Thursday, May 05, 2005

Fashion Police

Charming tale from IOL News

London - The fashion-conscious owner of a burgled clothes shop said on Wednesday he helped to catch the man who robbed him after spotting the thief dressed in a criminally uncouth mix of stolen trousers and tops. "I couldn't believe that this guy was wearing all the pinched stuff, with little thought of matching items with any real taste," said Neil Primett, who owns the Planet Clothing store in Bedford, a town in south-east England.

Primett, 36, was left dumbfounded when he spotted the man in a blue sleeveless T-shirt - ironically emblazoned with the logo "Criminal" - green trousers and a tracksuit top, just 36 hours after the shop was raided. "I couldn't believe it, he was
wearing such a mismatch," he said.

"Picture Rupert the Bear, green check trousers with elasticated bottoms, an electric blue sleeveless T-shirt carrying the word 'Criminal' and a tracksuit top," said the store owner, referring to the British comic book character. "I always recognise clothes from my store because there are not many other places that sell them." After spying the thief, Primett rang the police and then trailed him until officers arrived 20 minutes later.

A Bedford police spokesperson said a man had been released on bail until May 13 in connection with the burglary.

Can't you just picture this guy, hand on his hip, gesticulating wildly about the unfashionable criminal? I love that this guy was more offended by the ensemble than by the crime itself.

However, this story brings to a light a very serious issue which I cannot remain silent on.

Primett, 36, was left dumbfounded when he spotted the man in a blue sleeveless T-shirt - ironically emblazoned with the logo "Criminal"

Yet again, a JOURNALIST misuses the word Ironic. Irony is NOT a coincidence, it's not a funny event, it's nothing like that!

Irony is a very precise term that refers to a very specific scenario, one in which the actual outcome of a situation is the opposite of, and in mockery of, the intended outcome of a situation. It is NOT a funny coincidence. A coincidence could almost not be farther from Irony. Unfortunately, the world at large has decided to utterly gut the meaning of Irony. I almost do not blame them, because true Irony can be hard to spot.

There are two important components: The actual outcome being the opposite of the intended outcome, and the element of mockery. It is the latter of the two that makes Irony difficult to ascertain. I give you this scenario: A diabetic is crossing the street to go to the pharmacy to buy insulin. As he crosses, he is hit and killed by the insulin delivery truck. This is ironic because he needed the insulin to live, yet it ended up being the death of him. Do you see the element of mockery there? Try this one: An African refugee survived intense civil war only to be killed by a box of humanitarian aid when it landed on him after being ejected from a plane.

The only instance of irony in Alanis Morissette's insipid song "Isn't it Ironic?" is that fact that nothing in the song is ironic at all. I certainly don't think Ms. Morissette had enough wit to give the song meta-irony, I think she's just stupid.


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