I’m still fiddling with iTunes, which means that my well-documented stroll down memory lane continues apace. And while ambling through The Replacements’ still-excellent Let it Be last night, a question occurred to me: when did irony go mainstream? I ask because their cover of KISS’s “Black Diamond” remains great — because it’s a great song, after all — but it seems to have lost some of its edge. And I think that relative dullness is a result of irony having become bankable and then ubiquitous. Do we know when that happened? Or ’twas it ever thus?

I ask because when I was a kid, irony was my in retrospect totally annoying, not to mention trite coping strategy for dealing with a fallen world in which popular kids didn’t like me rife with commercialism. But now, irony itself is commercially viable. And my new coping strategy appears to be buying an iPhone, rejiggering my iTunes playlists, and posting about whatever quasi-maudlin nonsense happens to be rattling around my head. Anyway, as I noted in the comments of my earlier self-indulgent post, someone should really write a cultural history of irony.

Update: For such a history, see, for starters, Kevin’s answer to my question.