You’re familiar with the singularity, right? Basically, a point of mass so compact and so massive that it creates a black hole from which not even light can escape. There are other uses for the word singularity, such as the potential technological singularity, but I think the gravitational singularity is perhaps the most well known.
I would like to propose the creation of a new type of singularity: the irony singularity. They are caused when a statement is so ironic that nothing else could ever achieve a greater level of irony; we might say that this statement is infinitely ironic.
Now, research on the existence of irony singularities is still very much in its early stages, seeing as how I only postulated their existence a few minutes ago. Nevertheless, I believe we have a viable candidate that may prove the existence of irony singularities. Further research needs to be done, but take a look at this:
GOP strategists are trying very hard to remind potential voters in the 2016 presidential election that Hillary Clinton (who hasn’t even decided whether to run yet) will be old when she hypothetically assumes office. Like, really old.
The article goes on to note that Ronald Reagan was a year older when he assumed office than Hillary would be in 2016, John McCain was three years older (although this was something we did criticize him about, to be fair), and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole was four years older when he ran. So, you know; just throwing that out there for your consideration.
So, let’s parse this out: the Republican party, which is the party of old white men, is trying to point out that a candidate is too old. The Republican party, the conservative party, wants you to know that “voting for Hillary Clinton would be like going back in time,” even though the very definition of conservatism is the promotion of traditional ideas in opposition to progressivism.
If the irony were any more massive, it would already have its own gravitational field. Maybe it does. Further research is required.
I can’t think of a better example that shows how off-kilter conservatism is in this country when they feel it’s politically sound to paint their opponent (notably an opponent who hasn’t even announced an intention to run) as having the same problems and weakness that they themselves have. “Don’t vote for her,” they are saying, “she’s old, just like us and we all know you hate us. So . . . vote for us instead?”
Of all the strategies to use to try and turn voters away from a potential candidate, why go with this one? Did you think we wouldn’t notice the median age of your own candidates? Seriously?
The frustrating part is, if you’ll allow me to be serious for a moment, I think it’s really unfortunate that conservatism has run into a reef and is sinking quickly. A revitalized Republican party that catered to a larger demographic than Tea Partiers, old white men, and the religious right might actually have a few good ideas. As it stands right now, though, whatever good ideas their members do have are lost in a sea of noise and reactionary bullshit. I’d like it if that changed, but I don’t think it will. At least, I don’t think it will in time for 2016.
One thought on “The Irony Singularity”
I think without realizing it, you hit on exactly the problem the republican party has right now. “Tea Partiers, old white men, and the religious right” it’s easy to miss in the mess of everything that those are three very different groups that. “Tea Partiers” are the hyper-fiscal-conservatives of the Republican party, and are almost Libertarian in their political message. The “Religious Right” is the hyper-social-conservative half of the party, and are almost authoritarian in their pursuit of laws to restrict social behavior. The republican party is very fractured right now, while the democratic party has a clear message (even if Obama is doing an utterly terrible job of backing that message up).
“Old White Men” is perhaps disingenuous. There is a demographic difference between the republican party and the democratic party, but women only slightly favor the democratic party (and that’s not consistent in all elections) and well over a third of the voters in the 18-29 year-old bracket vote Republican as well. Moreover, I think attacking a political party based on demographics is…well…sleazy. There are so many better things to attack, like the party’s stance on gay rights, or just their politics in general.
As for the republican irony, you said it yourself, the democrats attacked McCain for his age throughout his campaign. Every candidate is too old or too young, too inexperienced or too set in their ways, too extreme or too wishy-washy, too _____ or too not _____. Attacking the candidates is what happens in an election, and it’s standard practice to sow the seeds of ad hominem as soon as a front runner appears.