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Thread: Is this irony?

  1. XCRunner
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    #1

    Is this irony?

    Hello...I was having a bit of a disagreement with someone about what an ironic situation actually would be. If I provide few examples, perhaps someone could help me

    Example one
    "Someone spends all their time running and training because they want to become a great cross country runner, but then breaks there leg going bowling."

    Example two
    "Someone spends all their time running and training because they want to become a great cross country runner, but then stress fractures their leg from overtraining before the season begins."

    Are either of these actually examples of Irony?


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    #2

    Re: Is this irony?

    Both are unfortunate...but not ironic.


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    #3

    Re: Is this irony?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Both are unfortunate...but not ironic.
    I do not intend to argue with a native speaker I am just wondering ...
    a situation where somebody who does almost nothing else but running in order to be a great runner breaks his leg going bowling is a bit ironic to me. I would rather expect that he breaks his leg during a training (?).

    Best regards,
    Leszek


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    #4

    Re: Is this irony?

    A good example is Alanis Morrisette's song "Irony" - in which she lists situations which are supposedly ironic, yet they're all really just a case of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances (rain on a wedding day, stuck in traffic when you're already late, etc).

    It is ironic because the singer wanted to exemplify irony, yet it was her inability to do that which inadvertently gave the sense of irony.

  2. beascarpetta's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is this irony?

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    It is ironic because the singer wanted to exemplify irony, yet it was her inability to do that which inadvertently gave the sense of irony.
    There is quite a bit of disagreement on this particular song and the issue of irony. It has been suggested that Morissette intentionally misuses the term for ironic effect.

    (no offence meant)

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    #6

    Re: Is this irony?

    I see you read the Wikipedia entry on this, colloquium.

    I'm with the descriptivist group on this. If a situation seems odd or funny for reasons that aren't exactly logical, it's ironic.

    Irony: "When an event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the reader/audience, or seems out of place"
    Communications Dept. : Situational Irony/Irony of Situation

    I wouldn't expect an elite athlete to break his leg bowling, so that contradicts my expectations. (I do expect athletes to sometimes get injured during intensive training - that's not ironic at all.)


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    #7

    Re: Is this irony?

    How many runners do you know who break a leg running? Pull a tendon maybe! Would it still be ironic if he broke the leg skiing instead of bowling? He still ends up with a broken leg.
    I firmly expect him to be running in some kind of athletic gear. So if he runs in his ordinary casual attire, is it ironic?
    There are countless ways and times that people do the opposite of what is expected. Most serial killers are described as 'such a nice man to speak to." Do his victims take heart, laughing at the irony of it?
    Let's not dilute or smudge the edges of these concepts else they become meaningless.
    And I don't think that Morisette had any idea the lyrics were not instances of irony - just two more people who don't understand what irony is: her and her lyricist. There's no irony in that fact either: ignorance is not irony.
    Last edited by David L.; 05-Jun-2008 at 22:01.


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    #8

    Re: Is this irony?

    Quote Originally Posted by beascarpetta View Post
    There is quite a bit of disagreement on this particular song and the issue of irony. It has been suggested that Morissette intentionally misuses the term for ironic effect.

    (no offence meant)
    I think in interviews she has expressed that she wasn't trying to choose actual ironic situations and the examples are supposed to be her intentionally niave ideas of what irony is. I don't think she intended the song to be read as it has from the outset. Anyway, it's good as an example either way and a damn good pop-grunge song too!

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    #9

    Re: Is this irony?

    It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
    There's only a subtle line between irony and sarcasm.


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    #10

    Re: Is this irony?

    Not at all. The intent of the comment, and the context, make it quite clear that it is to mock and show contempt, rather than laugh with the person at a twist of fate or human foible.
    As for poor old Morisette and her explanation- that's called damage control and trying to save face.

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