Monday, December 17, 2012

Irony or Something Like That

I have edited and read enough literature and critical thinking and language-conscious books to realize that I am no longer certain of whether I understand the concept of irony in its true sense. I did look it up in the dictionary and see that the idea of incongruity is part of it, but I am still not certain that the story I am about to tell should truly be labeled irony. I know that the term is frequently misused and that language aficionados shake their head in dismay at the decline of Western civilization when they hear these misuses. And I am a pretty literate and language-loving person, but still, I cannot quite wrap my mind around that definition of irony. But here comes the story.
     I was out on a walk the other day, doing my usual, by which I mean picking up the detritus that others leave along the way. And there, beside the curb, was a can--one of those tall drinking cans that are so abundant these days: 24 ounces of something that I cannot imagine ever putting to my lips. I picked it up to discard in the recycling bin and discovered a brand I had never seen before. Peace Tea, it was called, with a big peace sign on it, and drawings of hippies, and a hand making the peace sign.

I wanted to make this image large so you could see the "sayings" that come on the can: "Don't tread on me," and "We are in this together," and especially this one: "True freedom comes with great responsibility."
     "Ironic," or at least incongruous or just plain depressing to find these lofty sayings on a discarded can that someone has left as litter in the gutter. Right?


Anonymous said...

Today I'm more taken with the metaphoric irony of your comment about "a discarded can that someone has left as litter in the gutter."
If only it were the litter left in the gutter.

Rose D. Sigman

Susan Messer said...

With freedom comes great responsiblity

Jim Poznak said...

Once I saw a nun litter. How's that for irony?

Susan Messer said...

Oh, yeah. I remember that. I guess that's irony in the sense of incongruous?

Anonymous said...

Hope this is as funny telling as it was reading.
What is left of my brain remembered your last Post about adjectives describing teenagers as groups, gangs. etc.
Keeping this in mind (please do) I read " a nun litter" as a group of nuns.
How ironic is that?

Rose Sigman

Susan Messer said...

funny. Thanks for staying with it.