Jewish Journal


November 14, 2011

‘Ironic’ as what was wrong with the ‘90s


And now a personal indulgence (as if most of what appears on this blog is something else): The 1990s represent my formative years, elementary school through high school. And I remember a lot of great music from those years—at least, I thought it was great.

But Alanis Morrissette was never on that list. And being even mildly skilled with words and literary techniques, I, like so many others, was always annoyed by the lack of irony in Morrissette’s breakthrough song. Moreover, I blamed “Ironic” for increasing the incidence of people saying, “That’s ironic,” when really they meant, “What a coincidence.”

This morning, Ben Westhoff of LA Weekly wrote a great line-by-line takedown of the lack of irony in “Ironic.”

Alanis Morrissette is the ‘90s in a nutshell, a time when the good economy had us thinking we no longer needed to be clever to get by. “Ironic” does in fact lack even the smallest shred of irony, and were it not for the “Stay (I Missed You),” it would indeed be the worst song of the ‘90s.

Westhoff’s approach actually reminds me a bit of legal textual interpretation. Anyway, here’s an example:

It’s like rain on your wedding day
Is this ironic? This is the line Morissette haters often cite when criticizing “Ironic.” Indeed, rain on one’s wedding day is not ironic. It’s just, like, unfortunate, if you’re a girl or whatever.

You can read the rest here. Actual religion news to follow ...

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