Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Even irony can rust

I had a ‘life imitates art’ moment a couple of weeks ago. I was kicking back on the deck of my friend’s house in Melbourne, sharing a bottle of chardy. About to take a swig of wine I discovered a fly swimming for its little life. I flashed back to 1995, a time when Canadian chanteuse Alanis Morisette was peddling her own brand of angst-ridden pop, in particular her song Ironic.

It’s always annoyed me that she tries to link a fly drowning in a glass of wine to irony, so I decided to go through line by line and correct it.

But before I do let me just consult my trusty dictionary and define irony: 'a combination of circumstances that creates the opposite of what is expected.' So here goes...

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day [I’d say that’s a stroke of luck for his heirs, actually did anyone investigate cause of death?]
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay [As I found out, it’s what happens when you’re drinking al fresco]
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late [Bureaucratic inefficiency]
And isn't it ironic... don't you think [No I don’t!]

It's like rain on your wedding day [Bad planning, didn’t the bride check the long range weather forecast?]
It's a free ride when you've already paid [Tough luck, try and get a refund if it bothers you]
It's the good advice that you just didn't take [I think you’ll find that’s just being obstinate]
Who would've thought... it figures [Or…you could try figuring out what irony actually means]

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."
And isn't it ironic... don't you think [It would only have been ironic if he’d overcome his fear and been convinced of the safety of air travel AND THEN the plane crashed! And it would be PARTICULARLY ironic if he was on his way to an aviation safety conference]

It's like rain on your wedding day [Again with the idiot bride not planning properly]
It's a free ride when you've already paid [Oh suck it up]
It's the good advice that you just didn't take [Like someone saying ‘Alanis you really should look up the meaning of irony before you go any further with this song…]
Who would've thought... it figures [You obviously didn’t think Alanis]

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

A traffic jam when you're already late [again with the bad planning, try leaving a bit earlier next time]
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break [Public health and safety, nothing wrong with that]
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife [Where the hell are you to get 10,000 spoons? The spoon museum? Try sharpening the edge of the spoon and using it as a knife if you’re THAT desperate]
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife [He probably loves his wife because she knows the meaning of ‘ironic’]
And isn't it ironic...don't you think
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...[No it’s not ironic, the whole song is moronic. What’s ironic is a song titled ‘Ironic’ that incorrectly identifies irony in every single example!]

But back to that glass of cold Chardonnay on my friend’s deck, I scooped the now sozzled fly out and set it on its boozy way. I didn't look at it and think 'isn't that ironic' at all. I did wonder if it would have happened at all if I’d been drinking a Verdelho but that was about it.

Anyway, Melbourne has one of the best examples of irony known. In honour of Harold Holt, the Australian Prime Minister who disappeared while swimming off Portsea in 1967, the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris is the proud possessor of…the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre!

Now that, Alanis, is ironic! 

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