Professional writer who writes for a living at the Tacoma News Tribune, Cheryl Tucker, sure is pleased to use “ironic” wrongly. From her post about how she feels that it’s ironic that Tacoma Teachers want to get paid, “(And I’m sure some teacher will write in to tell me that I’m misusing “irony.” Go tell it to Alanis Morrisette).”
First, super current. Great job keeping up with the zeitgeist. Second, I’m going to have to take a pass on mocking the obvious disdain for teachers: I could just do posts making fun of editorial writers’ disdain for teachers, but there are only so many jokes, and they would quickly get as stale as an Alanis Morrisette joke in 2011.
All that aside, it’s the calling things ironic at all that bugs me. Not so much for the getting it wrong, but that it’s completely unnecessary. If you just describe the thing you think is ironic, and then it turns out not to be ironic, you’ve told an interesting (hopefully) story, and you don’t look the fool. If your story turned out to be ironic, well, congrats on telling a story where irony was a factor, that didn’t need to spell it out for your audience. I mean it’s not like when Romeo is killing himself at the end of the play that he says, “it sure would be ironic if Juliet was still alive” because fuck that, it would be terrible. I guess what I’m saying is why can’t everyone on the Internet write as well as the Bard?
But I’m not just here to criticize meta uses of literary devices and references from the early 1990’s. I’m also here to help. So here’s a list of things you might say instead of “ironic” when you still feel the need to describe a thing, but perhaps you’d like to do so a bit more accurately or interestingly:
- Poetic justice*
- Funny (ha ha)
- Funny (the other kind)
* Yes, poetic justice has a specific meaning that most people don’t know. But at least there will be more variety in words that people get wrong. So yippee for that!