Irony and the iPhone

What is it about our generation and being ironic?

We love to point out irony. We love to create irony. We even accessorize with irony.

The phrase “that’s so ironic” is probably misused thousands of times a day, in place of “that’s such a coincidence” or “that’s so cliche,” even “that’s so cool!”  But in a way, it doesn’t matter whether it’s used correctly.

No, the irony of irony is that just about anything can be ironic.

Take the iPhone. There’s this trend of hiding one of the most advanced tools of communication of our time in retro cases. (Don’t get me wrong, I think the cases are really cool.) But in stuffing the iPhone inside a replica of a cassette tape, or attaching it to an old school receiver,  we’re forcing irony onto a machine that’s inherently unironic. We’re very intentional in doing so, reminding others that we are more than the technology we grew up with.  We still have the capacity to think for ourselves — if anything the Internet Age has made us more quick-thinking — and we manifest our wittiness in the way we recognize or create irony in daily situations.

Why?  Because irony makes us different. In a way, the iPhone (or comparable smartphone) is one of the great levelers of the world. Each day, the phone becomes more ubiquitous. Apple advertises to people across the world, old and young. Since owning an iPhone no longer corresponds with coolness or technological savviness, we young people need some way to set ourselves apart, to make the phone reflect our identities.