Wednesday, February 4, 2009

There's a Fine Line Between Irony and, Well, Irony.

A couple of weeks ago, I promised CJ a blog about irony.  It has occurred to me that irony is what stops me from reaching my full intellectual potential. 
For, in the beauteous world of literary terms, irony is like the creepy uncle who's missing a thumb.  You just don't know what he wants and, unfortunately, sometimes you don't even realize he's there until you look over your shoulder and see him leering at you.

At least, that's how it is for me. 

I'm certain that, if I could only detect irony, I would go from being smart and awesome to being more smart and awesomer.  Certain.

Thankfully, I know that there are some people who employ irony regularly, like CJ, and I expect it.  This way, I can snap out of it when I begin blushing at his superficial compliments.  I know he only does it to amuse himself.  It's not that I don't have high self-esteem (let's face it, I do), it's that I'm fully aware that C knows that, in spite of my views on superficial compliments (they aren't as flattering as more abstract compliments; still, in all their emptiness, we derive so much worth from them), I'm just as guilty as the next awesome person of letting them boost me up.

Anyhoot.  Irony. 

It's what helps me make sense of some of the things CJ writes about while simultaneously making me wonder if that means everything he says is the opposite of what he means while simultaneously getting thoroughly irritated and confused. 

If I'm not looking very specifically for it, I wouldn't know anything, aside from the obvious-type crap that Alanis Morisette sings, about if irony bit me in the ass.

This is problematic because I'm missing out on some good intellectual fun.
In its textbook form this is irony:  the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

Seems simple.  It's kind of like sarcasm.  But when writers are really good at irony, it can suck to be a reader not of supreme intelligence.  What I wouldn't give to be of supreme intelligence so I could chuckle more!

Essentially, I've determined that irony is used to classify people by their levels of intelligence.  It's like a grammar quiz.  It starts out easy with questions about "to" and "too" and graduates slowly to the correct usage of "hanged" and "hung," etc. 

So you "get" the Alanis song?  Good, good.  Do you fake-laugh and occasionally real-laugh when watching The Daily Show?  Super!  Do you think The Importance of Being Earnest is so genius that you've stolen a line from it for your MySpace headline?  Ha!  We're on the right track!  Okay, but when someone says, "If we prostituted our daughters out like they do in *insert name of foreign country where there's a dominant sex trade*, *insert social evil of the day* would be cured," do you know what they really mean?  No, no I do not.  

See?  That wasn't even a good example because I can't get to that next level.  Thus, I'm missing out on stuff!  Maybe even good stuff! 

Irony assumes that the audience has some minimum level of understanding about the general subject matter.  If the audience does not, they won't see the irony.

And to you, my darling friend from California, land of the dysfunctional Stepfords, if I don't comment on your blog, it's not because I didn't read it.

It's because I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.  *inserts dollar into cuss jar*  

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