Irony is the figurative term for the disconnect between what appears to happen or what is apparently being said and the actual truth or reality. __ Source

The singer in the song above expresses one meaning in the lyrics, while it is clear to everyone listening that the opposite is the truth.

In the book excerpt below, the emotions and expectations of the characters suggests a certain outcome in the near future of Europe, while the readers of the book know quite well that an entirely different outcome occurred. This contradiction throws most readers into an ironic state of mind when evaluating the thoughts and actions of the characters as the story proceeds:

One afternoon the two young women were addressing envelopes for the Progressive Club on the du Preez’ veranda, and talking about Europe after the war. Italy was certain to be communist, and so was France. In five years there would be a communist Europe. They imagined it as a release into freedom, a sudden flowering into goodness and justice. They already felt themselves to be part of it.

Doris Lessing from Children of Violence #3 A Ripple from the Storm

Irony takes place daily, on different levels.

There is something called “the ironic tone” which is utilized by writers when they want to play with the reader (and the topic) a bit.

In fiction, an author can express an ironic tone through the use of diction, paradox, juxtaposition, character actions, plot or dialogue. An author’s specific choice of language can create irony through the description of a character. A malicious character might be described as being gentle as a wolf, with the fundamental disparity in the description serving to create an ironic tone.

An ironic tone can also be created through dialogue choices. A wife who finds her husband boring and predicable might remark, “I just never know what you’re going to say next.” Because the reader knows that the opposite is true, the dialogue creates a tone of irony. Sarcasm is one of the more overt methods to create an ironic tone, but irony often depends on more subtle, understated language to make its point. The woman might instead simply remark, “Interesting.” If the reader knows that the husband is boring, the tone of irony is clear, even if the wife’s remark is less caustic.


Our transparently phony social institutions — government, universities, all forms of media including social media platforms, corporations, political activism, etc. — cry out for ironical treatment. Unfortunately, the social institutions that would ordinarily be devoted to the ironical treatment of this widespread blatant phoniness in society, are at the very heart of the phoniness. They cannot be expected to satirize themselves!

And so the population is expected to suffer this top-level hypocrisy in complacent silence, as if the people of the free world had no more minds to contest the force-fed falsities given them by the crooks at the top, than do the people of North Korea or communist China.

Well, perhaps they’re right.

On the other hand, the people who are running the current iteration of “the scam” seem particularly unattractive and unconvincing to me, even when compared with their predecessors. While they are attempting to champion particularly unpopular policies to an increasingly skeptical public, they are also displaying a level of incompetence on a practical level which is certain to come back to bite them.

Am I saying that we should be cynical about everything that is happening around us these days? Well, as I once told a young fellow communard while we were on beer and cheese making detail for the commune, once cynicism is given a foothold it tends to expand and grow until it finally consumes cynicism itself. At that point it can be said to have come full circle. I know that I was right, because every single pothead who was eavesdropping on our conversation suddenly stopped and nodded their heads sagely, muttering, “deep, man, deep.”

But irony is more nuanced than cynicism, so work on your skills.

I do recommend an attitude of profound skepticism toward anything that resembles an ideology, whether secular or religious. I will leave it to you to decide how to untangle ordinary day to day life from the scores of ideologies that oppress us from every direction. You are not alone, and it is likely that the tangle that you are facing has been dealt with by many others before you. The internet can be useful when looking for untangling tools, but do not neglect physical libraries in your area, or the human assets which would willingly assist you.

This short mention of irony is meant to help you keep in mind how multi-faceted and multi-dimensional reality can be. Whatever you think you know, is probably wrong on many levels. But it is one thing to suffer because we fooled ourselves into making a mistake. It is another thing to passively allow our “betters” to make long and lucrative careers out of fooling us.

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