But Is It Irony?
by Rob Cottignies
by Rob Cottignies
The concept of irony is a complex and often-debated topic. Many people mistake coincidence for irony, such as you and a friend both wanting pizza for lunch. Alanis Morissette has mistaken rotten luck for irony, such as every instance in her song 'Ironic'. Cool video, catchy tune, horrible semantics.
A few years ago, one brave person wrote a humorous yet extremely poignant and excellent article which included irony and its unfortunate misuses. Our hero described irony as an event where the outcome is the opposite of the initially-intended result. For example, silent film actor Charlie Chaplin once secretly entered a contest to see who could best impersonate his famous [walk]. Because he was actually Charlie Chaplin and invented that walk, he assumed he'd win. He did not. Boom- irony.
So the other day I faced a conundrum- I wanted to run in the park and it was raining out. I generally can't stand wearing a wet shirt so I wore a zipped-up raincoat to prevent it from getting soaked. After the run, I took off the coat and my shirt was soaked. As you probably know, raincoats raise body heat because they are non-porous. The extra sweat my body produced caused my shirt to become soaked in gross moisture.
I wondered if this was ironic. The coat did its job in keeping out rain but my shirt got wet anyway because of the coat. However, if I hadn't worn the coat, my shirt would've still gotten wet.
This can only be explained by inserting or removing the phrase with rain. 'I wore this coat so my shirt didn't get wet. The coat caused my shirt to get wet.' Irony. 'I wore this coat so my shirt didn't get wet with rain. The coat caused my shirt to get wet, but not with rain.' Not irony. But then there's the inevitability that the shirt would've gotten wet regardless. A person could go crazy thinking about this stuff, which I do constantly. Yep, that explains it.
The next time I'm feeling a rain run, I'll just go nude. That'll show the ironic overlords who's boss. Also, check out this video spoofing Alanis's dopey song.