupt in rage and have its way with everybody’s basement. It’s like my father used to say: this whole thing could fall apart at any time. It’s summer now, everything is awesome, but all it takes is one driving mistake or subprime lending crisis or month of heavy rainfall and boom—everything sucks. This week’s link roundup is all about stuff going catastrophically wrong very quickly. You’d think that’d be depressing, but don’t worry: it’s stuff going wrong for other people. Fun, right? I’m sure we personally will be fine.

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