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Isn't It Ironic? 683

Posted by michael
from the don't-you-think dept.
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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Isn't It Ironic?

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  • by Surak (18578) * <surak@maCOFFEEil ... m minus caffeine> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:49PM (#6322315) Homepage Journal
    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. :)

  • by crunchywelch (656708) <welch.c-wsolutions@com> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:49PM (#6322316) Homepage
    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.
    • by Cliffy03 (663924) <thecanadiangeek@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:17PM (#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.
    • by I Want GNU! (556631) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:28PM (#6322512) Homepage
      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!"
  • by rgoer (521471) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:50PM (#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."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, that's not ironic at all and does not make much sense as irony. It would not have appeared on Slashdot had someone actually thought it did not matter, so you are simply stating the obvious.

      Your misuse of irony is not ironic either since you have no idea that you are in fact wrong. Were you to know what irony is, then deliberately (and obviously) use irony wrong to make a point that you in fact do know what irony is, then what you said wrong would be ironic.
  • 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.
  • Ask Alanis (Score:4, Informative)

    by Crazy Eight (673088) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:53PM (#6322343)
    or check out what this guy has to say [mellowfellow.com].
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:55PM (#6322351) Journal
    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.

    • 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 popula
      • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:38PM (#6322804) Homepage Journal

        Native Americans were as much as warmongers as Europeans were, just less technologically advanced. Remember, they wanted to buy guns, they wanted the horses, and the whole tribal system was basically a male centered warrior cult mythology. If the Native Americans had invented calculus and sailing vessels first, they would have been spreading smallpox in Europe.

        • Just a note, they would not have spread smallpox, as that was a European Disease... They likely would have spread STD, such as syphilis, one of the things Comlumus and his band of slave trading pirates brought back to Eruope was a boat load of syphilis.

          There aren't a lot of historical accounts of warmongering Native American tribes until a few years of Eurpean influence on a tribe. One of the most striking accounts can be found in the Journals of the Lewis & Clark expidtion (Undaunted Courage by St
    • 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.

      So... if Matt and Trer are ironic, and if irony is meaning the opposite of what one says, and they're saying that Native Americans are notsoulless corporate scum, then what did they mean.

      And, everyone knows that ginger ale doesn't cure colds. It's canadian.
  • 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.
  • by green pizza (159161) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @08:57PM (#6322368) Homepage
    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.
    • 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
  • 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 c
    • Shifting meanings are accepted.

      Munging twenty or thirty previously seperate words into one concept, however, is never conducive to communication. It's not a mere shift, it's active decay.

      By the way, I love you. (To cite the worst offender I can think of off the top of my head.)
    • by Titusdot Groan (468949) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:18PM (#6322733) Journal
      The problem we are facing is convergence; multiple words meaning the same thing and losing their old meaning. This is a problem in that we no longer have a word attached to the old concept.

      This is analogous to 1984 where the language was slowly restricted to eliminate concepts and hence control thought -- which is double plus ungood as it is hard to form complex thought if your vocabulary is limited.

      For instance, if we allow irony to come to mean coincidence or poetic tragedy then what word do we use when we really mean ironic?

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

      No, that's a logical fallacy. Mutation of language is neither development nor modernization. It is bastardization. Look at sanskrit, a language that was engineered, and has been kept almost intact for over two thousand years, one reason being that the scholarly class of Hindus kept the language seperate from the common language, the word sanskrita means "refined" or "purified," and is the opp
  • 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."

  • Oh, the irony... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Glendale2x (210533)
    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?
  • by PM4RK5 (265536) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:00PM (#6322383) Homepage
    Headline:

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

      The irony is that a Slashdot grammar nazi got it wrong when being a nazi about grammar. Well, OK, it would be ironic if it weren't for the fact that this happens every time someone tries to correct someone else's grammar or spelling. Anyhow:

      Grammar: (n) The study of how words and their component parts combine to form sentences.

      Grammar is about the structure of language, not its usage. An article about irony is not an artic

    • Headline:

      "PM4RK5, master of the inability to discern syntax from semantics, claims that an article about a word's definition is an article about grammar. Yawning ensues."
  • by sailracer6 (262434) * on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:01PM (#6322386) Journal
    Slashdot is discussing proper English usage.
    • I can't believe those friggen Grammar Nazis have been escalated to front page news.

      Before long people will throw logic to the wind as long as you cross your T's and dot your I's.

      If you don't post in iambic pentameter with a definate rhyming scheme, you'll be ignored.

      So, now all we need is moderation categories +1 beautiful, -1 spelling, -1 grammar, -1 invalid use of a colon, and -1 poor word choice.

      Next month, from the grammar dept., we'll be discussing the spelling of the letter H. It's actually spell
  • Speed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gazuga (128955) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:03PM (#6322393) Homepage
    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.
  • 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 an
    • [glows slightly] 'tis! an amazing book.

      One interesting thing about AHWOSG is the pace -- it starts out slooow, where every incident is described in great detail. It steadily accelerates throughout until the ending which is like "and then everybody grew upandgotahaircutandarealjobhappeverafterTHEEND."

      At first I thought it was a little disappointing that such great writing could wind down so trivially. I would have expected it to be more evenly paced, with some brilliant dramatic event unfolding and

  • by spudchucker (680073) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:10PM (#6322430)
    Irony is when your ironing and listening to Alanis Morissette.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:11PM (#6322438) Journal
    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
    • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:30PM (#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.
  • Irony? (Score:2, Funny)

    by skatteola (415784)
    I found this article VERY interresting.
  • by kajoob (62237) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:19PM (#6322471)
    I'm not exactly sure how to use the word "Irony", but thanks to Fark, I know how not to use it ;)
  • Oh my god... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greppling (601175) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @09:27PM (#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.)

    • Re:Oh my god... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shamashmuddamiq (588220) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:19PM (#6322735)
      This kind of thing is quite common in many languages. Words or phrases are generalized in many cases to a point where they no longer describe the same specific concept or require the narrow context previously required.

      I remember reading a rant by C.S. Lewis describing this very thing. He was saddened by the way that the word "gentleman" had, over the years, been generalized to mean practically any human male. Previously, it had mostly been used to describe a certain segment of wealthy landowners. Lewis implied that this kind of thing was unfortunate, because there no longer remained in the English language a single word to describe a "wealthy landowner" in the way that "gentleman" used to. But there were already plenty of words to describe a "human male".

      Take the word "artist" as another example. Certianly, people 50 years ago would have just laughed in your face if you called someone like Britney Spears an "artist". We already had a proper word (or phrase) for describing her kind: "(amateur) musician". "Artist" had a much narrower and more prestigious implication. Now it's used for anyone who can strum a chord on a guitar or melt wax.

    • Re:Oh my god... (Score:5, Informative)

      by AEton (654737) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @11:24PM (#6322985)

      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?

      Well, typically on a site that offers "news for nerds" and "stuff that matters" we expect

      1) Some of column A (news) or
      2) Some of column B (pertinent stuff)

      Most people have gotten lazy and sloppy and only peruse /. for the cutting-edge (sorta) news, so they forget that it's important to teach geeks to use the language [English] properly. On that note, this discussion isn't exactly new--the linked article focuses heavily on post-01/11/09 misuses, but there's a couple [everything2.com] of [everything2.com] great writeups at e2 [everything2.com] that address this same point quite well. If you're looking to hone verbal skills, lurk and read there for a while -- it's an educational experience.

  • Everything I learned about irony I learned from Alanis Morrisette.

    Isn't that ironic?

    *walks away in shame*
  • Also, "poetic justice" is another form of dramatic irony. See also, "Shawshank Redeption, The" [Movie] and "Macbeth" [Screenplay]

    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dict i on ary&va=irony

    Iro.ny
    Pronunciation: 'I-r&-nE also 'I(-&)r-nE
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -nies
    Etymology: Latin ironia, from Greek eirOnia, from eirOn dissembler
    Date: 1502
    1 : a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by
  • Well, according to at least one scientist, it is [spacedaily.com].
  • Just trying to forestall the inevitable flood of posts claiming that the article itself is ironic in some unintended way, that the Slashdot post is somehow ironic, that they're deliberately displaying irony, or that some other poster is being ironic, intentionally or otherwise. Chances are, it's not. Please disperse. There is nothing to see here. Go and learn what the word means, and then make your post - if it's still valid, which it probably isn't.

    And no, this post isn't being ironic, either.

  • An old man turned ninety-eight
    He won the lottery and died the next day
    It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
    It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
    Isn't it ironic... don't you think?

    Chorus:
    It's like rain on your wedding day
    It's a free ride when you've already paid
    It's the good advice that you just didn't take
    Who would've thought... it figures

    Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
    He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
    He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
    And as the plane crashed down h
  • Hmmm, maybe it's just too hot of a summer day to think much, but am I the only one who found the article long and boring? Then again I'm not one that often gets British humor either.

    BTW, what is this doing on /. anyway?
  • It reminds me of that comedian that said "Isn't it ironic? No, Alanis, it's unfortunate. You've been singing for two whole minutes and haven't yet said one thing that is ironic."
  • George Carlin quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by xYoni69x (652510) <yoni.vl@gmail.com> on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:05PM (#6322687) Journal
    I quote George Carlin (this quote is taken from his book Brain Droppings - thanks to Google Cache).
    Irony deals with opposites, it has nothing to do with coincidence. If two baseball players from the same home-town, on different teams, receive the same uniform number, it is not ironic. It is coincidence ... If a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a truck, he is a victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of irony.
  • how extraordinary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n3k5 (606163) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:06PM (#6322690) Journal
    From the article:
    With emails, people with a lot of time on their hands can, obviously, give themselves room to develop an ironic theme, but for people with jobs, e-etiquette demands instant response, which brings you down to the very rudiments of irony - I Love My Boss; I'm Delighted That My Ex Is Going Out With That Attractive Woman; I Really Couldn't Be More Pleased That You've Lost a Stone.
    I don't want to object that these aren't fine examples of rudimentary irony, but one could argue that they are mainly sarcastic. Zoe Williams laments that irony is often mixed up with hypocrisy, cynicism, laziness, and coincidence, but completely fails to mention sarcasm. Maybe this isn't a severe omission in the context of this article, because many more sarcastic statements actually show features of irony as there are ironic statements you could consider sarcastic.
    • by obtuse (79208) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @01:13AM (#6323398) Journal
      Sarcasm isn't rhetorical irony? Merriam-Webster make it sound a lot like it. "...2a the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning" That doesn't sound like sarcasm at all, does it? That also fits with the first definition in the Guardian article.

      Perhaps the distinction is making an argument, or trying to point out a truth, rather than just a cheap joke. Some intention or belief at the bottom of it that carries it from a joke to an actual argument.

      To me, that's the interesting part of this discussion of irony. I think many of these misuses of the word are defensible, using one definition or the other, but the thing that I find troublesome is that so often this claim of irony is accompanied by a refusal to acknowledge any sincere belief.

      Mocking everything isn't irony. I think the modern (arguably inaccurate) idea of irony, with its affectation of nihilism, is a really interesting starting point for a social discussion. People will brag about what they don't believe, but won't talk about what they do believe, or display art that they pretend that they would be ashamed to really enjoy.

      I think the problem is that people don't know what they believe. They don't even know that they believe anything. The canned answers are inadequate, but they manage neither to rationalize and complete these for themselves, or to find other things to believe in. They believe incoherent and contradictory things, and pretend belief in nothing. Unfortunately, believing nothing is just as useless a way to go through life as believing everything.

      There is an attack that is often made on skeptics. "Oh, you don't believe in anything." However, the skeptics I know have unusually strong beliefs, and understand that their beliefs have implications in the world they live in. That is what makes them skeptics.

      In this vein, there was a great article in Spy magazine about a decade ago on "irony". It even had Chevy Chase grinning on the cover and making the quote symbol with his fingers. I'll have to dig that up again.

      I think this quote expresses it beautifully:
      Simpsons, Homerpalooza
      Teen1: Oh, here comes that cannonball guy. He's cool.
      Teen2: Are you being sarcastic, dude?
      Teen1: I don't even know anymore.
    • by mooman (9434) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @01:17AM (#6323409) Homepage
      I too found it interesting that not once in the article did the author mention sarcasm (at least not by name). He contrasted irony to about half a dozen oft-mistaken concepts, but never differentiated or likened irony to sarcasm. Most strange. If I had to differentiate the two I would say that sarcasm is intentional irony, whereas irony more often manifests itself naturally.

      Therefore the references he made to sources like the Onion would probably more likely qualify as sarcasm (and strictly for the sake of humor; I disagree with the comment that sarcarm is only nominally for hurtful situations) and not irony. Irony would be if the Onion ran some tongue-in-cheek article about Gates and then the next week, Gates actually did something close to what they described...

      Thus their comments were "sarcasm",
      Gates actually doing so would be "irony",
      and while "coincidental", it would also fall under the umbrella of irony. Plain coincidence would be if Cnet said that Gates should do something, and then he happened to do it.. Nothing ironic there. But when the Onion publishes a farsical untruth, which then comes to fruition, *that* would be irony.

      Oh look, a dead horse... now where's my bat...?
  • by gulfcoast (652001) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:06PM (#6322691)
    Butthead: Umm, what's that word when you don't think something cool is going to happen and then it happens?
    Stuart: Ironic?
    Butthead: No dumbass, an English word.
    Beavis: Umm,.. cool?
    Butthead: Yeah. That was cool.
  • by aussie-oddball (680796) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:10PM (#6322709)
    I remember a couple of years ago a comedian at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival disected the Alanis song Ironic ...

    "'It's like rain on your wedding day' NO! That's only ironic if you're marrying a weatherman and he picked the date!"

    He gave anything that is labelled ironic but blatently isn't, the title of Alanic.

    That was enough for me to use the word more appropriately!
    • Re:Isn't it Alanic? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gleng (537516)

      I remember that!

      I believe it was Ed Byrne [chortle.co.uk]. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:12PM (#6322711)
    ... but I know what I like!
    I'm not saying what you think I'm saying, but I'm not saying its opposite, either. In fact, I'm not saying anything at all. But I get to keep the tits.
  • by suso (153703) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:13PM (#6322713) Homepage Journal
    Not that I agree that the definition of irony should be changed. But English is still a living language, which means that the definition and scope of words will change. So perhaps someday in the dictionary under the entry for irony or ironic, it will include what people commonly mean it to be.
  • by CySurflex (564206) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:33PM (#6322786)
    from the article: Her words were, "I have shot Lorna. This is not a joke." A perfect demonstration of my point (I don't get many of those) - the first thing you think when you read a text is that it is a joke.

    what "texting" really needs is a global slashdot-style qualifier, such as

    +5, Serious
    "I have shot Lorna."

  • by Travoltus (110240) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @10:37PM (#6322800) Journal
    This issue of irony has been a big thing with me for a long time.

    I was reading "Age of Irony" by Jedediah Purdy at http://www.prospect.org/print/V9/39/purdy-j.html and it all seemed to gel at last.

    I have never understood why I really hated that term "don't take yourself too seriously." Well, at least now, I can study the true depths of its meaning, so as to form a counter argument.

    First, what they mean, is now clear: among those who take themselves seriously, exists a large subset of people who are pompous, self-righteous, and at the worst extreme, people who are given to justiy the worst atrocities in the name of an ideology or religion.

    But now, let's look at this (from Jedediah Purdy's essay):

    All of this suggests that the wish to escape irony is probably mistaken--but that the hope of enriching it is not. Just as we cannot live in the flatness of irony, we cannot breathe the cloying air of anti-irony.

    My argument is, that 'irony', or more specifically, people who religiously take nothing seriously, have mired this society in utter apathy.

    To accurately and concisely describe the state of affairs we are in now, I will offer two quotes (one I got clarified right here at slashdot):

    "[populus Romanus] qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, PANEM ET CIRCENSES"
    "The people who had once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else now longs eagerly for just two things,bread and circus games." - Juvenal

    "A full belly and a diverting show makes a bad revolutionary. Television is the opiate of the people. Long may it be so." -Ned Grossberg, Max Headroom

    I would add the quote "Those that stand for nothing, fall for anything" (author yet unknown to me), but the "irony" generation does profess to stand for something. What it is, Providence only knows. Let us look at this, shall we?
    Ironic thinkers - those who eschew seriousness and approach life with jokes, pokes, and the 'laid back approach' - accuse their opposites of being intolerant, self-righteous hypocrites. But these same modern 'ironic' thinkers are the ones who brought us
    Intolerance, hate, and the politics of division:

    Fat bashing

    Geek bashing

    Religion bashing

    Male bashing

    Self-Righteousness:

    "Get Over It" as the cure-all mantra for all manner of life traumas (abuse, molestation, etc.). What the 'ironic' thinkers forget, in this, is that everyone has issues - the profound lack of social support systems in modern society is as equally the fault of apathetic "I don't have time to listen to this, so get me my beer or get lost!" as it is the fault of Christian Repressionist "You must have demons inside you, let us drill a hole in your head to make it go away" ignorance.
    To note: the 'irony' crowd tends to have a profound and sometimes verbally and physically violent reaction towards people in emotional distress. The irony of this is these same people then have nowhere to turn when they themselves are depressed or feel their life is in a rut. It is not uncommon that recreational drugs are then used to provide counsel.

    Hypocrisy:

    SUV owning activists gathering at Starbuck's to drive out to the "No War For Oil!" protest

    I can discuss a multitude of other examples here, but I won't get into it.

    Ultimately, apathy, the child of ironic thinking, is why we are seeing all of our rights being taken away by the RIAA and MPAA, etc. Apathy and the refusal to be serious about things, is why our politicians and corporations continue to practically dick we the people over with impugnity.

    A populace that was more serious and less apathetic, would never allow such things to transpire for so long.

    Of course, a really serious, and politically active populace, might be predisposed to frequent revolts, or to

  • by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @11:05PM (#6322899) Homepage
    A practitioner of gluttony is called a glutton; a practitioner of villainy is caled a villain; so by those criteria, God is an iron.
  • by darnok (650458) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @11:22PM (#6322973)
    Every English-speaking, non-American learns shortly after birth that Americans don't understand irony. It's one of the things that makes US TV comedy in particular so ... um, "unintentionally funny" to the rest of us a lot of the time.

    Of course, if you're reading this and you're American, no offence intended. After all, everyone knows you guys make the best TV shows.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @11:48PM (#6323061) Journal
    The single most misused word I have come across is "literally"...

    For instance: "His performance was so great! It literally blew me away."

    Unless "he" was performing an imitation of a hurricane, the above use of "literally" is blatantly incorrect. Unfortuanately, all too often, "literally" is being used intechangeably with "really" and "absolutely", which is a real problem.

    If fear it won't be long before "literally" is meaningless, and you won't have any way to telling someone you are not speaking figuratively.
    • And you may have noticed that there are about ten other words in English that mean basically the same thing: truly, really, absolutely, ... etc. Perhaps you're beginning to notice a pattern? Like it or not, they all had specialized meanings once upon a time, but now they're just generic intensifiers.

      My favorite example is the phrase "literally and figuratively" (which is mostly used to mean "really, really, really"). A friend of mine who has a beef with the misuse of irony made the categorical statemen

  • by Yunzil (181064) on Saturday June 28, 2003 @11:49PM (#6323068) Homepage
  • mtv's death of irony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigbigbison (104532) * on Sunday June 29, 2003 @12:26AM (#6323232) Homepage

    MTV's president didn't declare irony dead. Robert Thompson did on a Viacom program (which may or may not have appeard on MTV, it might have been VH1). I remember this because Rober Thompson is a media whore of the first order and anytime he pops up, I know the program using him was put together with a minimum of effort.

    If you pay attention, you will see Thompson show up with eerie frequency any time a peice about the current culture is done. A quick Google news search for "robert Thompson" and Syracuse (the university at which he is employed) turns up 50 articles [google.com] with quotes from this guy.

    All this guy must do is sit around and answer the phone all day.

  • by mati (114154) on Sunday June 29, 2003 @02:38AM (#6323634)
    +1 Ironic

    (or maybe -1 Ironic)
  • by FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) <fuzzybad@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 29, 2003 @04:29AM (#6323849)

    Just now I have realized the extent of the vaccuum left in Seinfeld's wake. And you know what.. I don't feel the least bit bad about it. Truly, we have witnessed the peak of entertainment television. I might live to be one hundred, and not experience the likes of this show again.

At these prices, I lose money -- but I make it up in volume. -- Peter G. Alaquon

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