The trend that contemporary lore tends to be clothed in irony is worth further inquiry.

Traditionally, lore was clothed in myth. And when I say myth, I mean the old stories. Again, like lore, the kind of stuff you can't make up. The things that bards practice. Although many myths have humorous or humiliating elements, I wouldn't say their central tenor is irony.

Why is it that those of us in Web3 need the crutch of irony?

First, let's look at what is going on in "cringe." A classic example of cringe would be what happens when watching Michael Scott in "The Office." Because we're watching TV, there is no agency on the part of the viewer; we're along for the ride. When "cringing," we fear association with the transgressor of the taboo (and sometimes derogatory) behavior, simply by being a spectator. Cringe is a kind of disempowered empathy. If you're in a position of agency—such as in a live interchange, it is possible to transcend cringe by challenging the cringeworthy behavior. But this requires the privilege and the will to reframe something as it is happening.

So to come back around to why those of us in Web3 need irony—it comes down to a combination of asynchronous communication platforms (which remove agency; you can't easily interrupt a cringe moment if it happened 20 minutes ago and has already been retweeted 1,000 times), along with what I would describe as a low sense of self-esteem on behalf of many people today (often this is reinforced by a lack of safe spaces; threat of discrimination, etc.).

Irony is necessary when your community can't look sincerity or truth in the eye, a kind of "looking at Medusa through the mirror," if you will. To stick with the analogy here, we all need the grit of women to not be turned to stone when locking eyes with the truth.

Are there hazards of irony? Absolutely. Irony makes us comfortable by degrading something that has a sincere root, to make it more palatable. "Hey, if this thing doesn't matter, then I can take it seriously." The cost to irony is that we can only partake of truth when we've perverted it.

The irony here is that, if lore really is for an internal audience and not just a refreshed version of marketing, of shilling, then it speaks to our lack of agency and trust that we can't let truths stand on their own.

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Great insights, as usual. Thanks. You mention Susan Sontag's "Notes on Camp" > make me think of "Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice" by J.F.Martel. But you add the irony part to it.

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