Goldy, Silvery & Irony


Like much of the Empire, irony is something the British have long claimed belongs to them despite most of them not knowing what it is. Others seem to think that irony is basically just another word for sarcasm used by people trying to make it sound cleverer than it is, which is often true but irony is in fact a seperate thing and there are different types of it.

There is verbal irony.  The other day I lent over to flush the toilet, forgetting my phone was in my shirt pocket and… well, you know where it went. My response was to roll my eyes and say ‘great. Thank you god. Thank you so much’. This is an example of verbal irony – simply saying the opposite of what I mean. It is not the same as sarcasm, which would be someone reading this and saying ‘yeah, the internet really desperately needed another post explaining what irony was. Thanks’.  You see that sarcasm is intended to wound and be mean and offensive.

Then there is situational irony – when something has the opposite outcome from what was expected. A classic example would be someone buying a gun for protection only to be shot with it themselves. Or me researching and writing all of this only to have it used against me one day. Hilarious.

Dramatic irony – this is when the audience is aware of things characters in a story are not. For example, in Star Wars Episodes I – III the Jedi are unaware of the main villain’s true identity, but the audience knows it’s George Lucas.

Socratic irony – Philosopher Socrates main method of argument was basically to annoy people with questions until they admitted they were wrong.  Socratic irony is when a character pretends to know far less than they do. Of course the best ever example is this guy:


And there is just one more thing… (any opportunity I have to say that of course I will):

Cosmic irony is when fate or some higher power seems to play a role in the outcome. The Titanic was said to be unsinkable, only to be sunk on its maiden voyage. Masters of the Universe was supposed to be the Star Wars of the eighties and… well, it was just bad. It wasn’t irony or fate – it was just very stupid marketing combined with a lousy film.

Even I get it wrong sometimes, but hopefully now we all have a better idea. Well that was interesting wasn’t it?

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