Sunday, July 09, 2006

Irony Is Dead

most soldiers found it stressful and devastating to return to normality after the trenches - there is a limit to how far you can take irony before you have to shoot yourself


Today I was thoroughly enlightened on what Irony is, and more precisely, what Irony is not. Not just for the sake of the eccentric few readers of this blog but also for the sake of keeping this distinction handy for future reference I jot the points down here and the references at the bottom. Hope I like it. (That was irony.)

What Irony Is:
Irony is the use of words in a way to conceal true intention with literal intention. More clearly, irony is when you say one thing but mean another.
e.g.: When someone dies in the collapse of a bridge from which they'd gotten rich by embezzelling funds earmarked for safety mechanisms, that's not at all ironic. However, when another party looks over the edge of the bridge at the crippled and dying embezzler's body, and says "hey, good thinking stealing those guide rails," that's irony well placed.


What Irony Isn't:
Irony isn't reciprocity.
e.g.:If person A does thing X, and somehow it comes back and bites them in the ass, that is not ironic. If something happens to someone which would have been preventable had they not done some awful thing they did, that's not ironic. There is no irony in catching someone doing what they told others not to do, nor is there irony in something happening after someone suggested it wouldn't/couldn't. There is no irony in someone aspiring to better someone else by improving one facet and ending up with an even lesser result. There is no irony in trying to prevent something and thereby accelerating or worsening it. There is no irony in a situation being supported solely by the belief in a preconception about said situation. These things are coincidental, karmic, synchronous, biting, chiding, bittersweet, concurrent, foreshadowed, predictable, correspondant, cruel, telescoped and even occasionally educational. They are not ironic.


"Sarcasm is sneering, jesting, or mocking a person, situation or thing. It is often used in a humorous or ironic manner..." (Wikipedia) Sarcasm and Irony often overlap but that's more of a coincidence and there is no rule that they must. Statements can be separately sarcastic ("No, believe it or not, I can't read your mind!") or Ironic ("Irony is dead."). Further sarcasm need not be cynical either. More on these couple of distinctions and also on the topic of Sarcasm, later.

Latter part was not taken from http://sc.tri-bit.com/Irony
Neither was the first paragraph copied from http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,985375,00.html
That wasn't the most pitiful rhetorical irony ever concocted. Neither is this. I must not refrain.

2 comments:

sonali said...

well i think when u took up the eg. of that bridge collapsing......the situation where u called it actually ironic was merely another way of putting it in words, although the situation was the same whether u choose 2 believe so or not....

The Shrew said...

I'm not awake and I cannot comprehend what you said.