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What Makes Something Ironic?

People win the internet love to argue about proper word usage. The word "irony" has fueled such arguments since at least 1996, when Alanis Morisette released the song "Ironic." The lyrics are a list of examples of irony, each one subject to debate as to whether it is true irony, situational irony, or not irony at all. Psychology professor Roger J. Kreuz defines irony as a clash between expectations and outcomes, but it's not always that simple. Sometimes it's just sarcasm.  

Some cases, however, are relatively straightforward. Consider situational irony, in which two things become odd or humorous when juxtaposed. A photo of a sign in front of a school with a misspelled word – “We are committed to excellense” – went viral. And the January 2020 rescheduling of an annual snowball fight at the University of British Columbia was correctly described as ironic because of the reason for the cancelation: too much snow.

In other cases, however, a situation may lack an essential element that irony seems to require. It’s not ironic when someone’s home is burglarized, but it is if the owner had just installed an elaborate security system and had failed to activate it. It’s not ironic when a magician cancels a show due to “unforeseen circumstances,” but it is when a psychic’s performance is canceled for the same reason.

It's gotten to the point that many writers just avoid the word "ironic" in order to fend off the inevitable derail about whether it was used correctly. Is that in itself ironic? Read about irony at the Conversation. -via Damn Interesting


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There it is. I've wondered what was up with that. It's relatively new as I've never seen spam here. Maybe Neato's reached a level of popularity causing the spammers to take notice? There are other blogs I read which close comments after 1 week due to spam.
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