Irony and AmericaThere are a few reasons why we think the Americans have no sense of irony. First, theirs is rather an optimistic culture, full of love of country and dewy-eyed self-belief and all the things that Europe’s lost going through the war spindryer for the thousandth time. This is all faith-based – faith in God, faith in the goodness of humanity, etc – and irony can never coexist with faith, since the mere act of questioning causes the faith fairy to disappear. Second, they have a very giving register that, with a sense of irony, would be unsustainable (how can you wish a stranger a nice day with a straight face?). Third, because we think Canadian Alanis Morissette is American, and she proved some time ago, with her song Ironic, that she didn’t know what irony meant (this is so ironic – first, because we think we’re the more sophisticated and yet don’t know the difference between America and Canada, second because America sees Canada as such a tedious sleeping partner, and yet Canada is subversively sending idiots into the global marketplace with American accents. Of course, I’m being ironic. Canadian accents are not the same as American ones!) [Emphasis Mine]
I was thinking about the whole Alanis Morissette thing the other day humming the tune and seriously thinking about the lyrics and realized (for the thousandth time), it’s not Irony she is singing about. NOTHING in that song is ironic. Most of it is just coincidental. I tried to tell my wife, and she kept staring at me like I was telling her the most idiotic thing, like they all figured it out LONG ago and I’m just now getting it. **Shakes Head Slowly; sigh**
I know I use ironic and irony wrong all the time, and thats OK because a lot of people don’t care. I’ve tried correcting others on the use of irony, and they slap me down for being too anal about language… So I STOPPED being a usage nazi and just let them go on with their lives.