As an Englishman it is ironic to me that coberst analyses "irony"...a trait which Americans are said to have problems understanding. It reminds me of the apocryphal "German" who "having no sense of humour" asks for a joke to be "explained".
For some subtle tratment of irony I recommend the British comedian Eddie Izzard who indulges in free association involving Biblical stories. For example, he describes how Joseph and Mary arrive at the inn to be told there was no vacancy other than "the Nativity Room". The three wise men arrive bringing "Christmas presents" to Jesus who then asks "but where's my birthday presents ?".
"That was a smart thing to do!" (Meaning "very foolish").
The book and movie "Catch 22" is totally constructed on this concept. We discover in the movie that the phrase "catch 22" refers to section 22 in the manuals psychiatrists were commanded to use when evaluating airmen who reported in sick complaining that they had become crazy because of the stress of flying the dangerous bombing missions.
coberst wrote:"That was a smart thing to do!" (Meaning "very foolish").
That's not irony, that's sarcasm.
coberst wrote:The book and movie "Catch 22" is totally constructed on this concept. We discover in the movie that the phrase "catch 22" refers to section 22 in the manuals psychiatrists were commanded to use when evaluating airmen who reported in sick complaining that they had become crazy because of the stress of flying the dangerous bombing missions.
Neither the book nor the movie say any such thing. There is no "section 22" referred to in the book or the movie. Heller chose "22" just because he thought it sounded good: in fact, he originally wanted to call his book "Catch-18."
With supreme irony, the war to "make the world safe for democracy" ended by leaving democracy more unsafe in the world than at any time since the collapse of the revolutions of 1848
I can visualize the shrink explaning this section 22 to our protagonist. I do not think this is a dream I conjured up.
Quote:With supreme irony, the war to "make the world safe for democracy" ended by leaving democracy more unsafe in the world than at any time since the collapse of the revolutions of 1848
James Harvey Robinson quotes (American historian, 1863-1936)
Is using the phrase "War on Terror" ironic - or something else?
You can't know how much it pains me to even have that word, the one beginning with i and ending in y, in this book. It's not a word I like to see, anywhere, much less type onto my own pages. It is beyond a doubt the most over-used and under-understood word we currently have.... Let's define irony as the dictionary does: the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. (There are lesser definitions, but they all serve this main one.) ... 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. Jokes, thus, do not have to be ironic in order to be jokes. Further, satire is not inherently ironic. Nor is parody. Or any kind of comedy. 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--which some agéd arbiters seem to be doing (particularly with regard to work made by those under a certain age)--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, as defined above, 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 simple, wholesome, American-born exaggeration]. To illustrate the many more things that are not ironic but are often referred to as such, let's look at some sample sentences, starring a wee wayward pup know as Benji, and see if we can illuminate some distinctions.
SAMPLE: Benji was run over by a bus. Isn't that ironic?
NO: That is not ironic. That is unfortunate, but it is not ironic.
SAMPLE: It was a bright and sunny day when Benji was run over by a bus. Ironic, no?
AGAIN, NO: That is not irony. It is an instance of dissonance between weather and tragedy.
SAMPLE: It is ironic that Benji was on his way to the vet when he was run over by a bus.
STILL: That is not irony. That is a coincidence that might be called eerie.
SAMPLE: It is ironic that Benji was run over on the same day he misused the word ironic.
BUT SEE: This is, again, a coincidence. It is wonderfully appropriate that he was run over on this day, deserving as he was of punishment, but it is not ironic.
SAMPLE: Is it not ironic that on the side of the bus that ran over Benji was an advertisement for "The Late Show with David Letterman," a show which many consider often ironic?
OH, OH: No. No.
Coberst - How is "leave no child behind" ironic? I'm not in agreement with the policy as Bush would have it enacted - but I see the phrase as accurately describing the intent at least of the policy.
I was watching a recent program that pointed out this particular fact that in order to qualify for funds many schools throw overboard the children that they think cannot make the grade so that they can focus all attention upon those who are marginal but possible success.