Oh the Irony.

Of the many things in this world that irritate me, the particular group of what I’m going to label “non-congizent behavior” is near and dear to my heart. This is the sort of behavior that encompasses things like: the militant pursuit of peace, the mindless adherence to the ideas of free thinkers, obstreperous advocation of inoffensiveness, and the like. Just for clarity: while some of these behaviors also contain elements of hypocrisy, that is not what I am getting at. Hypocrisy, while irritating, does not create the same kind of intellectual fracturing that non-cognizant behavior does.

Which brings us to irony. While perhaps not the most “big picture” of these, it is by far the one I have to deal with the most, so it’s getting the proverbial grease.

This is The Internet. People are wrong on it. Which includes misuse of the world irony. This is bad, and should be corrected where it is found. This stipulated, far, far more often I come across people misusing the ‘misuse of irony’. The number of times I’ve head people cry “that’s not irony” after which I’ve quietly muttered “yes it is” is staggering. So, for your viewing pleasure, here it is: IRONY. (If you don’t like the source, pick another one. I don’t care; they’re all going to tell you essentially the same thing.)

The problem, I suspect, arises from that first definition. Let’s take a look at it:

the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Okay. So, yes. Irony is used to convey meanings opposite of that which is explicitly stated. That is a definition. There are seven others. Of particular note:

an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected

This. This is the form of irony that most people use, and that same from that most people mistakenly label ‘misused’. Yes, an Olympic swimmer drowning in a bathtub is ironic. Yes, Tony Stark giving the world its’ greatest weapon in his attempts to rid them from it is ironic. And yes, had he pulled it off, Arthas raising an army of Scourge champions from the people that were meant to destroy him would have been ironic. (Thank you /Trade)

Please, for the love of dog, stop misunderstanding irony. The real irony here is that, whether the person wanted to improve others’ literacy or just wanted to seem smarter, they accomplished the exact opposite.

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One Response to Oh the Irony.

  1. Mac says:

    One thing about the word irony that amuses me is how people pick apart *that* song because of its misuse – nothing in the song is actually ironic at all.

    Or is it?

    The one point from memory “Deathrow pardon / two minutes too late” is, in fact ironic. Irony of fates – the contrast between human ideals and what actually goes on.

    I had a point to this, but it took me about three hours to type it and now I don’t remember what it was. I do agree very strongly with your conclusion, however.

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