(Friends have shown me a stand-up routine about “Ironic” which prompted this.)
Picture this: you’re in your literature class. The teacher gives the definition of “irony”, and proceeds to rattle off a few examples of irony. I’m dating myself this, but back when I was in this situation (highschool lit) the song “Ironic” did not achieve cult-status yet, at least around my part. So my teacher did this, we copied this down to our notebooks, and eventually got tested on this.
The scene as detailed above has two interesting things about it: (a) there is absolutely nothing ironic about it and (b) it could never happen, as described, today.
I am imagining this scene happening today: the teacher says “today, we will discuss irony.” Without fail, one of the brighter lights in the class says, “oh, it’s like rain on your wedding day.” The teacher visibly sighs, rolls her eyes, and explains how there is absolutely nothing ironic about rain on your wedding day. I am pretty sure this is more or less how it goes in every classroom around the world: everyone thinks they know what irony is, because of the song, and they’re all horribly, dreadfully mistaken.
This is ironic. The ur-example, the immediate connection in our shared knowledge, of irony is a list of examples of things which are not ironic. I think that even if I tried, hard, I could not manage to associate something more ironic with the word ironic.
Thank you, Alannis, for creating the most delicious irony of all, and ensuring that irony can never be mentioned without causing irony. The world is perfect once again.