5 Reasons The Internet Doesn’t Get Irony

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I’ve been doing loads of giving out here, lately. It’s been lovely. Lambasting things like Twitter and terrible book marketing is more fun than reading cartoons whilst sipping champagne through a straw in a giant bathtub full of bubble wrap.

The response has been enlightening, too. I expected lots of giving out in return. People taking offence at my offensiveness. I didn’t get any. Instead, I’ve been seeing an explosion of irony. The sort that Shakespeare invented, and Alanis Morissette didn’t write a song about. Here’s 5 of the best.

Great Weather For Ducks: Or, 5 Reasons The Internet Eats Itself

1. My “15 Reasons Why I Muted You On Twitter” post was retweeted by a big pile of people who, following a mere cursory investigation, appeared to have committed at least 5 of the 15 listed offences and never interacted with me either on either Twitter or this blog.

2. My “What If Authors Behaved In Real Life Like They Behaved Online?” post was “liked” by a couple of worthy folks who had kindly (and unwittingly) provided a good chunk of the material I drew upon for the post in the first place. Needless to say, they didn’t comment.

3. None of the people currently fretting about whether I’m referring to them in the above 2 points are the offenders I was talking about. The culprits are still not reading this, which is also ironic. The circularity of this point is both making my ears hurt, and causing a quantum explosion somewhere.

4. When I was waxing inharmoniously about the plethora of literature festivals currently vying for attention in Dublin, I wasn’t to know I’d end up participating in the one I poked fun at for changing its name in order to keep ahead of the competition, so the joke was on me. Still, chances are the agent I’m meeting in the ILF Dublin’s ‘Date With An Agent’ doesn’t know this, so let’s keep this one under wraps for now.

5. If you write an article giving out yards about Twitter, you expect a massive pile of people will be disgusted with you, and unfollow you on said platform because of it. What actually happens is that a big, big pile of new people follow you instead. #youcannotbeserious

So there you go. I’m still trying to work it all out. Have a seat: this may take me some time.



  50 comments for “5 Reasons The Internet Doesn’t Get Irony

  1. May 7, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I’ve been gestating a new book for a couple of years now and I think I’m about ready to start writing. It’s set in a place not far from where I’m sitting and the time is now. Ordinary People do their best to get by in a society dominated by what they have come to refer to as The Shite. You’d recognise The Shite; the term embraces most social workers, many policepeople, a large number of teachers and all politicians (that’s ALL politicians – I don’t favour one party over others although I did cast my vote in today’s election). The Ordinary People and The Shite speak, on the face of it, the same language, which is English, but they use it in different ways – the OP choose the words that mean what they want to say in the way that they want to say it while The Shite speak the same words in precisely the opposite manner. The Shite take note only of fellow turds while the OP decide who should be listened to on the basis of whether the person appears to make sense. The narrative arc is rooted in The Shite getting richer throughout the course of the book and receiving honours granted by other Shite luminaries while the OP become poorer no matter what they do and are unnoticed. The change discernible by the end of the book (there has to be change or you don’t have a story) consists in the OP realising the general rule that anything everybody knows must inevitably be wrong.

    Do you see what I did there?

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

      jlmandrill, I will buy this book, just make sure you tweet about it on the hour every hour so that I DEFINITELY remember it …

      Liked by 2 people

    • May 7, 2015 at 11:35 am

      John, I do see, but I don’t believe it’s a book: it’s a manifesto, and as good as any I’ve heard this week. Where do I make my ‘X’?

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 7, 2015 at 11:41 am

        🙂 Strangely enough (or not), when I told The Guv’nor my plans she said, ‘Do you really think the world wants to read your life story?’ I said, ‘This isn’t an autobiography; it’s a work of fiction,’ and she gave me that look that only women can do,

        Liked by 2 people

    • May 17, 2015 at 4:49 am

      I’m necro-liking posts today, even though they’ve been dead for weeks. I’m not sure if liking this makes my post ironic. I’m completely oblivious to the humor, so I suppose it must be ironic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 17, 2015 at 7:33 pm

        Necro-liking is magnificent. It doesn’t even need irony. In fact, it laughs in the face of irony, and spits in the eye of satire. So a winner all round I think.


  2. May 7, 2015 at 11:27 am

    How many other people are singing ‘Ironic’ and shaking their fist at Alannis for not understanding what the word meant when she was writing the song?Good catch on number three by the way, I was worrying about that very thing as I tweeted my new friend on twitter about this- she’s so nice, she’s offered to help me make 50,000 friends on social media! Who says there’s opportunists out there, though I do have to give her $50, she must need to buy a new dress or something …

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 7, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Of course, Alannis’ take on ironic was in itself ironic, which might have been what she intended all along, given dramatic license, the climate in Canada, and the fact that the song was composed mostly of “E” notes. Don’t you agree?

      I like the sound of your new friend. I bought 17 of them yesterday.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Ali Isaac
    May 7, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    If its gonna take you that long I’ll bring a bottle and a sleeping bag… I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. Meanwhile, I’ll be able to catch up with all the blog posts that have mounted up since I last checked my email a couple of hours ago…

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Yay – slumber party!!! lol So glad I’m not one of the people in 2 & 3 *looks around shiftily* but the web is a VERY strange place where a lot of people lose touch with their own reality… 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  4. May 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    The oddity of social media is alike watching folks in thier cars. They don’t think you can see them. And the ones who didn’t comment, probably didn’t know you posted anything (such are the ills of Twitter bots). Keep the irony coming.


    • May 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      I do want to, but it’s exhausting. And it can give you whiplash too, you know. Dangerous business, irony.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. May 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Now I’m jealous. I, too, want a bathtub filled with bubble wrap 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  6. May 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks be to goodness that I do actually read your ramblings. I’m almost afraid to like it…

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Ah, but the irony is, Conor, that I will always be won over with flattery. And the more insincere the better, because I’m more inclined to believe it. So never be afraid of the Like. I, ‘like’ so many, am in thrall to the Like, like.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 7, 2015 at 10:15 pm

        Are you turning into a hipster? There is so much irony… On second thoughts, I can’t imagine you in a Gordon D’Arcy beard, topknot, plus fours and loafers.

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 7, 2015 at 10:23 pm

          I agree. I was told the beard doesn’t suit me. But furthermore I must firmly argue that when it comes to irony, I did it first.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. May 8, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I came up with an idea, a person, I called Yoghurtpot Man. He’s the kind of detached social media user, devouring his organic yoghurt, who now and then puts his spoon down and leaves some one sentence pithy remark on Twitter or Facebook and then goes back to his yoghurt without any interest in the reaction to or impact of his comment. They’re devoid of reaction, so engrossed in their private bubble and their yoghurt.

    ‘You’re an idiot,’ you say to them. ‘Oh, yeah.’ ‘You’re a hypocrite.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Are you even aware you’re alive?’ ‘Yeah.’ (Gobble gobble, munch munch.) ‘What flavour is that yoghurt?’ ‘Crumbly Aubergine with a suggestion Mango.’

    My impression is that most social media users are like zombies. Hit them with a shovel and they just keep on moving. If that shovel is irony, insult, criticism or whatever, they just keep on moving.


    Liked by 1 person

    • May 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      I love it, Chris – although isn’t yoghurt so…. innocuous (even inoculating)? Might he be eating something a bit more rabid – such as, oh, I dunno… Baby Bunny Stew? Dove Pie? With a side order of Unicorn Tears? The rest, however, is chillingly apt. There is NOTHING more deadening than organic aubergine.


  8. May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I’m almost afraid to comment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      D’you know, I’d feel very smug at inspiring so much fear on the Internet if only for the fact that it’s coming from all the wrong people. *Sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

  9. May 8, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. May 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Good luck with the Date with an Agent, looking forward to hearing how it goes.
    The Anthony Horowitz event, organised by Dublin writers fest / ILF or whatever they are calling themselves, was brilliant btw. The whole festival looks great, honestly, a hard working writer could spend all his / her time and money just going to festivals and having a great time.


    • May 10, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you, Lorna! I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes, too, it looks like a mad day. But this year’s festival does look great – there are at least 6 events I wanted to book immediately I heard of them. Are you going to anything?


      • May 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        Haven’t booked anything yet – may is pretty manic this year

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

          I know what you mean… You got that book finished yet, btw?! 😉


  11. May 12, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Ummm… Are talking about me? Are YOU talking about ME?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. May 17, 2015 at 10:51 am

    You know, I often wonder about people online. They don’t seem to act as people normally do, as if they thought the internet gives permission to act in a completely different way.
    I loved your post about authors online because I see that attitude constantly (and I know you weren’t talking about me because I don’t have a book to push. Eh eh eh 😉 )
    Now I’m curious about your Twitter post. Heading over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 17, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Exactly. I don’t say anything online I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. I really, really, really wish that other people behaved likewise!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. May 18, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Isn’t irony sort of like a mysterious creature no one can see? The moment one of the participants perceives it, it is no longer irony. It becomes something else. Like… raaaaaain, on your wedding daaaaaay…o/~

    I’ve been reading White Bones by Graham Masterson. It’s placed in Ireland, Cork county. I’m learning lots of Irish slang. What can I do with it?

    I have to say, I was a little grossed out and bothered by some of the more graphic descriptions by Mr. Masterson. When I read about psychopaths, I tend to be sure the shotgun is loaded and close by, and the doors are all securely locked at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Almost seems like we have different dictionary definitions for irony on either side of the Atlantic! Look, no matter how much Alanis was ridiculed, she made an absolute fortune out of mistaking irony for plain old bad luck, so who’s the joke on really?!

      As for the slang, use it with impunity. Maybe not on psychopaths, though.


      • May 19, 2015 at 12:23 am

        Saaaaay. Why don’t *you* ever use slang? You write like a Californian.

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 19, 2015 at 11:11 am

          I use slang all the time! I just hide it with irony 😉


          • May 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

            You can’t call your makeup ironic!

            Liked by 1 person

            • May 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

              I could, if I didn’t mean it…


              • May 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm

                I remember when they taught me irony in the 8th grade. We had to read a story in which a man took a driving test that was very realistic. During the test, there was a failure of the car and in the simulation, he runs over a child.

                If he didn’t show regret, he failed the test. If he did show regret, he was dragged off to the looney bin. So the attendants dragged him off, regardless, and there were two furrows on the floor from thousands of people’s heels before him.

                See why I don’t understand irony?

                But Baldrick understands irony.

                Liked by 1 person

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