My first impulse is to write something funny about training the boy for an unrewarding life in the factory (of all the cool tools in the machine, they pictured the lathe?), but then I got to thinking about irony and pre-irony. And then I was wondering if – and granted this is a limited view for the purposes of this half-baked blog entry – the US is now sort of both. Or, not both, but ironic and anti-ironic, perhaps as a component of the (such as it is) red state/blue state divide.
Not to get all Bordieu on your asses, but I’m wondering if irony is (unconsciously or not) a kind of cultural capital that exists on the coasts, while the middle (consciously or not) rejects irony for a more straight-ahead view of things (most obviously in entertainments where things like NCIS and Two and a Half Men win frequently) as a symbol of their own kind of cultural capital.
I mean: I could view this ironically as an image showing a bullshit relationship (do fathers and sons do this anymore? Did they ever?) or as a sly sales pitch for an unrewarding goal (a future of dull factory work disguised as a “toy”). But at the same time, someone else could view this as a legitimately aspirational or nostalgic image (a genuine relationship moment, happily free from complications of media and technology). I suppose it’s not knowable to what extent I’m forcing my irony, or they’d be forcing their anti-irony, essentially for the same purposes.
You know, I’m not sure any of this makes any sense.Maybe I’m just killing time. But at the end of it all, I do know this: I would’ve loved to’ve had a toy like that! Six tools in one!