Do Americans Really Understand Irony?

Allow me to begin by saying that ‘I am an American’ Ok, there I have let it out. Yet, let me proceed to make myself somewhat more disliked by proposing that our American culture gives us a scope of significant and positive perspectives. (no – I am not being unexpected yet) Before you quit perusing, let me counter that by recommending what I see as the best issue of our cutting edge society. A self assimilated US-driven mentality? A dangerous strange international strategy that is obliterating our standing across the globe? No, neither of these. As I would see it the best misfortune is the absence of broad incongruity in our every day lives and discussions.

So what is incongruity? Allow me to begin by clarifying the idea, so that at any rate my kindred Americans can comprehend the thought regardless of whether they don’t get it. Merriam Webster Dictionary ( gives a few definitions, with the accompanying giving a brief and precise clarification: “the utilization of words to communicate some different option from (and particularly) something contrary to the exacting significance. So in the event that I stumble over and say ‘Hmm – I’m co-ordinated today’, that would be an illustration of incongruity. The demonstration of falling over is inverse to the exacting words. I have utilized this model, since some of you might be thinking ‘Hold tight, yet isn’t that equivalent to mockery?’ I could obviously reply by saying ‘Well aren’t you smart today’, however I will adhere to the more limited answer of ‘no’.

Despite the fact that I have given a solitary meaning of incongruity above, there are indeed a few types of incongruity. Unfortunately, for those individuals who blend and match these ideas – mockery isn’t one of these structures. The trouble is that mockery is ‘generally’ said in an amusing way, yet this isn’t generally the situation. To put it plainly, it is feasible to have either mockery or incongruity without having the other. Returning to my unique model where I fell over, in the event that you had derided me and said ‘Well – you’re co-ordinated today’, that would be mocking a direct result of the contemptuous snigger. Yet, as you will recollect from above it is additionally characterized as incongruity. In any case, on the off chance that you had derided my helpless accident by saying ‘Well – aren’t you unco-ordinated’, at that point you will have lost the hint of incongruity and just dropped to the most minimal type of mind – mockery. (For a further clarification of the distinction between these two ideas see

So basically incongruity can be misconstrued as mockery on the grounds that the two ideas do cover. Mockery should have the taunting or jeering tone, and the disarray in this way emerges in light of the fact that so frequently mockery happens when offering unexpected expressions which are positive when plainly something negative is expected. Just to be befuddling, I note the potential for both spoof and parody to consolidate both incongruity and mockery for considerably more prominent impact. ([])

Things being what they are, do Americans truly not get incongruity? It would appear to be far-fetched given its nearby association with mockery, yet at the same time conceivable. The facts confirm that numerous English jokesters track down the American circuit more hard for this very explanation. The way that incongruity is utilized to various impact in the US doesn’t imply that it isn’t utilized to huge and striking reason.

The overall accomplishment of shows like The Simpsons and Seinfeld is in part ascribed to their awesome utilization of incongruity. These shows both permit amusing humor to leak out, as a conspicuous difference to the more customary parody arrangements of so numerous American sitcoms, which are undeniably more gag focussed.

To finish up this segment of self salutary commendation for how us Americans DO really comprehend and utilize incongruity, I note the two (American) Golden Globes granted to the amusing English sitcom The Office (

What is that you say? The Globes are decided in favor of by Hollywood’s unfamiliar press as well, and this is probably going to have been a major impact, particularly given the generally limited scale achievement of the show in America. Alright, a reasonable remark I presume. Be that as it may, besides, and undeniably more distressingly, The Office has been changed for the US market. Along these lines, initially we stack honors on this fine piece of TV and afterward we deconstruct it, de-incongruity it, Americanise it and repackage it. Great! I figure the entire contention could be lost on this pitiful point alone.

Try not to trouble be that as it may, the flood of incongruity is coming, and won’t be halted. It has been said that Americans view themselves also pretentiously to drop incongruity into regular discussions. Indeed, there is little uncertainty in my psyche that this is evolving. Lines from shows, for example, The Simpsons are being duplicated and utilized by a huge number of kids across this extraordinary land, and gradually the old gags that entertained previous ages will offer path to this higher type of humor – ‘incongruity’.

Indeed, I imagine that cleared up issue – not!