Irony provokes laughter when used as comedy. Irony is a discovery that this is really that, but that is also this. Caught in the grip of ambiguity—the terrifying loss of time and place, which is who you are–the laughter evoked by irony restores unity.
Let’s flesh this out. The Terror of Ambiguity is that it is the WaWa of a mike in an amplifier that keeps oscillating until either the mind or the amplifier explodes. TURN IT OFF!
We have to turn off ambiguity, and we do that by doubling down of This or That, or we laugh. Ambiguity threatens America now, which is always the precursor of dramatic change. Before the worm becomes a butterfly it is worm/butterfly. That is ambiguous. Is that a man or woman? Not knowing is the terror of ambiguity. Who am I? I don’t know…Who can rest there?
Before the Creative Act of creation, there is always the terror of ambiguity, the Dark Night of the Soul, say the Christian mystics.
That is where we are now as a nation, as a society. And That is a good place because when ambiguity comes, can creation be far behind? The only way out of ambiguity is through creativity or violence.
Fortunately, America has a system where we can elect creativity and not resort to revolution and total war in order to escape the terror of ambiguity.
Irony is when THIS says it is THIS but is actually THAT. The ironic leap is a creative leap, not a horizontal one from one stone to another. The ironic leap is beyond the stone altogether, a leap that sees the transcendent whole that contains the opposites. Irony points you to that leap by pointing skillfully to the ambiguity and its terror, forcing you to leap like a frog out of heating water. The most famous example of irony is Mark Anthony’s speech that Brutus is an honorable man.
Mrs. Maisel is a study of ironic Jewish humor. Their god is an ironic god. Mrs. Maisel said that Jews complain while Gentiles repress. No matter how good something is, it has another side. Six roses are given to you. “What, you couldn’t count to twelve?” Their history has been ionic. You are accepted in his society/you are kicked out of this society. You are the Chosen People/you are the persecuted people. You are Job who has done everything right, a most honorable man. You are dishonored by your God. Oh, the irony, the irony…..(laughter)
Irony is the laughter that dances on misfortune.