2011 full of ridiculous ironies

by Jim Longworth

It has been said that irony is the most clever joke ever played on mankind, but down through the ages, hardly anyone seems to be laughing at the punch lines. For example, every year we honor Christopher Columbus as a great visionary for his so-called discovery of America. But in truth he didn’t land in America, and even worse, he trafficked in the slave trade, while brutalizing his “property” at the slightest provocation. And then there’s Adolph Hitler who ranted about preserving the master race, and hated anyone who wasn’t German. The irony is that Hitler wasn’t even born in Germany.

The problem is that too often, society doesn’t get the joke being played on them, or if they do, they get it far too late to question or prevent any collateral damage caused by the irony. In fact, the word “irony” is derived from the Greek phrase meaning “feigned ignorance.” Those ancient Greeks were pretty smart because as time goes on, there seems to be more and more ignorant feigning. Here then, is a sampling of some recent ironies which have presented themselves to those of us who cared to take note.

A cap on caps and gowns

Gov. Bev Perdue recently announced a plan to make it easier for high school students to get credits from a community college which will transfer to a four-year university. But that same day, UNCG and NC A&T University announced their request for a tuition hike of 10.5 percent, well above the legal cap of 6.5 percent. Now, kids will be able to get into college easier; they just won’t be able to afford to stay there.

My congressman, love him or leave him

According to a recent CNN report, 91 percent of Americans have no confidence in Congress and want them replaced. On the other hand, almost that same percentage of people say they think THEIR Congressmen are doing great jobs, and intend to re-elect them. Who knew that sticking one’s head in the sand constitutes irony.

Thanks for nothing

The courts are still arguing about whether President Obama has the right to force states to adopt his healthcare package, but it’s all moot anyway. The reform was never really reform because while insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition, no one in Washington bothered to put caps on insurance premiums. That means you can get coverage if you already have cancer, but you just won’t be able to afford the monthly premiums.

Stepping in a Texas cow pie

Last month Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would do well in his presidential campaign against Obama if only they could square off in a series of “three-hour” debates. The next night, Perry participated in a 90-minute debate in which he couldn’t remember one of the three federal agencies he wanted to abolish. Perry should have made good on his earlier threat to secede from the Union, and then he wouldn’t have been eligible to debate. There’s plenty of irony to go around on this one.

Athlete’s feet

The NCAA continues to punish any college kid who makes a buck from selling his jersey or sneakers, while turning a blind eye to college basketball coaches who make millions of dollars from shoe companies for making players wear that brand of shoe. Those sneakers are “laced” with irony.

Twin City meat and greet

The same week that Winston-Salem was chosen as America’s most livable city, a food and nutrition survey named it as the worst city in the nation for childhood hunger. Need I say more?

“Do As I Say, Not as I Do”

Once again this year we were treated to images of TV anchormen being tossed to and fro while standing out in the middle of a hurricane, and then advising viewers to “stay indoors”. That’s called a weather irony. The anchorman is called a weather “vain”.

Do as I say, not as I do, Part 2

Back in 2008, MSNBC suspended a reporter for saying that Hillary Clinton was “pimping out” Chelsea to get votes. Last week MSNBC hired Chelsea to help them get viewers. Go figure.

The oldest profession

Speaking of pimping, actor Hugh Grant recently testified in court about tabloid newspapers who hack private phone messages. In other words, he was appalled that someone would prostitute himself just to get what he wants. If you don’t get the irony, just Google “Hugh Grant”.

Like it or not, 2012 will be replete with irony. For example, we’ll all be asked to go into the voting booth and pull the lever for lifetime DC politicians who say they hate Washington insiders. It’s enough to make you want to stay indoors and wait out the storm.

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).