diamond geezer

 Friday, May 04, 2007

Irony is 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.
Modern English Usage, H W Fowler
I like irony. I use irony a lot, especially when blogging. I've used it an awful lot over the last few days, especially on Wednesday when my post was nothing but irony from start to finish. But I do sometimes wonder whether all this irony is a good idea. Because not everybody notices that I'm being ironic.

It's much easier in real life. Most of the conversations I have are with people who can see my face while I'm talking. They can tell from my expression whether I'm being deadly serious or whether I'm lying through my teeth. Most of the conversations I have are with people who share the same cultural experiences as myself. They know when I'm saying something that goes against expected norms. Most of the conversations I have are with people who've met me before. They know not to take everything I say at face value.

But on a blog it's much harder. Readers can't tell whether I'm frowning or smirking merely from looking at words on a page. Readers don't hear that telltale inflection in my voice when I'm being less than serious. Readers from outside the UK may not understand the regional subtext involved in everything that I write. And because most blogs aren't ironic, readers don't initially expect mine to be. Not until they've worked me out, that is, which takes a while.

So I thought it might be a good idea to add an "irony flag" (photos) to some of my posts, to make it easier for my readers to tell when I'm being ironic. This means that, in future, everyone will be able to tell the difference between...

Tony Blair has been an excellent Prime Minister.
Tony Blair has been an excellent Prime Minister .

...or between...

That bearded bloke on the tube is almost certainly a radical fundamentalist with a bomb factory in his shed.
That bearded bloke on the tube is almost certainly a radical fundamentalist with a bomb factory in his shed

I'm sure that this novel approach to identifying irony will prevent all future misunderstandings . Even amongst Americans, whose understanding of the concept of irony is already highly developed . Because the last thing I want to do is to appear patronising to my less intelligent readers .

I'm really pleased with my new idea, and I feel smug that I may have unleashed an icon of great importance onto the internet . In fact this is such a great idea that I urge you to digg it, because this will send lots of new readers to my site and make me feel extremely important .

So (especially if you're a bit stupid ) please watch out for the flag of irony on my site. Or even use the icon on your own site, assuming you're intelligent enough to understand the concept of irony in the first place . I shall, of course, be using it frequently in the future .

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream