It’s been nearly 20 years since Alanis Morrisette’s song about irony from Jagged Little Pill came out and got us, mainly bored Americans, debating for the first time. I vaguely remember when it was first released and not knowing what the word “irony” meant at the time but just enjoying the song’s strange lyrics. Actually, this has got to be one of my least favorite and most annoyed about songs because Alanis sounds so loud and whiny on the track along with the raucous guitars.
This “Ironic” is ironic because none of the situations she sings about in the song being ironic are in fact ironic, at least not in the traditional sense of irony. How ironic.
Is it really ironic to have rain on your wedding day or when you are looking for a single damn knife to butter your toast but there are ten thousand spoons in the drawer (as if anyone in their right mind would have that many)? These are simply the opposite of your expectations. If you lived in Florida, Louisiana, or Alabama, having rain on your wedding day wouldn’t be that surprising since these states get the most rainfall in the United States. Obviously the person who bought 10,000 fricken spoons for some reason forgot that other pieces of silverware are also important and forgot to buy them.
What is ironic about finding a black fly in your Chardonnay, other than it ruining the taste? I’d sue the restaurant for such unsanitary services.
Wouldn’t you be breaking the rules and a little inept for smoking near a No Smoking sign? Unless you’re blind, this is just a common sense thing.
I’m not sure about the “free ride when you already paid” because wouldn’t you know it’s a free ride beforehand or wouldn’t you get a refund because of some mistake such as the taxi missing a turn and causing you to be late for work?
This is a song that has been frequently dissected and subject to much interpretation. It should have, in fact, been called “Unlucky” or “Bummer” because that is what most of the events described in this song are, simple unfortunate events and coincidences, but that wouldn’t have made for a very attractive or marketable song title.
And isn’t it a bummer, don’t you think…a little bit of a bummer, and I really do think
There is one form of irony in the song though that is used somewhat correctly:
Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well, isn’t this nice.”
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think
It’s ironic that the kiss goodbye to his kids was in fact his final goodbye to them. He never took a plane his whole life, and the first time he did, it crashed down. Now, is that really irony or just bad luck? It would be more ironic if the man taking the flight was an engineer who helped design the very plane that goes down. It would be really ironic if the plane bore his name.
Here are some forms of irony that I believe would work well in a song:
A billionaire drowning in a vault of his own fortune, like Scrooge McDuck
A “NO SMOKING” sign next to a counter that sells cigarettes
Having your wedding indoors because the weatherman predicted it to be a rainy day, when it actually turned out to be sunny. A fire breaks out in the building, causing the sprinkler system to go off, ruining everything, and you shout “Why didn’t we have the wedding outside!”
Having a dislike for the taste of grapes but liking the taste of Chardonnay, because the wine is basically made from grapes
A gravestone marked with the surname “Born” being visited by a man with the last name “Deadman”
When you go into a factory that produces knives and all you can find are spoons
A matchmaker who can’t find love for him or herself
A priest who was born to atheist parents
A comedian who literally dies from laughing
Work some of those examples into a song and the ironists would finally be able to rest peacefully – in a house built over a former burial ground of angry spirits, unknown to them but to us, which is dramatic irony. Music is so fun to explore.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snark Bombs, Away!.”
Try your hand at parody or satire — take an article, film, blog post, or song you find misguided, and use humor to show us how.