In the last few days two people have taken ironic statements I've made in posts on this weblog literally...I wrote at the end my post on Lynsey Hanley's not-so-well-researched book Estates how odd it was that flats in Trellick and Balfron Tower change hands for such high sums, given that, if Hanley is to be believed, these are hellish places to live...this confused at least one reader. And then my bad joke about not having been photographed by Steve Pyke, one reader asked me whether it was meant as a joke. These are just the two I know about. I'm beginning to wonder whether there is something about weblogs that makes irony difficult to spot. Perhaps because bloggers tend to speak from the heart, the form invites literal readings. The informal tone can mimic speech in some ways, but without the non-verbal messages some framing is lost. Or is there a new literalism at large?