Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stop it before you hurt yourself

So this idiot at work has spent the last three months trying to prove to me that he has a broader base of knowledge when it pertains to music than I do. I have to laugh at this guy. Everyday is a an episode of Name that Tune. It's rather bothersome. I'm just trying to make it through the day, and this guy is relentless.

What band did the song "Hello Skinny"?

How the fuck should I know? Oh, The Residents. Silly me. I should have known it was an obscure surrealist band from the 70's. A band so obscure, nobody even knows the names of the people in it. It's true. Look it up. 

But he lost all credibility last week, His claim that Kansas was the best band of the last 30 years almost made my head explode.

Kansas. Really?

I wasn't even sure how to respond. I mean it was just...

Kansas? Dust in the Wind, Carry on my Wayward Son, synthesizers and keytars? That Kansas?

For a second, I thought I was getting Punk'd. Then I remembered that that show has been neither relevant or in production for some time now. So I dismissed it. Then I considered the possibility that I had indeed crossed over into... The Twilight Zone.

Because failing that, I have no other explanation for his utterly ridiculous claim.

I did get to blow that guy's mind though. And it was kinda fun. Alanis Morisette's "Ironic" came on the radio (For a supposedly manly place, the music is pretty lame. Safe to say a popular tune there involves a girl who is not really interested in writing a song in which she professes her love to another person, and most especially not if she is writing it because she is being forced to do so. No way, sister. Not this girl) 

Anyway, the song came on, and this guy went where any person who is unable to let go of stupid jokes goes.

"You know, none of this stuff is really ironic. They're all just coincidences."

So I, of course, had to set this moron straight.

"Actually, they're not really coincidences at all. Just unfortunate turns of events. And furthermore, if you knew what ironic meant, you would agree that the title is most certainly appropriate. Irony is an incongruence between what is expected and what actually happens. In my opinion, what could be more "ironic" than a song called "Ironic" that contains no actual irony?"

He just sat there. I wasn't sure if it was because he was still trying to figure out what incongruence meant, or if I just completely threw him for a mental loop. But it was kind of funny and sad at the time.

By the way, I have it on good authority that she called the song "Ironic" mainly because "Well, Wasn't That Unfortunate" just didn't have the same Pop! to it.


Sra said...

Ok, I take exception to this widespread opinion that none of the lyrics in Ironic are ironic. Every touts the definition of "irony" as evidence for this position.

Well, what about the definition of the song's title, "ironic"? Quoth

1. containing or exemplifying irony: an ironic novel; an ironic remark.
2. ironical.
3. coincidental; unexpected: It was ironic that I was seated next to my ex-husband at the dinner.

Further, quoth Wikipedia:

"The song's usage of the word 'ironic' attracted attention for what many feel is an improper application of the term. Some situations that Morissette describes in the song are arguably examples of cosmic irony: events that, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, appear 'as if in mockery of the fitness or rightness of things', such as 'a death row pardon/two minutes too late'. Others appear to be merely unfortunate (not even improbable or coincidental), such as 'a black fly/in your Chardonnay' or 'A traffic jam/when you're already late.' If one discounts cosmic irony, however, it is arguable that the song is ironic in and of itself - there is a fundamental incongruity in a song titled 'Ironic' which ultimately contains no irony, an interpretation that Morissette herself has supported, although it could be theorised that she chose to support this interpretation after the event, in an attempt to excuse her improper use of the term."

Finally, as a descriptive linguist, I believe that the meaning of words is better judged by their actual use as opposed to their prescribed use -- and thus meaning can change as language use changes. Tell me that you haven't experienced similar scenarios to the ones in this song and then labeled them "ironic". I'd find that hard to believe.

Whimsicalsun said...

With this story I remember this guys that believes that knows 'everything' because they just have good memory.

My memory sucks...