Monday, April 09, 2007

The Irony Of It All

Justin H. of Right on the Right reminded me last Saturday that it is important to be careful when it comes to the language we use, and how sometimes what we say may not mean what we mean it to say.


I'm a writer, so I am supposed to know how to use language properly. Sometimes I fail in the proper application of language, perhaps out of not thinking about it, or maybe because societal tendencies have affected me that much.

Justin instant messengered me (if you want to add me, I'm at Yahoo Messenger, ID: douglasvgibbs) asking if I wanted to play checkers. At that moment, my wife and I were in the midst of a heated game of backgammon, and the coincidence made me laugh, so I said to Justin "How Ironic."

Being the sharp kid that he is, he immediately corrected me, stating that it was not ironic. Perhaps coincidental, but not ironic. I sheepishly grinned, agreed, and then beat Mrs. Pistachio mercilessly again at backgammon.

That was my second lesson for the day regarding the language we use.

The first came at the end of the radio show when I proclaimed (and on the air without knowing it) "What a great freakin' show."

I work in the construction industry, so I am no stranger to profanity. I try to keep my mouth clean, especially at home, but sometimes I goof and the words pop right out. When I realized that my proclamation of how great the show was wound up on the air (at the very end on the archived version of the April 7th show in which I interviewed Gary W. Moore, author of Playing With The Enemy - live listeners missed it), I thought to myself about the biblical teachings of our works, and how important it is to be careful of what you say because you never know who's listening. And I was really glad that I didn't use that other word that starts with an "F".

Then I got to thinking about how the left loves to twist things so out of shape that they can make you sound like an idiot with a few, well placed, comments.

Irony is not coincidence. In fact, the word irony is so misused in the English language, folks have trouble understanding what it really means. It is commonly confused with coincidence. True irony involves parallels. Similarity with a twist, I suppose. But not coincidence.

If I was to visit a construction jobsite, for example, known for being dangerous, with the intention to figure out why it is such a dangerous place to work, and while standing there calculating the risks involved at the site a beam fell and knocked me cold, that would be ironic.

Anyhow, I think that is where the left misses it. They are so busy looking for contradictions, or anything happening slightly outside what was originally proclaimed by the Right, that they miss the whole point of everything.

Example: My daughter, since we said that we would probably get home by five in the evening on Easter from visiting family considered me a liar because we didn't get home until 6:30. She failed to take into account that we live in an imperfect world, and sometimes things happen outside your control that alters the plans. As sensible humans, we adjust, and then continue on to finish the job. Just because it was taking longer than expected did not mean that we should not visit the second family. We said we would visit with both families, and we were going to do so, even if it took a little longer. That's not a lie. That's adjusting to the situation when unexpected variables arise.

Sort of like with the War in Iraq.

See the parallel?

Should I have spoken more carefully in a way so that she understood that it may take longer? Perhaps. But common sense dictates that the obvious is that sometimes things don't go exactly as planned, and so it did not need to be stated.

And the thing is, I think the language used for entering the Global War on Terror (a phrase the left is now trying to eliminate - I suppose if it's a duck, it's okay to vote to call it a tweety bird as to not offend all the ducks) was clear and precise. Bush said from the beginning it would be a long war, and we would not leave until the job was finished. Clear enough language if you ask me.

Perhaps I should send dictionaries out to every lefty I know.

Ahh, the Irony of it all.


Anonymous said...

No, irony is not coincidence, and it's about time that Americans developed a sense of irony. Nor is irony a string of disappointments, as listed in the Alanis Morresette song "Isn't Ironic?"...(Like rain on you wedding day; it's not irony, it's a disappointment expressed as analogy. What would be ironic, would be if Alanis Morresstte had used a dictionary.)

Please DG - don't tell me you just now figured out what irony means...

DG - you beam-falling analogy/metaphor was would be a disappointment, or an accident. Surely managers have to go to construction sites in order to ensure safety? I can see how you can overlap it, but...the only irony would be, is that it's a safety inspector who falls prey to unsafe conditions...but that's really incidental to the circumstances, and worse than irony, it could be sabotage, or negligence. Subtle, but yet a big difference.

The daughter story is not ironic either, as far as I can see...just disappointing to/for her.

The war in Iraq, an irony? I think not. A paradox, perhaps, although I doubt even that. Something as predictable as the outcome of invading Iraq is hardly irony.

Irony specifically involves contradiction. Without contradiction, no irony.

The lack of a sense of irony is a well known, marked characteristic of Americans; Latin or otherwise, male or female, gay or straight, rightwing or left wing, young or old. We are famous for it the world 'round. It's time we grew up.

I thank you DG - for bringing attention to a very subtle, but important element for all writers to consider.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

I've always known what irony means, but like most people, sometimes I misuse it without thinking about it. However, my analogy was correct because I never said I was a safety inspector in the example, only someone checking out the area because I heard it was dangerous - perhaps it would have truly been ironic if I had gone to the site because my brother had been injured there, and then wanted to see the place he was injured as a loved one, and then a beam fell. better? thing is, part of my point is that folks get too hung up on all of the little things (make a big deal out of little things, and miss the boat on the big things), and your answer confirmed what I said about lefties. You folks get so caught up with the little misnomers that you fail to see the big picture. yes, war is a bad thing, and if it was up to me, there would be no war, but when you look at the big picture and the fact that there are those in the world that are pure evil that cannot be reasoned with and are determined to destroy the very freedom you enjoy, it is necessary. This is why you piss people off on their sites. You don't respond directly to issues, but bring in strange responses about growing up and whether or not this word or that word should have been used. To prove you don't get the point, you said the daughter story was not ironic. If you were reading carefully, I never said it was. I used it as an example of misunderstanding that runs parallel to the Iraq war situation, and the inability of some to adjust or recognize change. Rather than recognize that plans got altered by out of control things, she decided we lied because things didn't turn out as predicted. This parallels the left screaming that Bush lied. But see, you didn't get it and that is why you miss the whole point. Pay attention, and respond in ways regarding the post, not in ways of disruption of the blog. As a person, at times, you seem reasonable, then you come in with this whole troll bit. It is real disappointing. I thought somewhere deep down you had enough sense to notice the obvious every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

What's that CrapKitty?

{chirp... chirp... chirp}

I thought so.

Anonymous said...'re always on point, and never personally insulting.