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Isn't It Ironic?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the don't-you-think dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 683

gessel writes "Have you ever used the word "ironic?" Do you know what it really means? If not, is that ironic? Was Seinfeld's "irony" really the cause of the utter collapse of civil society as we knew it? How ironic was it for the CEO of MTV to declare irony a victim of 9/11? The Guardian is running a brilliant article that clears the confusion around a culturally critical and chronically misused word."

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Wha? (-1, Offtopic)

403Forbidden (610018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322311)

Where did this come from?

I mod this story (-1, Offtopic)

Re:Wha? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322352)

What? modding me down? Should I have put a lame "isn't it ironic that slashdot is posting news that isn't tech related?"

joke (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322313)

Insert lame Alanis Morsette joke here

yo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322314)

yo

I find it rather ironic (3, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322315)

I find it rather ironic that the Guardian is doing a story on irony... or do I?

However, I don't find it ironic that Slashdot picked up that story...or don't it?

I dunno. I'm confused even more now. :)

Re:I find it rather ironic (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322404)

Interesting? I get modded interesting? The article tries to clear up confusion about the word irony and I state that I'm even MORE confused. That's IRONY. Duh. Some poeple have NO sense of humour!

Re:I find it rather ironic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322479)

Mod the parent as shit.

Oh the humanity....... (5, Funny)

crunchywelch (656708) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322316)

Keep in mind that it will not be ironic for you to post something that is not ironic, but claim that it is. That would just be moronic.

Re:Oh the humanity....... (5, Interesting)

Cliffy03 (663924) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322453)

OK, is this ironic? My uncle quit stock car racing because my aunt was worried to much about him. So he decided to be a track announcer, and during the first race a car lost control and hit the tower. He broke his leg.

Re:Oh the humanity....... (1)

matithyahu (560061) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322515)

yes, yes it is

Re:Oh the humanity....... (4, Funny)

I Want GNU! (556631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322512)

Wow, someone on Slashdot knows what he's talking about, and it's grammar no less. If that's not ironic I don't know what is.

And does anyone remember the Futurama episode where the 80s guy helped Fry make their stock go public? Zoidberg sold his shares of stock for a sandwich, then the stock went up then down in value.

"Aha! Once again the conservative sandwich-heavy portfolio pays of for the hungry investor!"


(chomp)

"Oh no! I'm ruined!"

Re:Oh the humanity....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322519)

I don't understand the article (the slashdot one nor the Gaurdian.co.uk one). Ironic means exactly what I thought it meant and exactly how I use it. And I've never heard someone use it to mean "cool" or "distant" or "funny" or "cynical". Maybe this is just a brittish thing and they've got a bunch of morons running around thinking "irony" is just "anythign that's a hoot"?

Seriously.. gotta be one of the stupidest articles I've ever read.

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322318)

fp

Trolls (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322319)

I had never considered before that trolls were being ironic, but many are!

FP?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322320)

FP!!!

isnt it ironic?

alanis. (1)

customs (236182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322322)

alanis morisette's song "ironic" was really called "just a series of coincidences", and didn't really fit the actual definition of irony.

and isn't it ironic..blah blah blah. except, not.

now that's ironic.

Re:alanis. (0, Informative)

Scooter (8281) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322372)

LOL you beat me to it. I've been waiting for an excuse to bitch about that song. Excuse me whilst I do so anyway. Ahem.. "Isn't it ironic" well no you thick woman - it's just unlucky. "like rain, on your wedding day" - no it's not ironic you moron. It might be if you were marrying a meteorologist, otherwise it's just bad luck. Like too many forks when all you want is a knife" (or something). Well, again, that's just unfortunate, or bad planning in the cutlery provisioning dept. It is *not* ironic. At all.

Thanks. I feel better now.

Re:alanis. (4, Funny)

mooboynyc (596139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322440)

Yeah, but the would-be title "Doesn't it Suck?" doesn't work as well musically.

Re:alanis. (1)

Scooter (8281) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322447)

Oh I dunno...

Re:alanis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322452)

I agree. Irony is not "a black fly in your chardonnay". Irony is naming the national airport after the man that fired all the air traffic controllers.

Re:alanis. (1)

_generica (27453) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322463)

except, iirc, she publicly stated that the irony of the song is that none of the examples of irony are actually irony

now, that _is_ ironic

better luck next time :P

Re:alanis. (3, Informative)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322455)

There's a page that goes line by line through the lyrics and explains why they are not examples of irony:

The True Irony of Alanis Morissette [mellowfellow.com]

Alanis Morissette sings a song titled "Ironic" on her album Jagged Little Pill. In this song she offers vignettes of situations where life is going well and then suddenly takes a turn for the worse. She exclaims, "Isn't it ironic...don't you think?" My answer: "No!" I have critically analyzed her lyrics and have found only 1 ironic episode therein. Ultimately I have discovered that she has no clue as to what irony really is.

That song always bothered me and I found this site really comforting that it bothered someone else enough to take the trouble to dissect it for everyone.

Re:alanis. (1)

_generica (27453) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322496)

but that IS the irony of the song
that none of the examples of irony _are_ irony

why should you have a problem with it?
the title of the song is technically correct

Oh, sweet irony (5, Funny)

rgoer (521471) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322323)

Here's the big irony for this article: somehow, someone felt that it belongs under a heading that includes the phrase "stuff that matters."

Re:Oh, sweet irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322462)

No, no, the big irony is all the posts under this story which call all sorts of things ironic which aren't really ironic at all. Now that's ironic.

Re:Oh, sweet irony (1)

ScottyB (13347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322495)

You're right, that is very ironic. ...
(What I just said would be ironic were I to have said it with some sort of indication that I really mean that it is not ironic at all. Their posts are incorrect, but they are not ironic since they sincerely think those things are ironic. So much for the story resolving the misconceptions. That's NOT very ironic.)

Re:Oh, sweet irony (1)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322522)

No, no, the big irony is all the posts under this story which call all sorts of things ironic which aren't really ironic at all. Now that's ironic.

Isn't it ironic how much we expect irony?

second post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322324)

second post

HAHAHAHAHHAA eYe r00l (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322330)

it's like an anonymous coward getting the first post...

why (0, Insightful)

JrTcoNrd (674093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322331)

why did slashdot post this story? its pointless... and quite stupid. This is what I would expect from fark.com

Huh? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322332)

Don't you have some kernel patches to write or something else more important to discuss?

Re:Huh? (0)

Superwraith (683910) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322365)

> Don't you have some kernel patches to write or
> something else more important to discuss?

If I did i wouldn't be here posting on slashdot... Isn't that ironic???

Old news for me... ironically many. (1)

403Forbidden (610018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322337)

Yes, that's the right use. It's ironic that many people already know and have seen what is supposed to be "news" thus making it not news.

I've seen this more and more. People who use ironic as a bussword, and as a synonym to "weird" or some such nonsense.

Of course, isn't it to be expected? People do stupider things.

WORST STORY EVER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322338)

SLASHDOT HITS A NEW LOW

i agree. please mod-up parent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322527)

Please mod-up parent!

None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322339)

I think that you are over analyzing everything.

Ask Alanis (4, Informative)

Crazy Eight (673088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322343)

or check out what this guy has to say [mellowfellow.com] .

South Park episode display classic irony (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322351)

In a recent South Park episode, Matt and Trey had the town under siege by greedy corporate Native Americans, intent on paving it over to make a highway from denver to their casino. The town won't sell out, so the Native American resort to rubbing blankets on SARS infected Chinese people and giving them to the townsfolk. One of the kids goes on a 'spirit-journey' using his culture's native vision-drug, huffing paint thinner, and he finds out that the cure for SARS is his culture's traditional medicine of Campbell's Chicken Soup, Nyquil, and Ginger Ale. The Chief's son also contracts SARS. The townsfolk give him the cure, and the chief gratefully gives them their town back.

Irony, as I understand it, is deliberatly saying the opposite of what you mean. No one really thinks Matt and Trey are trying to say that Native Americans are greedy soulless corporate scum.

Re:South Park episode display classic irony (2, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322439)

Let's not forget that giving diseased blankets to Native Americans who had no resistance to European infections (because they had never been previously exposed to them) was a favourite trick in the days of the open frontiers.

When times were bad for the pilgrims, the Native Americans shared what they had with them, hence Thanksgiving. When times were good, the European settlers fucked over the Native Americans every chance they got (and they still do), hence the virtually non-existant Native American population in the US today.

It's nice that, in the nation's capital, a city named after the first European settler to preside over the US, the nation's pride in its indigenous peoples is proudly displayed in the name of that city's NFL franchise, the Washington Redskins, and on the side of it's helmets. Perhaps, in centuries to come, people of Latin American and African descent will be equally honoured by NFL teams called the LA Niggers or the Miami Dagos.

Re:South Park episode display classic irony (1)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322477)

Yea, life really sucks sometimes, but what ya gonna do? You can't kill EVERYONE... or can you...

Re:South Park episode display classic irony (1)

Nodatadj (28279) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322446)

"Irony, as I understand it, is deliberatly saying the opposite of what you mean"

No, thats sarcasm.

What this south park episode displayed seems to be satire.

What would have been ironic is that if instead of wiping out the South Park the native americans had wiped themselves out.

Re:South Park episode display classic irony (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322513)

No, that would simply be a classic backfire. Ironic would be if the act of giving them SARS made them all supermen and the South Park residents threw them a party in their honor for such a magnificent gift, at which all the indians died of a previously unknown food-related allergy.

Re:South Park episode display classic irony (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322454)

I have two comments:

First, how is the sense of "irony" you've described differ from sarcasm? The Guardian article, in my mind, does an excellent job of outlining exactly what "irony" means in the sense you've implied (e.g., in an argument with someone who is ignorant on a topic, when you ask questions such as "is that so?"). However, there is a fuzzy line, and I'm not sure where the irony-sarcasm line is. My guess is, by the way, that this link with sarcasm is where the misconception of "irony" meaning "cynical" comes from--sarcastic people are often cynical, after all. Is sarcasm cynical irony?

Second, there is a second meaning of irony that seems to get lost in these discussions: events coincidentally occuring in a way that is opposite to what is expected, or in a way that emphasizes something by creating a contrast between an occurence and some earlier event, idea, or situation.

Define Irony.... (1)

ERJ (600451) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322355)

["Sweet Home Alabama" plays in background.]
Garland Greene: Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.

Isn't it PATHETIC? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322361)

Isn't it PATHETIC that slashdot thinks this is worthy of a front page story? I have submitted anal gases more worthy than this.

Re:Isn't it PATHETIC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322456)

At least it isn't yet another IBM vs SCO story. A little varity never hurt anyone.

And this is news for nerds how? (-1, Offtopic)

TerryAtWork (598364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322363)

Well?

Horrible story (-1, Offtopic)

Cesaro (78578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322364)

An unimpressive article, uninspired content, and in the end it didn't say anything.

How did this one slip onto Slashdot at all?

Re:Horrible story (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322392)

<vent>

This is what I hate: word nazis.

Guess what happens when everyone starts using a word a certain way?

That becomes the definition.

Will we ever learn?

I know what "ironic" is supposed to mean, but I know what people usually mean when they say "ironic."

It's fine. We all know what's meant, and there isn't really another word to convey the meaning that is trying to be conveyed by current use of the word "ironic." "Coincidental" doesn't cut it, nor does "wierd," or whatever.

As long as there's no confusion over meaning, and no other more appropriate term, it's okay. Get over it and find another way to stroke your ego.

</vent>

Re:Horrible story (2, Informative)

Cesaro (78578) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322427)

It is the nature of languages to change. Just as society evolves, language evolves to suit it.

Sometimes it is done unintentially, othertimes it is done in the hopes of getting a product name out there ("I googled for it...", "Want a coke?" when you actually mean any generic soda, etc...) and other times it is done for the sake of brevity.

Irregardless of the motivation, the language evolves and eventually it becomes accepted enough and then it gets put into the dictionaries.

I had an interesting discussion with the folks at m-w.com about how that actually works. Pretty interesting stuff.

*shrug* That is how it works, so deal with it.

p.s. I used irregardless just to piss some people off.

I would reply - -- - (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322366)

But you self suffering wankers would confuse irony with a lack of appreciation of your own self importance. And I'm not sure if that is ironic or tragic.

Next week: proper use of "AKA" (2, Informative)

green pizza (159161) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322368)

If there's one term that, when used incorrectly, bugs me more than "irony", it's "AKA". I've often seen it misued as a replacement for "i.e." or "e.g." but there have been some worse offenders.

Example:
There are some OSes out there that really suck... AKA Windows 95

Or worse yet:
Man I'm tired from all of that work, AKA I partied all night.

Ugh.

Re:Next week: proper use of "AKA" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322398)

AKA is an abbreviation of Also Known As. Google is your friend, http://labs.google.com/glossary?q=AKA

Re:Next week: proper use of "AKA" (2, Insightful)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322480)

AKA is an abbreviation of "also known as", and I don't see a problem with the usage you're describing. AKA is often used in a humorous context for phrase subsitution... the first phrase with some suggestive punctuation:

There are some "OSes out there that really suck" (AKA "Windows 95.")

I don't even know what the last example is trying to say. I might help it out with a little rewording, if I even understand what you are saying at all.

Man, I'm tired from all of that "work" (AKA "partying.") (AKA used for phrase subsitution again.)

I find it ironic that you post this ironic subject (and ironically you will probably be modded down again to -1, Ironic, and so will I.)

Words change in meaning over time (2, Insightful)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322371)

From the article:

We have a grave problem with this word

Well, it so happens to be that we humans constantly shift the meaning of the words in our language. It is believed that the strongest driver of this is the universal appeal in appearing interesting to others.

Language teachers and writers of articles such as this fight a losing battle against such changes in language. Of course, in the long run, a word is defined by the people who use it and not by some dictionary from Oxford. The latter can be changed.

The guardians of language are often the biggest opponents of it's development and modernization. Isn't that ironic?

Tor

Irony is chronically misused? Inconceivable! (4, Funny)

erpbridge (64037) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322377)

They say the concept of irony and it's usage is being chronically misued? That's inconceivable!

Sounds like Zoe Williams (the author of The Guardian article) is taking a line from Inigo Montoya:

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Bomb technician (1)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322431)

Are you really a bomb technician? Is it ironic when your computer crashes?

Oh, the irony... (2, Interesting)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322379)

People seem to like to use the word because it sounds cool, or makes them sound smart, or because they heard their friend say it. Like "who will think of the children?" or "what would Jesus do?" They probably have no idea what they're saying about except that they heard it on TV once.

Isn't it ironic?

A classic example of irony (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322381)

is the fact that Michael is still allowed to put up articles on Slashdot.

Michael, this is in fact the lamest article you've added to this steaming pile of shit of a website. You, and a number of other factors, are the reason why this website is considered a joke.

I can handle a lot of the articles, but a look into the use of the word 'irony' as an article is ridiculous. And you people want us to subscribe to this shitrag? Yeah right.

Here's some Irony (4, Funny)

PM4RK5 (265536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322383)

Headline:

"Slashdot, home of bad grammar and spelling, posts article about proper grammar. Rioting ensues."

Ironically long? (1)

djocyko (214429) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322384)

I find it rather ironic that this article was too long to keep my attention...

scratch that; it's simply fitting...

Is it just me? (1)

Destree (679322) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322385)

Or does that prospect.org page have a ton of two dollar words, is this supposed to be for highly educated people? (I would like to think I have a large vocabulary, and I still had to dictionary.com some of the words). Perhaps the author likes to make themself look smart, or perhaps I'm just used to local newspapers that are written for an 8th grade comprehension level.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

gazuga (128955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322419)

I'd say it's the former; I always feel the same way about people who write movie/music reviews.

I find it ironic that... (5, Funny)

sailracer6 (262434) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322386)

Slashdot is discussing proper English usage.

Re:I find it ironic that... (1)

davidm25 (606820) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322410)

nah it is is only ironic if slashdot usage of the word irony is closer to proper english usage than popular culture. Of course I think proper grammer on slashdot is one of the signs the world is ending...

Re:I find it ironic that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322505)

better then not discussing it! ;)

Punish the misusers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322390)

by sending them to Wookie Love! [wookielove.net]

(They're probably the same people who don't block popups.)

Speed (3, Insightful)

gazuga (128955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322393)

Just looking at the definitions, the confusion is understandable - in the first instance, rhetorical irony expands to cover any disjunction at all between language and meaning, with a couple of key exceptions (allegory also entails a disconnection between sign and meaning, but obviously isn't synonymous with irony; and lying, clearly, leaves that gap, but relies for its efficacy on an ignorant audience, where irony relies on a knowing one).

Anyone else feel like the writer was on speed or something? Break that sentence up man, my head is spinning.

Irony is: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322396)

.
"Irony" is when we get a lecture on English usage from Slashdot!

Irony? (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322402)

I thought that irony was like 'smoky' but with iron.

I guess we'll never know.

Isn't it ironic? (0)

mcp33p4n75 (684632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322403)

And i always thought irony was when you get 10,000 spoons and all you need is a knife...

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322411)

I find it ironic that everybody will read the article, think they understand irony, and then post here to prove the exact opposite.

(and yes, I'm trying to do exactly that, but this bit in brackets screws it all up)

Ironically, Prior Art Precedes This Article (1)

rump_carrot (644292) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322413)

I saw some freaking hilarious British Comedian already do a whole bit on this subject over a year ago (on the Letterman or O'OBrian show, whatevah).

He even ended up his bit making a joke about the Alanis Morissete Song ..."Is'nt it Ironic that the only popular song about Irony isn't even about ironic things???"

Anyway, if anyone else out there remembers this guys name, help me out here, he needs to get his credit .....or he may contact SCO lawyers.

Dave Eggers (1)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322415)

In the "Mistakes We Knew We Were Making" section of the paperback version of Dave Egger's book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Eggers wrote a long, insightful section about the word 'irony' and its blatant misuse in today's society. Apparently quite a few people and critics had described his book as 'ironic', when he felt that it, for the most part, was anything but ironic.

"1. When someone kids around, it does not necessarily mean he or she is being ironic. That is, when one tells a joke, in any context, it can mean, simply, that a joke is being told."

It goes on, and it's really quite good. Does anybody else remember this. (oh, and the book is amazing. YMMV, but I highly recommend at least trying it)

Re:Dave Eggers (1)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322470)

Replying to my own post here, but here's some more:

"Irony is a very specific and not all that interesting thing, and to use the word/concept to blanket half of all contemporary cultural production ... is akin to the too-common citing of "the Midwest" as the regional impediment to all national social progress (when we all know the "Midwest" is ten miles outside of any city). In other words, irony should be considered a very particular and recognizable thing, [def given earlier on: the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning), and thus, to refer to everything odd, coincidental, eerie, absurd, or strangely funny as ironic is, frankly, an abomination upon the Lord. (Re that last clause: not irony, but a simple, wholesome, American-born exaggeration)."

He then includes some humorous examples of things that far too many people would call ironic, yet are clearly not.

And yes, I am bulk quoting someone else in order to appear more intelligent, and to avoid actually having to come up with something insightful on my own. =)

Simple!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322417)

Just ask Alanis.

Who cares about irony (1)

OneBarG (640139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322424)

Give me sarcasm or give me death.

Obligatory Simpsons quote (err, 'paraphrased,' just in case I screw it up):
"This guy's cool"
"Are you being sarcastic, dude?"
"I don't even know anymore"

Hemingway, Irony, and Pity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322429)

Hemingway had a bit to say about irony in "The Sun Also Rises." What exactly he said is left as an exercise for the reader. =)

Irony is when (3, Funny)

spudchucker (680073) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322430)

Irony is when your ironing and listening to Alanis Morissette.

Obligatory Blackadder reference (5, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322438)

Edmund:Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?

Baldrick:Yeah, it's like goldy and bronzy, only it's made of iron.

from Amy and Amiability

Re:Obligatory Blackadder reference (5, Informative)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322521)

How ironic that this is definition is actually valid and in the dictionary.

Check the Websters Unabridged Dictionary definition here [reference.com] .

Go figure.

Hoity Toity blah blah blah (1, Flamebait)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322445)

Honestly, what a pedantic load of crap. Bad Old American GibberSpeak must be stamped out, by George, eh what!

The English quibble about it like they invented the language or something. Chill out, dudes.
GMFTatsujin

OT: (but who cares) (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322450)

Correct me if I am wrong (spelling implied), but wasn't there an episode of Black Adder wher Bauldrik(sp?) described irony as "like goldy but made of iron?"

Reality Bites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322457)

Reality Bites - Winona Ryder - Ethan Hawke
Reality Bites - Winona Ryder - Ethan Hawke
Lelaina: I mean, these job interviews, Troy... The word "vivesection" a staggering understatement. I mean, can you define irony?
Troy:: Its when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.
Lelaina: My God, where were you when I needed you today?

Irony? (2, Funny)

skatteola (415784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322459)

I found this article VERY interresting.

dept (1)

tadheckaman (578425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322469)

from the don't-you-think dept.

No, I dont think.

Fark (2)

kajoob (62237) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322471)

I'm not exactly sure how to use the word "Irony", but thanks to Fark, I know how not to use it ;)

This article isn't brilliant (0, Flamebait)

justanetgod (554210) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322475)

it is just British self importance expanded to an ironic and self-parodying degree. Or maybe it just sucks.

While we're at it... (1)

Lobo_Louie (545789) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322481)

... I "hate" people that "overuse" quote marks. heh.

OED definition of "irony" (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322482)

From the Oxford English Dictionary:


1. A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt.

1502 [see 3]. 1533 MORE Debell. Salem v. Wks. 939/1 When he calleth one self noughty lad, both a shreud boy & a good sonne, the tone in ye proper simple spech, the tother by the fygure of ironye or antiphrasis. 1540 COVERDALE Confut. Standish Wks. (Parker Soc.) II. 333 Now is ironia as much to say as a mockage, derision. 1589 PUTTENHAM Eng. Poesie III. xviii. (Arb.) 199 By the figure Ironia, which we call the drye mock. 1617 MORYSON Itin. I. 160 Your quip..that you were ashamed to write to mee for your rude stile. Very good, I finde the Irony. 1620 MIDDLETON & ROWLEY World Tost at Tennis 124 By his needle he understands ironia, That with one eye looks two ways at once. 1788 F. BURNEY Diary 13 Feb., He believed Irony the ablest weapon of oratory. 1828 WHATELY Rhet. in Encycl. Metrop. (1845) I. 265/1 Aristotle mentions..Eironeia, which in his time was commonly employed to signify, not according to the modern use of 'Irony, saying the contrary to what is meant', but, what later writers usually express by Litotes, i.e. 'saying less than is meant'. 1837 MACAULAY Ess., Bacon (1887) 428 A drayman, in a passion, calls out, 'You are a pretty fellow', without suspecting that he is uttering irony. 1876 J. WEISS Wit, Hum, & Shaks. ii. 44 It is irony when Lowell, speaking of Dante's intimacy with the Scriptures, adds, 'They do even a scholar no harm'.

b. with an and pl. An instance of this; an ironical utterance or expression.

1551 GARDINER Sacram. 22 He spake it by an Ironie or skorne. 1612-15 BP. HALL Contempl., O.T. XIX. iii, Ironies deny strongest in affirming. 1656 E. REYNER Rules Govt. Tongue 227 An Irony is a nipping jeast, or a speech that hath the honey of pleasantnesse in its mouth, and a sting of rebuke in its taile. 1706-7 Reflex. upon Ridicule 221 Subtil and delicate Ironies. 1738 WARBURTON Div. Legat. I. Ded. 9 A thorough Irony addressed to some hot Bigots. 1894 W. J. DAWSON Making of Manhood 29 Smart sneers and barbed ironies at the expense of every movement which seeks to meliorate the common lot.

2. fig. A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things. (In F. ironie du sort.)

1649 G. DANIEL Trinarch., Hen. V, cxcviii, Yet here: (and 'tis the Ironie of Warre Where Arrowes forme the Argument,) he best Acquitts himselfe, who doth a Horse præfer To his proud Rider. 1833 THIRLWALL in Philol. Museum II. 483 (title) On the Irony of Sophocles. Ibid. 493 The contrast between man with his hopes, fears, wishes, and undertakings, and a dark, inflexible fate, affords abundant room for the exhibition of tragic irony. 1860 W. COLLINS Wom. White III. xi. 413 The irony of circumstances holds no mortal catastrophe in respect. 1878 MORLEY Carlyle 194 With no eye for..the irony of their fate. 1884 Nonconf. & Indep. Lit. Suppl. 6 Nov. 1/1 The irony of time is wonderful. 1894 T. HARDY (title) Life's Little Ironies.

3. In etymological sense: Dissimulation, pretence; esp. in reference to the dissimulation of ignorance practised by Socrates as a means of confuting an adversary (Socratic irony).

1502 Ord. Crysten Men (W. de W. 1506) IV. xxii. 293 To say of hym selfe ony thynge of his feblenesses & necessytes, or of his synnes..to the end that a man be renowmed & reputed humble abiect & grete thynge in merytes & deuocyons before god..such synne is named yronye, not that the whiche is of grammare, by the whiche a man sayth one & gyueth to understande the contrarye. 1655 STANLEY Hist. Philos. III. (1701) 76/1 The whole confirmation of the Cause, even the whole Life seems to carry an Irony, such was the Life of Socrates, who was for that reason called ; that is, one that personates an unlearned Man, and is an admirer of others as Wise. 1848 H. ROGERS Ess. I. vi. 318 The irony of Socrates..may be not unfittingly expressed by saying, that it is a logical masked battery. 1860 EMERSON Cond. Life, Considerat. Wks. (Bohn) II. 416 Like Socrates, with his famous irony; like Bacon, with life-long dissimulation.

Sarcasm and irony explanations (1)

Hackie_Chan (678203) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322486)

I've noticed that many people here don't really know the true meaning of the word Ironic and Sarcasm.

Ironic means that from what was expected, a total opposite of that occurred instead. For example, I expected it to snow yesterday -- instead we got one of the hottest days of the year.

Sarcasm is when a person is saying something but mean the complete opposite. For example, when somebody say "That's nasty!" but he mean that it is "cool" or "hip".

So to sum it up: You can not speak in irony and situations can't be sarcastic. I'm no linguistics expert or anything. It's just that I get pissed off when people mix these two up.

Oh well. (1)

Asterax (522761) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322487)

Somehow, I would expect this article to be shown on the Onion, or some place in the Everything2 definition of "ironic." Oh well, I can't recieve the few minutes of my life back after reading this article.

Geeks & Grammer (1)

son_of_rotten (585642) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322488)

Is the following amazing?

The vast majority of computer geeks who don't know the difference between the words "then" and "than".

Especially since on a daily basis they use IF/THEN statements and use the ">" symbol to denote "greater than". One would think that they'd have some sort of clue as to their grammatical missteps.

Or was the preceding just ironic?

Re:Geeks & Grammer (1)

GGooden (571321) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322497)

So it was an article saying that irony isn't. Now THAT is ironic! (grin).

I friggin hate prescriptive linguists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322498)

I friggin hate prescriptive linguists, but I guess the loser english majors have to get their rocks off somehow.

trajedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322499)

trajedy is the most misunderstood and misused word.

the bad bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6322501)

"America having funded al-Qaida is ironic; America raining bombs and peanut butter on Afghanistan is ironic"

MHHHHhhhhwahahahaahaaHaHaHaHAHAHAAAA

"Its like a 747 suicide attack on your wedding day" :^)

Oh my god... (4, Interesting)

greppling (601175) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322508)

I wanted to moderate on this topic, but sorry, there were hardly any posts worth moderating... Why can't we once in a while have an interesting non-tech article here without getting hundreds of comments that do nothing but expressing their boredom?

If you think the story is crap, you are free to move on. But this being a discussion forum, and "Isn't it ironic..." being on of its favourite phrases, why shouldn't some of us be interested in reflecting the original (yeah, avoiding "correct" here...) usage of this term, and how it is most commonly used instead these days. After all, with some sensitivity for language subtilities you can be much wittier, impress girls, most important get more slashdot karma... (If you don't believe me, try making jokes in any than your first language -- I had to learn this the hard way when I first came to an English speaking country.)

Everything I learned about irony... (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322509)

Everything I learned about irony I learned from Alanis Morrisette.

Isn't that ironic?

*walks away in shame*

Yeah, people don't understand their own vocab. (1)

monsieurcoffee (668108) | more than 11 years ago | (#6322518)

Yeah, people are pretty stupid. If you were still in school and taking any english or lit course, you'd be instantly slapped down for not being able to define irony. Lol. Especially if you try to use it in the wrong context.
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