Lessons in irony
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Lessons in Irony. The most important lesson you’ll never remember. Irony. Irony comes in three wicked varieties Dramatic The audience knows something about the plot that the character on stage doesn’t Situational

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Lessons in irony

Lessons in Irony

The most important lesson you’ll never remember


Irony
Irony

  • Irony comes in three wicked varieties

    • Dramatic

      • The audience knows something about the plot that the character on stage doesn’t

    • Situational

      • The outcome or result of a situation or story is the opposite of what is traditionally expected

    • Verbal

      • When someone says one thing and means another.


Cartoon
Cartoon

  • Let’s look at some examples of Irony in action. Answer the questions to help you analyze it.

  • What’s the action here?

  • What part of the cartoon is the most noticeable?

  • What part is the most unexpected?


Analysis
Analysis

  • What is the action of the cartoon?

    • The depiction of two alligators dressed as A.I.G. business men eating babies.

  • What is the most noticeable part of the cartoon?

    • The alligator literally eating babies. We expect alligators, which are cold, unfeeling reptiles, to be capable of eating babies. This is not unexpected.

  • What is the most unexpected part of the cartoon?

    • The “A.I.G.” logo on the door and the question about the bonus.


Evaluation
Evaluation

The cartoon makes a metaphor, comparing A.I.G. taking its bonuses to eating children. Eating children is like eating the future, therefore, A.I.G., by taking these “babies”, is destroying the future, and they are doing it as thoughtlessly as an alligator.

The cartoon makes a metaphor, comparing A.I.G. taking its bonuses to eating children. Eating children is like eating the future, therefore, A.I.G., by taking these “babies”, is destroying the future, and they are doing it as thoughtlessly as an alligator.

Now, let’s evaluate the cartoon.

First, the cartoon depicts A.I.G. businessmen as alligators eating babies. This is an unexpected, or ironic, treatment of the issue of unfairly paid bonuses.


Cartoon1
Cartoon

  • What’s the action here?

  • What part of the cartoon is the most noticeable?

  • What part is the most unexpected?


Analysis1
Analysis

  • What’s the action here?

    • We have the AIG logo and a caption which spells out the acronym “Absolutely Incredible Greed”.

  • What part of the cartoon is the most noticeable?

    • The acronym for AIG is actually American International Group, and there is a screw for the letter ‘I’.

  • What part is the most unexpected?

    • The screw in place of the “I” and the notion of incredible greed.


Evaluation1
Evaluation

Now, let’s evaluate the cartoon. This one isn’t complicated by a metaphor. It’s simply an unexpected twist, or an ironic twist, on a well-known logo. The unexpected contrast between “the real AIG logo” and the cynical “truth” of this caption is the source of the humor in this cartoon. AIG has exhibited incredible greed, and they put the “screw” in what insurance companies have been doing to us. While this isn’t a “real logo”, it is still true in the context of political outrage over AIG’s behavior.


Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic
Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic:

  • In 1975, Indiana lobbyist Frank Cornelius, whose clients included the Insurance Institute of Indiana, helped secure passage of a $500,000 cap on medical malpractice awards and elimination of all damages for pain and suffering in Indiana. As he wrote in the New York Times on October 7, 1994, he now “rue[s] that accomplishment.” Beginning in 1989, Frank Cornelius experienced a series of medical catastrophes that resulted in his wheelchair confinement, respirator-assisted breathing and constant physical pain.

  • When he turned to the Indiana courts to provide a remedy, to compensate him for his massive injuries and hold the negligent health care providers accountable, the law was no longer there for him. The Indiana legislature had taken his rights away. Though his medical expenses and lost wages amounted to over $5 million, his claims against both the hospital and physical therapist at fault settled for a mere $500,000 — the limit on damages for a single incident of malpractice.


Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic1
Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic:

  • Southern Alberta has been facing ongoing floods over the last couple of weeks due to unprecedented amounts of rain. Many areas of Calgary (the city I live in) have been evacuated, in fact. Well, it seems the worst is now over and the dry out period looms ahead. (*knock on wood*) but we now have a new problem: drastically limited supplies of potable water in the city. The flooding brought so much silt and debris with it that the water purification facilities in Calgary are dramatically reduced in throughput resulting in very low city water supply levels.


Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic2
Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic:

  • An actor who once played an aspiring mobster on The Sopranos faces murder charges along with another man in the death of an off-duty police officer, authorities said Sunday.


Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic3
Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic:

  • On the outskirts of an old mining town somewhere out west is a tombstone that reads “I told you I was sick.”


Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic4
Read the following and write in your notes explaining how this is ironic:

  • In England, another famous tombstone reads “I told you if I stuck around here long enough this was bound to happen.”


Why are these definitions ironic
Why are these definitions ironic? this is ironic:

  • This is the way one humorist defined birth: Birth, (noun) the first and greatest of all disasters to befall a person

  • This is the way one humorist defined ‘bride’: Bride, (noun) a woman with a good chance of happiness behind her


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