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A Decade of Dark HumorHow Comedy, Irony, and Satire Shaped Post-9/11 America$
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Ted Gournelos and Viveca Greene

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781617030062

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617030062.001.0001

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date: 15 December 2017

Critique, Counternarratives, and Ironic Intervention in South Park and Stephen Colbert1

Critique, Counternarratives, and Ironic Intervention in South Park and Stephen Colbert1

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter Seven Critique, Counternarratives, and Ironic Intervention in South Park and Stephen Colbert1
Source:
A Decade of Dark Humor
Author(s):

Viveca Greene

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617030062.003.0007

This chapter examines irony as a mode of critique by comparing a South Park episode that aired on the eve of the war in Iraq to Stephen Colbert’s appearance as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner keynote in 2006. It reformulates the theories of unstable and stable irony first outlined by Wayne Booth in his 1974 book A Rhetoric of Irony and highlights irony’s potential to transform politics when it makes its ideological commitments apparent. It also suggests that directed gestures of stable irony challenge the power structures that have arisen in the wake of 9/11. It comments on Stanley Fish’s critique of Booth’s A Rhetoric of Irony, the ways in which ironic performances conjure (or neglect to conjure) counternarratives, gradations of irony and their relationship to social criticism, and the irony of political engagement in a post-9/11 world.

Keywords:   irony, South Park, war, Iraq, Stephen Colbert, Wayne Booth, A Rhetoric of Irony, politics, 9/11, social criticism

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