Must have an irony deficiency

(Guest post by an anonymous contributor.)

In an old Looney Tunes cartoon, Daffy Duck, playing a sheriff, holds a gun to a crim’s face who proceeds to bite the gun in half.

“Must not have had his iron today,” Daffy says.

He pronounced iron EYE-run.

That always made me laugh.

So I would like to talk briefly about our country’s irony deficiency.

I fear it may be getting critical or pathological.

In his book “Letters to a Young Contrarian”, Christopher Hitchens says something about irony.

Had I more time and not lended the book to my sister-in-law I would reproduce exactly what he said.

Suffice to say that Mr Hitchens — and I with him — believes that irony is important.

Irony simply means to say one thing whilst actually meaning something else.

(Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the main character does not.  At least I think it does. You, perhaps, know better.)

In my experience, irony doesn’t wash in New Zealand.

In this country, one says what one means and one means what one says.

When I first moved here, people would often ask what I was doing in New Zealand.

“Easy,” I would say, “I’m actually on a rodeo scholarship.”

“No, no, no, mate. Not much rodeo around here,” many would reply.

Well, no. There isn’t. I was joking and I thought I was doing so in an obvious manner. More fool me.

So why is irony important?

Irony is often funny. I thought my rodeo joke was funny. It shows a critical mind.

Irony also shows confidence, just like the use of humour. To use irony is to say, “Lo, I am confident and I will take a risk. And if you don’t get it is you, not I, who are the thicky, Blackadder.”

Finally, irony makes sure things can’t be taken too seriously. This is imperative. Nothing we do is really that important. We’re alive for about a nanosecond on the great cosmic spectrum and eventually absolutely nobody will ever remember a single thing we did let alone that we were ever alive.

We are born astride the grave blah blah blah.

So why don’t we have time for irony in New Zealand? Why do we have no political satire of value? Why don’t we like to laugh?

In my next post, I will discuss these questions through a review of what was, without doubt, the worst production in theatrical history.

I speak, of course, of “Le Sud”.

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