An Ironic Folly

On the Divine Wisdom of Tilting at Windmills

by Anthony Esolen

You’ve always considered yourself blessed with a fine sense of humor. But now, dragooned into a museum of art, you stand before a room full of commodes, and all you do is furrow your brow. “You don’t appreciate the irony,” your learned companion explains.

“Postmodern irony” they call it nowadays, and say it’s a laugh at the pretense of modernity to explain the universe by a single totalizing system or idea: industry, science, sexual repression, Communism, whatever. Some Christians go along, believing that the small nasty demon who tweaks the nose of the big nasty demon can’t be so . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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