In one of the seminal film experiences of my generation, the serious historical document called ‘Reality Bites,’ main character Leilani is unable to provide a definition of irony, even though she fancies herself a well-spoken writer-type.  (For the record, it’s “a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear & shall not understand, & another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware both of that more & of the outsiders’ incomprehension.”  You’re welcome.)  Still, it’s occasionally difficult to actually figure out what and when and wherefore of it all, especially when our favorite movies and stories don’t always know exactly what irony is either, leading us to today’s probably-ill-advised query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) blames the whole thing on Alanis Morissette, asking: What’s your favorite example (correct or not) or irony in your favorite pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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6 Comments

  1. Tazsul
    September 25, 2015 at 11:41 am — Reply

    My favorite example is from Futurama, in the Season 3 finale, wherein Fry trades hands with the Robot Devil. Throughout the episode the word Irony is missused over and over, and corrected, until I the operatic climax it is used correctly and Bender sings a dictionary definition ending in a crescendo confirmation that “That is Irony!”

    It’s super meta and very funny.

    • September 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm — Reply

      That was such a great episode. I love using the Robot Devil’s quote during the opera “You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!”.

    • September 26, 2015 at 6:13 pm — Reply

      Leela – I’ll give you my hand…
      Robot Devil – … in marriage!
      Bender – The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention. Now THAT is irony.

  2. AmFan15
    September 25, 2015 at 11:56 am — Reply

    Spoilers…of course, I guess that goes without saying:
    I recently read the original Hulk: Future Imperfect by Peter David. In it, the Maestro (an evil future version of the Hulk) boasts to the Professor Hulk (with Banner’s mind) that nothing short of being caught in the midst of a nuclear explosion can kill him. The Hulk, beaten to a pulp and on his last legs, tricks Maestro into standing on a time portal, and sends him back in time…to the original gamma bomb test that created the Hulk in the first place!

  3. Ivan Kvapil
    September 25, 2015 at 4:35 pm — Reply

    My favorite example is the the only thing ironic about Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” is that every example of irony it provides are not actually examples of irony but examples of really sucky coincidences.

  4. Luis Dantas
    September 25, 2015 at 6:12 pm — Reply

    Cap of the 1950s decreeing himself the true voice of freedom to the Falcon, even while he slaps Sam and tells him that he has to accept that as true.

    Captain America #154, in 1972.

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