9.17.2009

Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" Really IS Ironic

I was griping at my wife, who loves Alanis Morrisette (for whatever stupid reason), about how "Ironic" really isn't ironic at all. Now, I'm not as bad as, say, the Fark.com Irony Police when it comes to what truly is and is not ironic, but I do believe that all words have a purpose, and should whenever possible be used appropriately.

And not a single instance of "Ironic" in Alanis's song "Ironic" is used appropriately. Behold:

(Seriously, you don't have to listen. It's just here for reference.
Don't damage your day any further than it may already be.)




Okay, so, let's take a look at the lyrics in play here:

  • An old man turned ninety-eight, He won the lottery and died the next day
This is not at all ironic. This is a man dying of old age, who had at least one day of extraordinary luck.

  • It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
This is just gross. Not ironic.


  • It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
This is poor timing. Or, a judge with impeccable comedic timing. But hardly ironic.


  • It's like rain on your wedding day
This is poor planning.

  • It's a free ride when you've already paid
This is failure to read signs properly.

  • It's the good advice that you just didn't take
This is either stupidity or stubbornness.


  • 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...'
This is unfortunate - both in the fact that the poor guy died on his first ever flight, and that he was such a pussy he couldn't get on a plane on a day before that day so that maybe he could have enjoyed a vacation or two before, you know... Dying.

  • It's a traffic jam when you're already late
Leave on time. Again, poor planning.

  • It's a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
Just because you chose to call it a cigarette break doesn't mean that your location has to support smoking. Maybe call it a coffee break - now the "No Smoking" sign is irrelevant, isn't it?

  • It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
This sounds more like an obsessive-compulsive victim with way too much money to spend on spoons. Still not ironic. You can do most anything with a spoon that you can with a knife, including open boxes or kill a man. It's just a little harder, is all.


  • It's meeting the man of my dreams, And then meeting his beautiful wife
Your dreams suck.

As you see, there's not a single instance of actual irony in Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic." And that, my friends is what hit me this morning - it's absolutely genius. It's meta on a scale we didn't really see back in 1996. This song is actually ironic. It's called "Ironic" and features no actual irony... Which is ironic.

Don't you think?