Saturday, June 27, 2009


About a dead celebrity, camels, humps and irony

I have nothing to say about the death of Michael Jackson. I think this post says pretty much all. However, I could not resist bringing you this snippet of a conversation I overheard on the Internet (as I sometimes do...) on the subject of Jackson. Not because there is anything valuable to be learned from it about Jackson. It caught my eye because of its exemplification of irony in its purest sense. I am very interested in irony.

In drama, irony is created when in a conflict, the spectator is provided with an item of information --an argument, a claim, an accusation-- that at least one of the characters in the narrative is unaware of, but the contrary of that item of information is known to be true. It is doubly ironic when the provider of that information actually passes judgment on himself, unaware that he is himself behaving in exactly the same way he accuses the other. Or more succinctly put, the camel never sees its own hump, but that of its brother is always before its eyes.

So here is the exchange. I changed the wording a little so as to prevent detection by google of the source:

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Poster A: He was accused of something as disgusting as pedophilia. There wasn’t a shred of proof to support this accusation. That isn't just loony. That is an appalling accusation

Poster B: He paid off several parents of young boys in private settlements in the 7 figures to pre-empt their going to court. Do you think he just wanted to be nice to them? That’s quite apart from the evidence presented by the prosecution when he was brought to trial.

Poster A: He was found not guilty.

Poster B: That he got away in court does not mean that he was not guilty. Think OJ!

Poster A: Yes, so he paid them off. What of it? Those parents saw a good opportunity to make a little cash out of a big star, and succeeded. Give me a break. Why must you always think the worst of everyone?

Poster C (unaccountably): It's essentially the same argument that's raged over the Iraq invasion and the use of torture. If good comes out of Iraq, does it compensate for the present death and mayhem?

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