Friday, March 16, 2012

Irony: Folks Don't Always Get It

Robin's post on Monday about the uses of puppets made me aware of the Cleveland Action News 19 dramatization of the Jimmy Dimora corruption trial, which, being an easterner, I had never heard of before. I quickly looked up this phenomenon on YouTube, where many episodes of the puppet-reenacted trial can be seen. Here's another one:

I was struck by some of the comments from people who wrote in expressing disapproval of News 19's facetious approach to reporting the trial. They are horrified and outraged that this guy is so corrupt, and they can't understand why you're laughing.

Well, shoot, you might as well laugh. Yes, the guy is evidently totally corrupt, the lowest worm that crawls, like some people in my town, like some people in yours. It's an intolerable outrage. That's what art is for, one of the things anyway, to transform unbearable experiences into things trivial enough to digest without going crazy. That's what irony is for. That's what black humor is for. If we couldn't laugh we would have to succumb to despair.

I suspect it's a very Czech way to deal with things. The Czechs with their puppet shows and their impertinent attitude are the master ironists of Europe, I like to think. I should go there someday and see their puppets for myself. Cleveland, maybe not so much.

Kate Gallison

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