"The Post-Ironic Age” describes our times to a nicety, it seems to me. We've reached a point where statements are made by public officials and institutions which, only a couple decades ago, would have gotten the speaker laughed off the stage. But today such pronouncements are unremarkable.
I think we live in the first age in history in which such nonsense is possible on a worldwide scale. There have always been totalitarian societies where the subject of the emperor's clothing deficit has been dangerous to bring up, but only today is such delusion acceptable everywhere. And not merely among the “ignorant masses,” but most especially and vociferously among the intellectuals.
Unfortunately, this means such statements as, "The System worked.", uttered by our Secretary of Homeland Security after an alleged terrorist on the no-fly list purchsed a one-way ticket for cash and boarded a plane for Detroit where he tried to light himself up on landing -- such statements are taken seriously.
Conversely, intended ironies, satires and sarcasm are also taken seriously. Take, for instance, responses #16 and #17 in this post at FirstThings, intended as a send-up of Anne Rice's rejection of the Catholic Church, "I Refuse to be Anti-Undead"
addendum: In answer to David Goldman: I hope not, but for now I am content to sit at the feet of a master and learn.