Irony Is Dead Again? Gee Thanks, Obama

Joan Didion disses hopeful trend, but ironists keep the flame
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2008 10:36 AM CST
A poster showing Barack Obama dressed as Superman decorates a port-a-loo in the middle of Houston street October 9, 2008 in New York City.    (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s America is an “irony-free zone” where “naïveté translated into ‘hope,’” writer Joan Didion groused after the election. But not all ironists agree: P.J. O’Rourke, for one, wrote that he hopes it's not too early to talk about Obama's "failed presidency," and novelist Colson Whitehead wrote an op-ed under the headline, "Finally, a Thin President."

But Didion may have a point. A Nexus search reveals that usage of the word “irony” in newspapers is down this year. Jokes about Sarah Palin still rule the land, because Obama jokes can draw backlash; an Onion article calling Obama a “con man” set message boards ablaze. “Their sarcasm processors have kind of gone into shock,” said an Onion editor, who added that humorists will find “the next dumb thing to satirize.”