Dependable Erection

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Irony? Yep, still dead

Not only that, but so disfigured that the charred corpse had to be identified by dental charts:
But Ms. Didion might be on to something. A Nexis search found that the incidence of the words “irony,” “ironic” and “ironically” in major American newspapers during the two-week period beginning Nov. 6 slipped 19 percent from the same period last year.

In New York, Ms. Didion’s home city, irony has been steadily disappearing from daily newspapers for a decade, the analysis found. In those same two-week November periods from 2000 to 2008, appearances of “irony” and its cognates tumbled 56 percent. Some of the drop seems to be because of the shrinking of newspapers, but a similar Nexis search with a control word, “went,” showed a drop of only 32 percent, leaving an irony gap of 24 percentage points.

The analysis may have its flaws. For one thing, the search algorithm also, ironically, picked up phrases like “end of irony.” More significantly, no self-respecting ironist actually uses the word “ironic,” except, perhaps, ironically.




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