OT: Sarcasm and irony

Steve Holden steve at holdenweb.com
Tue Oct 10 11:47:53 CEST 2006


bryan rasmussen wrote:
> On 10/10/06, Steve Holden <steve at holdenweb.com> wrote:
> 
>>bryan rasmussen wrote:
>>
>>>>>>E. g. [in Java there is] no operator overloading, but "+"
>>>>>>concatenation of strings. What if you'd like to implement your own
>>>>>>string-derived class? Ah, never mind. Operator overloading is
>>>>>>bad(tm) ;) <= Irony, definitely
>>>>>
>>>>>Definitely? That one strikes me more as sarcasm.
>>>>
>>>Well irony originally started out as a very specific concept of the
>>>Ancient Greek drama, this is what we nowadays refer to as Dramatic
>>>Irony but it is the original irony. Irony then became a literary
>>>concept for plot elements similar to Dramatic irony in books, or a
>>>weaker type of the Dramatic irony found in the plays of Shakespeare.
>>>People then noticed that life was at times ironic in the literary
>>>manner. Nowadays the use of the word irony has degenerated to by
>>>pretty much synonymous with sarcasm.
>>>
>>
>>... in America. It's well-known among Brits that Americans don't
>>understand irony. They can be pretty oblique when it come to sarcasms
>>too, for that matter.
> 
> 
> is that '....in America' meant to be an addendum to what I said, as in
> this is the situation in America and not elsewhere? If so I should
> probably point out that I am writing from Denmark and was thinking
> specifically of a situation where a dane told me they were being
> 'ironic' (when what they meant, obviously, was that they were being
> ironical), when I asked what they meant by that they said "saying the
> opposite of what I mean" I responded: "so, in other words, what you
> mean by irony is 'sarcasm'" She responded "yes, that's what it means"
> 
Well, my assertion about America clearly doesn't preclude to possibility 
of confusion on the part of the Danish too :-). You are right about the 
general degradation of the (understanding of the) meaning of irony. 
People are just too damned sloppy with language nowadays.

> She had a degree in communications. I also know a few number of brits.
> The quality of their wit is not as yet so rarified that I must strain
> after its meaning.
> 
A degree in communications sadly does not necessarily require complete 
terminological exactitude. There's nothing wrong with being funny but 
obvious <0.8 wink>

regards
  Steve
-- 
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