January 28, 2005

Truly Ironic

In an undisclosed location last night, Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" was playing. A friend began railing (briefly) against the much-lamented fact that none of the situations in the song are, in fact, ironic. Yes, we've all heard that before, etc. etc. But listening to the damn thing again, I realized the complaint is not wholly true. This bit of the song strikes me as fairly ironic:
Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
'Well isn't this nice...'
Airplane crashes don't happen very often, so sure, this counts as "poignantly contrary to what was expected." But that's about it. At any rate, I was also wondering if there was a literary term to describe the other bits of the song. "Traffic jam when you're already late"—normally we would just say, "well, that sucks, but it's not quite ironic." But perhaps there's some obscure Greek term for this situation.
-- Brad Plumer 1:01 PM || ||