I was moved to write this post about irony because an announcer in one of the ALCS baseball games I have been watching lately noted that some Famous Baseball Player A played in a game and lost to another Famous Baseball Player B in a championship game and then they had kids and then those kids grew up and went to college and played against each other in a championship game and then ON THE VERY SAME DAY OF THE YEAR (or something like that), son of Famous Player A’ team beat son of Famous Player B’s team (or something like that) and the announcer (I know baseball announcers don’t have to be rocket surgeons, but the game does have a tradition of literate and literary commentators) said it was ironic. (italics mine, obviously, as this was the spoken word. Although some people do seem to be able to speak in italics. But I digress.)
THAT IS NOT IRONY! IT IS A COINCIDENCE!
So in doing a little research to write this post I googled ‘irony and coincidence’ and lo and behold came across this web page – which is particularly wonderful because it is a one-page website – lamenting exactly the same misuse of irony, oddly enough citing a baseball example, (maybe the tradition of literacy in the grand old game isn’t quite as prevalent as I thought or hoped) and then giving George Carlin’s very witty-and-memorable-as-always definition of irony.
“If a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a runaway truck, he is the victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of an irony.”
The website/page has more good stuff on irony, including other Carlin examples.
It can all be found at:
»» http://thatsnotironic.com/ (opens in a new tab)