Friday, January 26, 2007

More irony abuse

A man who led a 30-year campaign for a new bypass has become the first person to crash on it.

Jim Burley fought for the bypass in Pegswood, Northumberland, to reduce heavy traffic through the village.

Parish council chairman Jim, 70, and his wife Eunice, 69, were not seriously hurt when their Vauxhall van was in a head-on collision with another van.

Jim told the Sun: "I can certainly see the irony in being involved in the first accident on a bypass for which I have been campaigning for 20 to 30 years."

Not ironic.


Duck said...

It's ironic enough for simple folks like us. You're just an irony snob.

Brit said...

C'mon, it's not difficult.

It would be ironic if his reasons for campaigning for the bypass were to reduce crashes.

In fact, his reasons were to get the high volume of traffic onto the bypass. Therefore it was not surprising that a crash would occur on the bypass once he acheived this aim.

The fact that it was him merely shows that he was setting a good example, and having his crash outside the village...

So it would be far more ironic if he had his crash inside the village, having successfully shifted all the traffic to the bypass.

Peter Burnet said...

Is it ironic to hold up irony as the ultimate in clever humour and then take all the fun out of it through detailed deconstructive analyses that make everybody else feel stupid they don't get irony?

Anonymous said...

You have to be English - not even British - to understand. It's a racial feature whereby the tongue fits snugly in the cheek.

Anonymous said...


Peter Burnet said...


I doubt this comes within Brit's ever more restrictive and cranky definition of irony, but I grew up in a family where English dry wit was cherished as much as the Queen and trifle, despite the incomprehension of our neighbours. My all time apogee of the genre was when, as a backpacking student, I was enaged in a group discussion among a few Canadians, Americans and Brits on a ferry from Holland to England. We were dicussing the mundane things the young are fascinated by, and my Canadian friend was opining on currency conversion difficulties. His point was that, after spending months on the Continent where monetary units were less than a dollar, it was a psychological adjustment to hit Britain, where the unit was more than a dollar. His exact words were: "After being in Europe for months, it's easy to make the mistake of thinking a pound is worth a dollar, or less."

To which our English friend replied:

"Perhaps you should try to think of it as being worth a dollar or more."

I (and he) were on the floor, but there were a lot of blank North American faces.

Brit said...

The first thing you should do if an Englishman starts analysing irony is remember not to take him seriously.

I'm only joking.

Or am I?

Duck said...

My face is still blank. Please diagram the joke for this North American.

Peter Burnet said...

I would, Duck, but I'm deathly afraid Brit would tear my explanation apart and insist I just don't get English humour.

But if I were forced to, I would say it was funny because it was a pseudo-serious reply to a mindless comment, ostensibly thoughtful but actually mindless itself in exactly the same way.

Brit said...

That's fair. We call it "taking the piss".

It comprises 90% of our conversation. (The other 10% is talking about the weather).

Duck said...

So it's "attitude" humor, eh? It's all in the delivery.

How does an Englishman signal when he has something serious to say? Do you hold up a blue hankie, or something like that?

Brit said...

No, but that's a really good idea and from now on that's what I'll do. If it catches on, it could save a heck of a lot of confusion.

Peter Burnet said...


They used to send in the navy, but now they just get red-faced and order another pint.