Monday, February 11, 2008

ESD#11: losing my sense of irony

I generally love all things related to Dave Eggers. I was young and self-absorbed enough to relate to Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I was an early subscriber to the Believer. I even belong to McSweeneys' Book of the Month Club. And, now I'm a donor and (hopefully) future volunteer with the newly opened 826 Boston.

Each of the 826 non-profit tutoring centers have what they call a storefront. In New York, it's "Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co."; in San Francisco it's "Pirate Supply Store"; in Boston it's "Bigfoot Research Institute".

When I went to the opening of Boston's 826, I got wrapped up in this sort of disingenuous, tongue-in-cheek conversation with the person representing the Institute, and I honestly had no idea what we were talking about.

Then, today I received an invitation to attend a Bigfoot Research Institute Product Testing Seminar. It's like reading Greek to me.

I just don't get it. Have I lost all sense of irony, or is this confusing to everyone? More importantly, do the students understand this? Considering the location of the writing center and the programming they offer, I assume they're targeting the Latino and African-American communities. In my experience, sarcasm and irony does not cross cultural lines very well, so I question how this will go over with the students.

I hesitate to write this, as it comes off as critical (which I don't intend to be). I'm just honestly confused. As I get more involved with the organization, hopefully it will make more sense.


E said...

While I agree that the irony meter jumps through the roof under the 826 roof, the event is fairly straightforward. $50 for a night of ironic hobnobbing. Good price for a good cause. Also, please read What is the What to cleanse whatever aftertaste lingers from Heartbreaking Work

The_Writer said...

Well, there you have it. I have indeed lost my sense of irony. Darn those clever hipsters.