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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Can someone please explain to me why every writer - or individual who is a stickler for grammer - in movies or television feels the need to at some point sound the alarm over this country's horrid misunderstanding of the word "irony."
This is normally followed by a sequence of events through which the uneducated "irony" user and the overeducated "irony" champion encounter various challenges eventually leading the uneducated to spout off some hokey "now that's ironic" line at the end and a quick exchange of smiles. Yay! Crisis averted and the world is grammatically better for it.
There's just one thing - audiences don't care. I mean that, really. The reason the whole irony angle has been used so long is that people keep using it incorrectly. And despite nearly a million articles online and dozens of movies and television shows telling them otherwise, they've yet to change. Sad to say the war for irony is over, and strict proponents lost. Someone call up Merriam and Oxford, have them add in a second definition meaning "incredible coincidence" and let's all come together, sing some campfire songs, and move on already.
Anyone who's taken even a remedial college level course in any sort of noteworthy language course would likely know that words are subject to the definitions imposed on them by society. If a word is used and the general public understands exactly what is meant by it with great repetition then it's fair game for that word to undergo a bit of a surgery and expand into new definitions.
Words, like civilization, evolve and while we may not necessarily like what they evolve into (for example the use of the word "gay" annoys me tremendously), social forces are in the driver seat. We can try our best to steer them away from uses we don't like but we cannot control them. And no amount of stubborness is going to stop that change from inevitably occurring.
So please join me in grabbing a drink, sit back, and relax. Trust me when I tell you this, it's going to be alright.