Prius drivers and bike riders are both helping to lower carbon emissions. But when you’re riding a bike you learn to hate the Prius because of the creepy noiseless way it sneaks up on you.

(*When something isn’t ironic but it is sort of “Ironic,” it’s Alanic.)

15 comments to Alanic*

  • From National Journal’s Hotline in 1995, by Howard Mortman:


    10. Dived into the shallow end of a pool.
    9. Applied sunscreen before going to bed.
    8. Played volleyball with an under-inflated ball.
    7. Rented a boat that had been previously used by someone else.
    6. Woke up one morning and got herself a beer.
    5. Watched the Indy 500, then paid all her parking tickets.
    4. Wore formal wear to a picnic.
    3. Kept getting hit in the head with a frisbee.
    2. Wondered what if God were one of us.
    1. Gave money to “Jerry’s Kids.”

  • That is the best new word I’ve come across all year.

  • It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a dictionary.

  • SuperBien

    Is that like raaaayah-aaaainnn on your weddin’ day?

  • Rebecca A.

    Okay so I’m a dumbass, but what about “situational irony”? Isn’t “Alanic” ?irony? the same thing as “situational irony”????? Can someone just answer me please, even if you find you MUST be insulting, I’ll still appreciate it…)

  • I second the question posed by Rebecca A., and I raise this one: What is it about the “proper” definition of irony that makes people’s claws come out, and is it all a result of that song?

    Also, I think it’s one of my top 25 music videos of all time.

  • surlygrad

    While I liked “frenemy” and “Scary Sadshaw,” I am not a fan of “alanic.” Keep trying though.

  • emily

    Dude, I coined “frenemy” like I coined “overshare.” (Eg I did not coin either). Tell you what I DID coin though …

  • Rebecca A.

    Aw shucks. I’ll go ahead and admit that I am a professor in a college and when I teach my students about irony, we discusss “situational” irony ( a more modern use of the word but still one that has made it into many dictionaries and every text book I’ve ever perused for purchase for my students) which is basically what Alanis is talking about in her song. Although one really might not have a logical reason to expect something from those situations in that song, one’s hopes and dreams lead one to expect something and then the opposite happens. Dang. It’s a kind of irony.

    And of course there’s “verbal irony” which is the one everyone knows. And “dramatic irony” where the auidence or the reader catches onto something before the character does.

    Anyway, I always have trouble with the whole “Alanic” thing because the students are so pleased with themselves to shout at the top of their lungs that I am WRONG WRONG WRONG and there is no such thing as “situational”irony! Their popular culture has told them so, darnit! They’ve been taught somewhere along the line that Alanis was wrong [By who? by what authority? I have been unable to find out!], and they so enjoy the feeling of superiority that goes along with that teaching.

    The truth is, I don’t really care all that much, but I thought all you smart people here, all you professional writers and such, would be able to finally set me straight were my students have failed to do so….I guess actually none of us really cares….

  • Rebecca A.

    Ooops. Of course I meant “where”! Hahaha. Now that, in my mind, is ironic. But maybe I am wrong….

  • Yeahhhheeeaaaahhh

    4 Alanis’s and only 1 of them is hot.

  • Rebecca A.

    Emily said: Dude, I coined “frenemy” like I coined “overshare.”

    This looks like it could be a fun quote, taken out of context. Kind of like Al Gore inventing the internet!

  • lisa rosenthal

    rebecca, i have always been of the understanding that in order for something to be ironic, the outcome to whatever situation must fly in the face of the initial expectation. i am certainly no college professor and have never heard of this situational irony (or maybe i just forgot about it) but if what you are saying is true, it seems like a very shitty and pointless kind of irony to me.

    maybe i’m just not in agreement that one’s “hopes and dreams” leading a person to expect something is good enough to make it qualify for irony. it just seems like bad luck to me. is it irony if i order steak and it is undercooked? what if i order a taco and they forget the sour cream? in either case, i would hope/dream that it be otherwise, but is that really situational irony?

    maybe rain on your wedding day would be ironic if you were a weatherman. maybe a no smoking sign on your cigarette break would be ironic if you worked at phillip morris or something. but i still don’t get why they would be ironic otherwise. there’s just nothing clever or amusing about the examples of irony in this song at all. (although i still like the song kind of.) if what you are saying is true, this seems to be a broad enough definition as to render the entire concept of irony totally pointless. i am very concerned now.

  • Rebecca A.

    Lisa, Situational irony is not the same as disappointment, and Alanis, much as I love her, did not get situational irony entirely right with all of the examples in her song. But many of them are at least somewhat ‘situationally’ ironic, especially if you fill in the blanks with your own story, as we tend to do with musical lyrics.

    A traffic jam when you are already late is not ironic, unless of course, you are driving along an area that is never tied up with traffic. Say you’ve driven this road tons of times, never really needing to get where you are going in a hurry, and there is never traffic.

    Then, the one time you are late and needing to get somewhere, bam, someone gets into an accident, and there’s a traffic jam.

    If you consider the way the word irony is used in common speech (and for better or worse, these types of usages eventually make their way into dictionaries), that situation is going to seem ironic to you (or Alanic to Emily and perhaps you as well…).

    I was watching “You’ve Got Mail” the other day. (I love that movie and it is a salve for my ‘term is approaching’ induced insomnia.) Joe Fox III’s dad has left three wives for his son’s nanny. Now the dad’s fiancé is leaving him for…the nanny! They say over and over how ironic it is! This is another example of an expectation being set up in a given situation, and the opposite happening. We’d expect Joe Fox Jr. to leave his wife for the nanny, because that’s what has always happened so far. She has turned the tables on him, and left him for a woman to boot! A funny little irony that works on the same concept of not getting what, for some reason, logical or otherwise, you’ve come to expect, or even take for granted.

    Don’t worry too much about this. We college types don’t really use Alanis in our classes to talk about situational irony, as people like Kate Chopin give us more interesting examples of it. But for better or worse, Alanis and her song seem to keep coming up, and I like to talk with my classes about what kind of irony she was going for in this song, and what types of details you’d have to add to make each example even more ‘situationally’ ironic….

  • Alex

    Alanis Morisette was living in a completely different decade when she wrote that song. I’m sure some of her song can be written off as “just bad luck” but something like the “No Smoking” sign is ironic for the song’s time period, considering they weren’t everywhere like they are now. I don’t know…. My English teacher taught this to us and he said that, mostly, her song is debatable because, no matter what anyone says, the meanings and interpretations of songs can go either way. The same goes for the irony enveloped in the lyrics. Maybe it was just ironic to her? Who knows….

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>