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Finally it’s ironic, don’t you think

Timothy Kincaid

July 17th, 2013

Finally, someone has fixed Alanis Morissette’s song, Isn’t it Ironic, in which she goes on and on listing things that, while unfortunate, are not at all ironic.

Yes, I know this has nothing to do with the usual theme of this site, but I know many of you who love language will appreciate this.

Though, to Alanis’ defense, I did once hear Alanis play at a gay event where she changed one lyric on her own and make it a smidge closer to irony: “It’s meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful husband”.

Comments

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Ryan
July 17th, 2013 | LINK

My theory has always been that she–ironically–used examples that weren’t actually ironic. Perhaps I’m giving her too much credit.

MattNYC
July 17th, 2013 | LINK

Heard it this morning on Stephanie Miller–laughed my ass off.

And Ryan–you’re giving Alanis too much credit ;) Like some of her stuff but the son-of-an-English-major in me forces me to either laugh at or turn off the original whenever it comes on. :)

Josh
July 18th, 2013 | LINK

A few of the original lines might actually be ironic, that is, contrary to what would be expected:
* “It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid”–you clearly didn’t expect a ride
* “Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly…the plane crashed down…”–he assumed plane travel would be very safe

Most of them seem pretty unambiguously unfortunate rather than ironic–a 98 year-old lottery winner dying is not unexpected, for instance. People seem to have different thresholds for how jarring the incongruity between expectations and reality have to be before calling something ironic, though.

Priya Lynn
July 18th, 2013 | LINK

I can’t get worked up about how much irony is in that song.

Erik Rubright
July 18th, 2013 | LINK

On her acoustic version of the album Jagged Little Pill that she released on the 10-year anniversary, she has the “It’s meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful husband” lyrics in that version.

Neil
July 18th, 2013 | LINK

People have been too clever by half in deriding Morisette for her lyrical rendering of irony. I’m no fan of her music but there’s nothing in her song that couldn’t be defended as ironic.

Irony, in one sense of its meaning can be an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

The lottery line is arguable. I suppose it could be said to win when all hope of benefiting is absent is a kind of irony.

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