Friday, August 1, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

Remember “Ironic,” the Alanis Morissette song which had so many critics and English majors foaming at the mouth a few years back? The song listed a number of events which did not properly meet the definition of irony (rain at a wedding, a belated death row pardon), interspersed with the seemingly rhetorical question of the chorus. I thought all along that the critics missed the point in a big way. The song was not actually about irony, but about the rampant misuse of the word, and also the inclination of some people (and many would place me, not unfairly, in this category) to focus on a speaker’s word misuse at the expense of the intended point. Rather than being a bit…wrong…the song was actually brilliant, at least in its power to sell itself as an inferior good. While everyone agreed that much about the song was wrong, they couldn’t stop talking about it, helping to boost a fairly weak piece of music to popularity. That was ironic.

Then there’s Smitty’s, a business which recently earned some negative attention for its insensitivity in ejecting an autistic child and from one of its restaurants. Smitty’s has now joined forces with Autism Speaks to "raise awareness." Oh my! The restaurant chain can now be viewed in some circles as making amends for bad behavior. After all, if rejecting one autistic person is bad, supporting the goal of a “world without autism” must be good, right? Smitty’s is sure to make plenty of friends with this savvy marketing ploy.

Meanwhile, here I am, supporting another autistic stereotype. See how they spin? I can’t look away.


  1. The statement "Smitty’s is sure to make plenty of friends with this savvy marketing ploy" is, sadly, *not* an ironic statement.

  2. Oh, my that is very interesting. Thanks for sharing and I love the cartoon.

  3. I enjoyed reading this, thank you!

  4. You have GOT to hear what a 13 year old autistic boy says about Autism Speaks at the end of the July's Midnight In Chicago Podcast...

    Make sure you listen to the one entitled:

    "Special Feature Interview with Douglas Giesel and An Update Interview with Lewis Schofield"

    Lewis is the one who has the comment. It comes close to the very end and is SO precious. There is NO WAY Autism Speaks can positively spin the press on what this boy says.

  5. Bev, the year is 2015. The irony that I just heard in this telecon's Q&A that Autism Speaks _still_ doesn't have any autistic person in its board of directors! Plus, I find this to be dangerous because their autistic genome project could easily devolve into eugenics. Please listen to their schmaltzy demeanour too:


Squawk at me.
Need to add an image?
Use this code [img]IMAGE-URL-HERE[/img]