Irony can used to make fun of others (gentle or not). And I, like others, use it to make fun of myself, especially when there is something I want others to listen to and not dismiss, because I know that my thinking is incomplete, and that a million contradictions can be hurled at it. So I will fend some of those off by letting people know that I’m human too. Irony exposes contradictions between vision and reality. Visions are never big enough to encompass all of Reality (reality).
Too many visions take themselves too seriously. The problem is, they don’t fit together well. So it helps to soften the edges by exposing the contradictions, and by expressing openness.
But of course, irony can be used with the exact opposite intent – to shut down, close, dismiss. borglephyloxy.