Isn’t it Ironic?

The statement made by Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, following the bombing attacks on the United States on 9/11, said, “I think it’s the end of the age of irony.” He argued that it was no longer funny to point out the irony of a situation. The claim Carter made however wasn’t backed up and did not make much sense then, and still doesn’t today, because it is difficult for a concept as powerful and influential as irony to die.

Irony is too large of a concept to die. There are many different types of irony including verbal, tragic, dramatic and situational irony that occur on a daily basis. Verbal irony is perhaps the most common type of irony, is the concept where one says something but means another thing. When Carter said that irony died he wasn’t specific enough by explaining what type of irony died after the tragic events that hit the country.

Carter was perhaps arguing that it was no longer ironic, or “ok” to joke about certain subjects, as in it is no longer acceptable to point out the irony of having a terrorist attack. This is certainly the case of 9/11. The impact that it made on the United States as a whole and how it hurt individuals as well was definitely not ironic. After 9/11 many things changed in the United States and it is not appropriate now to point out any irony in the situation of a terrorist attack or any attack that includes a loss of life.

Jon Stewart the host of The Daily Show made a case on Carters statement in an episode that aired on the 27th of September 2001(1). Stewart said that it was indeed ironic that an editor of a magazine that publishes many ironic statements about fashion, culture and news would proclaim that irony is dead. Stewart makes is living based off of irony as do many other columnists, TV hosts and comedians. This episode aired after the statement that Carter made on September 18, 2001, proving that, yes, irony still exists.

Part of the reason that Carters claim is so unbelievable is because of its broadness. It’s impossible to state that such a huge notion, like irony can be dead, because of the many definitions and different uses of irony. In addition to verbal irony, which is used on a daily basis by people everywhere, dramatic irony, also makes a huge stand against the statement made by Carter. Dramatic irony is taught everywhere in language classes and used in literature in modern day and in the past. Dramatic irony is where the irony is understood by an audience but not by the character speaking it. The statement that Carter made may have a bit of dramatic irony to it. Carter made an assertion about irony stating that it was dead, but the claim itself was a bit ironic given his occupation and his belief that an entire genre would no longer exist after one event, that did shape America but didn’t take away everything ironic in this world.  Irony as a whole will never die, but aspects and parts of it may simmer down and become less acceptable, similar to the way that now it is not acceptable to make ironic statements about attacks on the United States.

[1] Stewart, Jon, perf. “Irony Is Dead.” The Daily Show. Comedy Central : 9/27/2001. Television. <;.

About akervella92

Student Athlete at Trinity University
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