Irony is a deviation from literal intention, or an incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. A classic example of this is the Waco Siege where the US Attorney General, Janet Reno, ordered an all-out FBI and ATF assault on a religious cult's compound to prevent a mass-suicide attempt a la Jonestown. After the smoke cleared, literally, 88 Branch Davidians lay dead, including 25 children, a fair number of fetuses and Davidian leader David Koresh.
This definition of irony is perhaps the most complex, and is frequently used by emo kids, though often they are not aware of this fact. Hipster Irony, as it is called, determines irony as being a self-awareness of one's behavior, insofar as that behavior is incongruent with what is expected and what actually occurs. An example can be seen here. Irony is thus self-awareness of irony, under this definition. It is only thanks to this latter type of irony that the emo and hipster scenes are considered in any way cool (ironically enough, only by other emos, hipsters and Jews hate hipsters you dumbfuck), and not just another branch of geekdom.
For example: a person who wears, say, a Legend of Zelda t-shirt, but who does it ironically in the hipster sense, is being self-aware of the irony of their situation — they are in essence saying "Man, isn't it so ironic that someone as cool as me would wear such a geeky shirt?" Thus it is that emo kids and hipsters get away with wearing and participating in a lot of what is otherwise considered "fringe" or uncool behavior.
The selection of the correct tee or fashion item with the highest level of irony is a complex process. Irony is a byproduct produced by careful aging of once-popular things, products, or ideas. Much as a can of grape drink, given time and yeast, will become a fine wine, a popular idea allowed to wallow into obscurity can become rich in ironic value. Much as a trained pig can find truffles, a hipster can smell irony in an old thing and make it cool. The irony-aging process can take months or years. For example Thundercats was popular in 1983, by 1988 was passé, and by 1994, virtually unknown. By 2004 they were obscure enough that wearing a Thundercats printed tee is ironic and hence "cool".
Anyone who participates in hipster irony is actually not cool at all. This means that they are actually the victims of traditional irony. Which is ironic.
Another example of Hipster-esque Irony are men's pink shirts. Hipsters believe that wearing a pink shirt expresses how comfortable they are with their sexuality, when in fact pink is a feminine color. So by expressing their sexual stability, they aim to insinuate manliness. It then becomes ironic that they are insinuating manliness through the color pink. But of course no manliness is expressed because all Hipsters are fags.
The use of Netspeak, leetspeak, Newspeak or AOL speak to subtly (or not so subtly) mock those who use it sincerely, without realizing its stupidity, is considered Internet irony. It is also ironic, in this sense, to post old memes or other Internets has-beens for humor purposes.
Internets irony shares a lot in common with hipster irony (see above), because it represents a self-awareness of the incongruity between expected (read: cool) behavior and unexpected (read: uncool) behavior. At this time it is unknown which type of irony manifested first.
The line between Internets irony and plain stupidity, as with hipster irony, is often a blurry one (irony users in places less able to discern irony may wish to avail themselves of the following image to make their intent clear: ), and some places (such as FYAD) have elevated it to an art form. Internets irony often encompasses the sub-category of grammatical irony, including the key phrase "Your an idiot."
Poetic Irony is when you take pictures of yourself mongling your dog, post them on Beastforum and then say that they were photoshops when Anonymous finds them, posts them on your DeviantART page. The Poetic Irony increases based on whether said pictures are faxed to your house and your school or not.
On June 13th, shitty pop singer turned post-grunge diva Alanis Morisette released the album Jagged Little Pill, with one of the tracks being a little song called "Ironic". Now, obviously, as every hack comedian will tell you, her interpretation of "irony" is "just any coincidence or tragedy" and "Ironic" is about as ironic as you being a gigantic loser. Since the album sold 33 million units worldwide and the single for that song peaked at 4 on the Billboard Top 100, Alanis Morisette forever fucked irony in the ass.
|YOU ARE NOT WITTY FOR|
|TRASHING ON THE SONG.|
It should also be noted that the unironic lyrics make the song itself ironic. Mention this whenever someone tries to look smart by bashing it.
The "Death" of Irony
Irony has existed for at least a hundred years, but only came to be understood in its coincidental and hipster forms during the '90s. Indeed, the '90s were widely regarded by the intellectual set as the "Decade of Irony," largely because the intellectual set feels the needs to classify every decade as something or other.
Following 9/11, irony was declared "dead," the argument being that it was no longer funny to point out the irony of a situation (i.e., an occurrence which is unexpected given the circumstances). This notion never really made much sense, however, since it is impossible for a concept as powerful and pervasive as irony to die. Still, the catchphrase "irony is dead" sounded pretty cool, so people started bandying it around as if they knew what it meant (or even what "irony" meant, for that matter). The fact that said people could declare irony dead without knowing what it meant was itself somewhat ironic.
Captain Ahab also declared irony dead in 2009; as did several blogs.
Things which are Ironic
- Duke Nukem Forever: It actually came out
- Mark Foley
- Ted Haggard
- Calling other people kids on the internet when you are 16.
- The Patriot Act
- Realizing that those WERE the droids you were looking for!
- The War on Terror
- Watching girls pissing, and then being unable to pee.
- Jewish Nazis
- Rain on your wedding day
- A free ride when you've already paid
- The good advice that you just didn't take
- And who would have thought? It figures...
- Jack Thompson's Signed Copy of GTA 3
- Your muzzar WAS the red spy
- Ham on Jewish Rye
- Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words. No fucking kidding
- Ironic and Meme Rap
- This TL;DR article (and its myriad fucking subpages) - about a verbose idiot who makes jokes no-one else understands and lives in a fantasy-world, written and maintained by verbose idiots who actively participate in that fantasy-world and make jokes that no-one outside it can understand
|Irony is part of a series on Language & Communication|
|Featured article October 21, 2005|
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