Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is Irony?

What is irony? I thought I knew. In fact, I started writing this blog thinking I knew, but the more I looked for examples, the more I realized that it’s not what I thought. Er, is that irony? Some sites say yes, some  say no.

Apparently, this is quite a debate. It has become one of those words that is so misunderstood that those misunderstood definitions have become widely acceptable. But are they right? (Hmm, kind of like starting a sentence with “But” or “And.” Wait, is that the period inside, or outside of the quotations? Which side of the Pond did the dictionary come from? I mean, From which side of the Pond—Aaarrrghhhh!)

Sorry, back to the subject at hand. Alanis Morrisette’s song, Ironic, is named on many sites as the wrong meaning of irony. I’ll use one of her lines as an example:

It’s a black fly in your chardonnay
This is not, in itself, irony. Would it be if, say, you wanted a glass of chardonnay at home, dug it out of the back of the fridge, only to find a black fly in the bottle. In the trash it goes, and you’re moved to clean the rest of the fridge because...ew! Unfortunately, that was your last bottle of chardonnay, and by now you not only want it, you need it. At this point, you decide you deserve to get the hell out of the house, and you treat yourself to a nice glass of chardonnay at a local bar. You’re about to take your first sip, when a black fly decides to commit Kamikaze - in your chardonnay.

Is this irony now? Or simply Murphy’s Law with an evil sense of humor? I would call it irony because the opposite of what was expected to happen, happened. It’s a situational irony. Here’s one website that gives the rules, which says this scenario would be irony, but then it goes on to give examples where scenarios like this wouldn’t be irony. Heh?

Imagine my surprise to also discover an entire website dedicated to the cause, where definitions and examples are posted and put to a vote.

I dare you to take a look at both sites and see what you think. Did irony mean what you thought it meant? Did you walk away with a better understanding, or even more confusion?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Isn’t it ironic?
Don’t you think?
By the way, it did rain on my wedding day. Made my hair curl perfectly.


Desiree Holt said...

And isn't it ironic that so many people look at it differently. And good on the curls!

Dalton Diaz said...

Yep, probably the only bride that day to thank God for rain!

Ashlyn Chase said...

I totally know what irony is...and Ms. Morrisette has it wrong, wrong, wrong.

Watch The Daily Show. Their writers certainly know what it is. Nobody does it better.