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NYT Magazine on the Anti-Ironist

A "fine young man" and author of "For Common Things: Irony, Trust and Commitment in America Today", he describes cynicism as the "simple sister of irony". I've been reading Mark Kingwell's "Better Living: In Pursuit of Happiness From Plato to Prozac", and he has this to say on the subject :
"A loose succession of thinkers rather than a coherent school, the Cynics were founded, more or less, in the fourth century B.C by Diogenes of Sinope and flourished into the sixth century A.D. They argued that genuine happiness must involve critical self-knowledge, virtuous action and a deep mistrust of external goods like wealth, reputation and social convention. They were sharply critical of ignorance, however blissful, and favoured the literary genres of diatribe and polemic to shock their listeners into awareness of society's many somnambulent features. Radical, satirical and iconoclastic, the Cynics believed that lasting satisfaction was to be found only in overcoming the cheap temptations of the cultural marketplace and in calling society to moral account. They were prickly, yes, but not dismissive. They advocated self-mastery and reform, not destruction or hopelessness. They were happy. So call me cynical; I consider it a compliment."

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