April 28th, 2014
RECAP OF THE PROBLEM
Quite some time ago, when I had more time on my hands, I wrote a piece about irony in response to an NYTimes article I’d read about “hipsters”. The Times article was about what supposedly makes these millenial bohemians tick, and how irony-addled they all are. The piece’s arguments: hipsters are something new, the things they obsess over are largely nonsense, and most fatuous in my opinion: we must exterminate the pestilential irony with which their every act and utterance crawls (wildly paraphrasing mind you).
I disagreed. The article’s arguments felt facile, and the assumptions they were based on over-general. It all felt like another knee-jerk, a-historical over-reaction to the non-problem of irony. My take was that some measure of irony is normal; people on the cultural cutting edge and the people who think they are) are normal, and always around, generation after generation, whether they’re “bohos” “beats” or “hipsters”; and some of what they do & make is bullshit, and a lot of what they do & say and create is A-OK.
At the time, I wanted to write further on the subject, in particular cite two modern art-works, the 2012 film “The Comedy” and the 2013 Heidecker & Wood album “Starting From Nowhere”, both involving one of my favorite comedy artists, Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric fame. I wanted to explore how those works depict or employ irony in ways I find refreshing, inspiring & at times confounding. But my rebuttal to the Times piece was long enough already, so I let it go for a while.
For quite a goddamned while actually.
So. Irony in the early two thousand teens, part two. Let’s just jump right into it:
Heidecker & Wood are comedian, musician, composer & actor Tim Heidecker, & his long-time creative partner, multi-instrumentalist, co-composer and producer Davin Wood. And they made a damned fine record with “Starting From Nowhere” — but a peculiar one, a record so subtly parodic & sneakily piss-taking that you’d be forgiven if you heard it several times and just dismissed it as a hazy, pillowy, finely-wrought, ultra-catchy lost gem of the early to mid 70s that could comfortably sit next to LPs by Seals & Crofts, Steely Dan, Bread, Kenny Loggins, Hall & Oates, Jackson Browne, & the like. (Read More . . .)