Two professors were having a conversation about how traffic is increasingly becoming a problem in most parts of the world. One professor says to the other: “isn’t it ironic that there is always traffic when you are late but never when you are early”. This is an intelligent and smart person talking; who has gone to school graduated, did his dissertation, has a PHD, and has done his fair share of writing. Nevertheless he doesn’t know the definition of irony. This example illustrates how the context which we use to define irony can easily be misconceived thus giving us the illusion of it being lost.
When people are fighting what do you do in order to stop the fight, you intervene right? And make them settle their disputes in a more effective manner. If someone attacks you, you need to find a better way to resolve your conflict by finding the reason behind the attack because we know there is a reason. Finding the reason could save a lot of time wasting fighting back and forth, and even money. But after the attack on the world center what did the American government do? Instead of finding a better way to deal with situation they declared war.
“ ‘America’s enemy, be it Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, a multinational coalition of terrorist organizations, any of a rogue’s gallery of violent Islamic fringe groups, or an entirely different, non-Islamic aggressor we’ve never even heard of … be warned,’ Bush said during an eleven-minute speech from the Oval Office. ‘The United States is preparing to strike, directly and decisively, against you, whoever you are, just as soon as we have a rough idea of your identity and a reasonably decent estimate as to where your base is located.’ “Added Bush: ‘That is, assuming you have a base.’ ” 1 isn’t this ironic?? Another example is religion. Religion preaches peace, love and acceptance while many wars have and will happen because of religion.
Many people confuse irony, for example something that is contradictory and may be true is not irony. Merriam-Webster defines irony as incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result. Irony is a term that people play around with a lot. A less complex way of describing it is that irony indicates a difference between the way things are presented or look and reality. We use it to describe the meaning that is the exact opposite of what is being said. Some people confuse irony with understatement. To others irony is a bad coincidence (like the first example) or misfortune. Coincidence is the occurrence of an event that can happen by chance and seems to have some connection. We need to understand that not all coincidence, sarcasm and misfortunes are irony.
Alanis Morissette wrote a song called ironic, but in it there is no irony at all. Now the question; is it ironic that he wrote a song that has no irony at all? No it is not, it is stupid. Little misconceptions may lead us to lose irony, but irony is not lost it is still there but in very few places; in politics, sophisticated writings or in higher learning very few people understand it and recognize it when it occurs. If we don’t watch out it will die.
- The onion September 26, 2001