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... of irony illustrated by many urban legends an

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... of irony illustrated by many urban legends and contemporary novels, films, and plays. ... Nilsen, Don L. F. 'Parody, Paradox, Nonsense, and Legends. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: ... of irony illustrated by many urban legends an


1
PARADOX
  • by Don L. F. Nilsen
  • and Alleen Pace Nilsen

2
LEWIS CARROLL
  • Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland and Through
    the Looking Glass are filled with ironies and
    paradoxes
  • Why, sometimes Ive believed as many as six
    impossible things before breakfast.
  • The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam
    yesterday---but never jam to-day.
  • Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you
    can do, to keep in the same place. If you want
    to get somewhere else, you must run at least
    twice as fast as that.

3
CATCH-22
  • The expression Catch-22 in Joseph Hellers
    antiwar novel is so intriguing that the books
    title is now in dictionaries as the name for any
    tricky problem, especially one for which the only
    solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in
    the problem.
  • In Hellers book, the character Yossarian would
    be excused from flying bombing missions if he
    were declared insane. However, the fact that he
    is trying to get out of flying bombing missions
    proves his sanity he therefore has to keep
    flying.

4
  • Another paradox in the novel Catch 22 is that the
    pilots can go home as soon as they have flown a
    certain number of missions, but the number of
    missions keeps being increased.
  • This actually happened to Joseph Heller when he
    was a pilot in World War II.

5
  • People who cant get a job until they have
    experience and who cant get experience until
    they have a job are in a Catch-22.
  • So are authors who cant get their manuscripts
    published until they have an agent but cant get
    an agent until they have been published.
  • A newspaper story under the headline Texas in
    Catch-22 told about a Texas state law forbidding
    the execution of anyone insane.
  • A prisoner on death row refused to take the
    medication that would keep him sane.
  • This is the kind of irony illustrated by many
    urban legends and contemporary novels, films, and
    plays.

6
GILBERT AND SULLIVAN
  • Gilbert and Sullivan often relied on paradox for
    comic effect. In The Pirates of Penzance, they
    composed a song about paradoxes
  • How quaint the ways of paradox!
  • At common sense she gaily mocks!
  • A paradox, a paradox,
  • A most ingenious paradox!
  • Ha! ha! ha! ha!

7
GREEK PHILOSOPHERS
  • The Greek philosophers often wrestled with
    paradoxes.
  • The most famous was credited to the Cretan
    philosopher Epimenides All Cretans are liars.
  • Epimenides was a Cretan. Therefore, If he is
    lying, then the statement must be true. But if
    the statement is true, he must be lying.

8
PARADOX VS. CONTRADICTION
  • Paradoxes are statements that seem contradictory,
    unbelievable, or absurd, but in some sense are
    nevertheless true.
  • Because paradoxes highlight breakdowns in our
    expectations of a logical universe, they are
    sources of both delight and consternation as the
    human mind works to figure out how people can in
    good faith talk about a large mouse running
    between the legs of a small elephant or can
    make sense out of the Yiddish curse, He should
    drop dead, God forbid!

9
PARADOXES AND PARADIGM SHIFTS
  • Whenever a paradigm shift occurs in a culture
    there are many paradoxes, because two social
    systems are competing with each other (the old
    one and the new one).
  • The paradox can be part of both of these systems.

10
  • SCIENCE FICTION
  • Paradoxes are explorations of philosophy, logic
    and social criticism.
  • They are a verbal means of acknowledging real
    world conditions and frustrations.
  • When put into other worlds (science fiction or
    fantasy), paradoxes can be even more intriguing.

11
  • For example, the grandfather paradox in science
    fiction is a variation on the plot technique in
    which a time-traveler goes back and murders his
    own grandfather before the time-travelers parent
    was born.
  • This is a brain teaser because if the grandfather
    were prematurely killed then the grandchild
    couldnt have been born and wouldnt have been
    able to go back and commit the murder.

12
SIGNIFICANT PARADOXES FROM THE 16TH CENTURY TO
THE 20TH CENTURY
  • Sits he on ever so high a throne, a man still
    sits on his bottom. (Michel Elyquem de
    Montaigne, 1533-1592)
  • We have just enough religion to make us hate, but
    not enough to make us love one another.
    (Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745)

13
  • I laugh, so that I may not cry. (Pierre Augustin
    Caron de Beaumarchais, 1732-1799)
  • When a feller says, It haint th money, but th
    principle o th thing, its the money. (Josh
    Billings pseudonym for Henry Wheeler Shaw,
    1818-1885)
  • Nowadays people know the price of everything and
    the value of nothing. (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900)

14
  • There aint any answer. There aint going to be
    any answer. There never has been an answer.
    Thats the answer. (Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946)
  • The vital question today is not whether there
    will be life after death, but whether there was
    life before death. (Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1990)

15
  • When I grow up I want to be a little boy.
    (Joseph Heller, 1923-1999)
  • in reference to cartoonist Garry Trudeau As
    with all anti-Establishment figures, Mr. Trudeau
    will soon be an honored member of the
    Establishment. (Art Buchwald, 1925-)

16
Visual Paradox
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