The New York Times Writer Who Hates Irony Is In A Really Shitty Band

Read our attack on the terrifying Ivory Tower.

Nov 19 2012, 6:44pm

If all were just and pure in this world, the only thing it would take to make someone who did or said a stupid thing redact the stupid thing that they did or said would to just casually say, "Oh, shut the fuck up," and then the original offender would just realize they're wrong. Unfortunately, we live in a world of pain. A world where a hundred and fifty sane, adult humans can be trapped on a plane with Rihanna and turn that shit into an IRL Lord Of The Flies. A world where an Assistant Professor at Princeton who specializes in the field of "20th And 21st Century French And Italian Thought" can write an article in the New York Goddamn Times about how hipsters are dicks and irony is too pervasive in modern culture. This is not an okay world.

There are two ways to deal with things that serve as a direct affront to your entire existence. One, you can try to engage your assailant (okay she's just writing a hellaciously generalizing article but the piece is pretty suspect) on their level. Two, you can make fun of them for something random and then use their stupidity in another realm as a metaphor for how they were stupid in the first place. We're gonna do both, because that seems like the most fun.

The obvious "rhetorical takedown" tactic for the piece itself is to point out that Christy Wampole, the article's author, falls into the exact trap that she rails against in the article--namely, subverting yourself before the haters get to you, creating an "ironic frame" that functions as a "shield against criticism." Yeah, people use irony to eschew criticism, but by saying there's no point in bashing hipsters and then saying all the normal things that people who bash hipsters say, you don't just absolve yourself of being an asshole. She's doing literally the exact same thing, and if making a bunch of pedantic generalizations about a group of people who haven't self-identified as "hipsters" weren't enough, her writing throughout the whole piece smacks of some Ivory Tower, I-Can't-Believe-I'm-Slumming-It-In-The-Non-Peer-Reviewed-New-York-Goddamn-Fucking-Times-Ass condescension. That, and Wampole's so trapped in trying to make her own argument logical on its own terms that she forgets that irony actually isn't the "ethos of our age," as she claims in the first paragraph. There are tremendous swaths of young people throughout the nation who couldn't give a flaming bag of shit about irony.

At Noisey, we strive to cover things because we like them, not because we think we're part of some joke that our readers should be in on. We write about Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber because we love pop music, and if you're going to have a conversation about music in 2012 you have to care about what's in the Top 40 as well as what's blasting from that house show down the street. You can find the fact that Justin Bieber got dumped and then pulled over by the cops funny (because it's fucking hilarious), but you have to treat his actual music with respect because often, popular things are popular because they're really good, or at least aggressively interesting. This is pretty much the entire principle behind capitalism. We think if Christy Wampole were to go out and talk to Actual Young People Who Didn't Attend Princeton, she might be surprised at how much less of a "thing" irony is than she thinks. Maybe people just like crazy things because they're fun, and there's nothing ironic about fun.

Now that we've shot a couple arrows up into the old Ivory Tower, it's time to commence with the "ad hominem character takedown" portion of this piece. As we mentioned, the anti-irony NYT bit was written by a woman named Christy Wampole, who is an Assistant Professor at Princeton. In addition to that, she's also a singer in a band called Glass Wave. They made one record and it was self-titled. We found it and listened to it, and it's motherfucking terrible. What follows is a list of complaints about Glass Wave by Glass Wave. Listen along on Spotify, but only if you feel like punishing yourself.

—Glass Wave is a band about books. Every one of their songs is based off a different bit of classical literature, which we're pretty sure The Hold Steady already did to a less-annoying effect. They're made up exclusively by college professors, which is double-annoying and means they're less good at playing their instruments than real musicians who have ironic tattoos or whatever ironic people have.

—We learned that Glass Wave is a band by professors about books because they have a very extensive Wikipedia page. At the risk of speculation, we're pretty sure they wrote most of it themselves, because as professional music critics we would describe Wampole's voice as "not good" rather than "haunting." Also, they played their first show to a captive audience of a hundred college first-years.

—The cover of Glass Wave has a woman reading a book on it, which reminds us of a cold, sterile Weeknd album in which no one touched or even looked at each other.

—Glass Wave bills itself as a "progressive rock band," which is true if you like your prog played at half the skill with twice the pretension. We would rather listen to Ozric Tentacles than Glass Wave, and Ozric Tentacles are mainly notable for breaking new ground in the field of aggressively bad music.

—Other random slander: They sound like Steely Dan ran through a poop machine, also you could call them "Ass Wave" if you wanted to be unoriginal and really mean.

In closing, sometimes irony might be important. If you acknowledge that what you do might be perceived as corny it could very well prevent you from coming up with an album as dogshittily bad as this one.