Ever since I was a teenager I’ve had a love hate relationship with this word. My experience with irony has been, well, traumatic is putting it lightly. Actually thats not true I just wanted to say something like that for dramatic effect, but then I realized it was cliche so I had to let you know that it’s not actually true because I would never be that cliche… on accident. My first experience with irony was of course harsh, foreign, and slightly awkward. I can’t remember if I cried afterward but I am very confident that it was similar to my first time working retail. Thats right, it was when I watched the film “Reality Bites”. This is a show that basically defined all of the characters in my life that I wanted to be as an adult, yet had no idea how or when I would obtain it. They were college graduates figuring out life in the city and even though at the time I thought college was for yuppies, I desperately wanted to appear educated. For those of you who’ve never seen it. Here is the mindfuck of a script (with commentary ala moi):
[At a job interview with pompous newspaper guy]Mr. Pompous: Define irony.
Lelaini [Wynona Ryder]: Irony. Uh… Irony. It’s a noun. It’s when something is… ironic. It’s, uh… Well, I can’t really define irony… but I know it when I see it! [Depressing elevator scene after horrible interview but then she runs into her brooding friend/lover musician type guy]
Lelaini: Hey. Hey. Oh, my god. I’ve never been so glad… to see anyone in my entire life. This day has been the biggest nightmare. I mean, these job interviews, Troy… the word vivisection, a staggering understatement. Can you define irony?
Troy [as he is hunkered over coffee with a lit cigarette, his greasy post-hippie grunge hair, and his beat generation hand-me-down that later became hipster clothes] :It’s when the actual meaning is the complete opposite… from the literal meaning.
Lelaini: Yeah. My god.
The truth is that it took me years to dissect that message. When Alanis Morisette came through in her car full of crazies I still didn’t get it. [ this time I have the video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jne9t8sHpUcI love that song and felt it’s true that bad stuff happens. That’s basically the song. LIFE SUCKS. Is that irony? What’s ironic, is how fucking happy/sweet sounding the song is. Thats the probably the ironic part. maybe. I discovered this when people started realizing that the song was in fact not actually irony. At one point there was a big hub-bub about this fact on the internets:
“‘The loose “use of irony and ironically, to mean an incongruous turn of events, is trite. Not every coincidence, curiosity, oddity and paradox is an irony, even loosely. And where irony does exist, sophisticated writing counts on the reader to recognize it.’ Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” is equally useful. If it rains on your wedding day, that’s a coincidence, not an irony. If you win the lottery and drop dead before claiming the money, it’s good luck followed by bad luck. If you meet the man of your dreams and then meet his beautiful wife, it’s a bummer. But if a song called “Ironic” contains no irony, is that in itself ironic? Nope”
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/isnt-it-ironic-probably-not/?_r=0I guess they felt the same depth of internal frustration about Reality Bites because the article also alluded to it. I also found a TON of blog posts about how frustrating irony is so I know that I’m not alone in this.
Now, you may be asking yourself: “BUT LISA MARIE WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT!?!?”
Hah! you thought there was going to be a point to this post?