WORDS ABOUT WORDS
The ironic individual practices a style of speech and behavior that avoids all appearance of naiveté -- of naive devotion, belief, or hope. He subtly protests the inadequacy of the things he says, the gestures he makes, the acts he performs. By the inflection of his voice, the expression of his face, and the motion of his body, he signals that he is aware of all the ways he may be thought silly or jejune, and that he might even think so himself. His wariness becomes a mistrust of language itself. He disowns his own words.
Jedediah Purdy, American writer, For Common Things, 1999
Posted on October 10, 1999 at 5:30 PM