Thursday, December 20, 2007

Alanis' True Irony



I went to teach irony this year, and as a child of the 1990s, Alanis Morissette's hit single "Ironic" pops into my head. However, once I confronted a friend about incorporating the lyrics into the class period, she informed me that the situations persistent throughout the song are not actually all that ironic. If you're going to teach irony to a beginner, they will often mislead the learner because they do not really capture what is "ironic."

Perhaps Alanis deterred me from properly and correctly understanding the true concept of irony since she was my teacher of irony, as I adamantly listened to the album, Jagged Little Pill, as a sixth grade teenager. Sidenote: both Jagged Little Pill and No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom were my first CDs. Influences?

So, if I was before confused over the concept of irony, I blame Alanis. (I have been corrected and lead by others towards the irony light.)

No hate towards Alanis, though. I consider myself a fan. I own alternate CDs besides her smash album, perhaps more than your average music listener. Don't worry Alanis; I only point the finger here as an English teacher.

Anyway, my friend Megan pointed out this website which corrects Alanis' lyrics to actually make them ironic. If you are not familiar with the song, google the lyrics. Otherwise, here are the corrections that originate from this website:

"An old man turned ninety-eight. He won the lottery and died the next day... of chronic emphysema from inhalation of the latex particles scratched off decades' worth of lottery tickets.

A black fly in your Chardonnay... poured to celebrate the successful fumigation of your recently purchased vineyard in southern France.

A death row pardon two minutes too late... because the governor was too busy watching Dead Man Walking to grant clemency any earlier.

Rain on your wedding day... to Ra, the Egyptian sun-god.

A free ride when you've already paid... all of your money to the good-natured cab driver when you mistook him for a mugger.

The good advice that you just didn't take... after reading Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking and resolving that the key to success is making your own decisions.

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... now I'll never make it to the National Association of Aviophobics conference in Reno, NV.

A traffic jam when you're already late... to receive an award from the Municipal Planning Board for reducing the city's automobile congestion 80 percent.

A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break... at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco corporate offices in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife... with which to kill your spouse for sleeping with the young soup chef who works at the Au Bon Pain.

Meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife... who happens to be the psychiatrist I recently hired in hopes of improving my luck with the opposite sex."

Ah...true irony.

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