Insofar as human beings are the only living creatures normally capable of expressing a sense of humor, it follows that they are the only living creatures normally capable of understanding and appreciating a very subtle concept known as “irony.” I purposely emphasize the words “normally capable” because not all people have a sense of humor or the ability to recognize irony when it smacks them in the face: liberals, Muslims, Jacobins, Puritans and elitist, conservo-gnostic Star-Ledger columnists can be counted among those for whom genuine humor and an appreciation for irony are as foreign a concept as a knock-knock joke is to Mr. Spock.
So what, precisely, is “irony?” One source defines it as
The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.
For the present purpose, two kinds of irony apply:
An example of verbal irony is Marc Anthony’s repeated references to Brutus and the other assassins of Julius Caesar as “honorable men.”
Situational irony involves an incongruity between what is expected or intended and what actually occurs.
An example of situational irony is a person who discovers that, in spite of millions-to-one odds, he wins the Mega-Millions lottery – only to be struck and killed by a falling meteorite that had only one chance in several trillion of hitting him.
What other examples of irony can we consider? Let’s see…
Irony is what happens when a conservative blog that proclaims its fealty to facts, the truth and the Constitution proceeds over the course of several months to routinely betray all three…in the name of all three;
Irony what we see when a conservative blog that claims to be a forum for the open exchange of ideas and opinions routinely shuts down and shuts out opinions and opinion makers with whom it disagrees;
Irony rules the roost when a conservative blog that engages in a deliberate, malicious campaign to libel and defame a patriotic Tea Party group through a series of public attacks based on lies, half-truths, misinformation, distortion, insinuation and innuendo complains about the lack of civility in discourse today when it receives harsh criticism for its conduct.
Irony is the order of the day when a conservative blog that savages a patriotic Tea Party group for accepting a one-time donation from a couple of RINOs remains strangely silent that a conservative legislator it enthusiastically supports has accepted campaign contributions multiple times from…RINOs.
Irony takes center stage when a conservative blog savages a patriotic Tea Party group for giving a platform for a socialist to speak in a meeting that would otherwise have been forgotten but for the conservative blog’s sustained public attacks – which had the effect of giving the socialist and his cause more publicity than he could ever have purchased.
Irony is all the rage when a conservative blog that claims to be a champion of the Constitution and an enemy of corrupt party politics, heaps scorn and ridicule on a Constitutionally-based redistricting map created by a patriotic Tea Party group that eliminates all gerrymandered districts…because the map eliminates “safe” Republican districts created in violation of the Constitution by corrupt party politics.
Irony becomes king when a conservative blog that claims to be the antithesis of the parochial liberal mindset and jackboot liberal tactics adopts that mindset and those tactics…while claiming to be the avatar and arbiter of all things conservative.
I suppose you can say that in the present case, the embodiment of irony is a thug in a Reagan face mask.