piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
some people on my dreamroll are angry because they see others describe the death of george tiller as ironic.

umm. i don't want to say this in response in their journals, but i don't quite understand. how is it _not_ ironic? a self-defined christian shot another christian at a christian place of worship. that's extremely ironic: an event in relevant and incisive contradiction to what one might normally expect. me, i don't think that christians go around murdering one another in this society, and especially not in church, so it comes as a bit of a shock. is this usage of the term uncommon?

yes, the incident is also a hate crime, and an act of terrorism, and no, of course christianity as a whole shouldn't be blamed for an extremist act of a few whose reading of the bible is apparently limited to leviticus, while disregarding matthew. ("an eye for an eye".)

those are not mutually exclusive with irony, are they?

on 2009-06-01 22:34 (UTC)
prairierabbit: Bandstand by Illinois River (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] prairierabbit
I wonder if they are reacting to the idea that has been expressed by some antiabortion zealots who claim that it is ironic for people to complain about the murder of a doctor whom they believe murders? In that context, equating murder with abortion leads to the claim of irony, which I would disagree with very strongly.

As you intend it, as a comment on Christian on Christian violence, I think the term holds true. Just a datapoint.

on 2009-06-01 23:42 (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] redbird
Christians do go around murdering one another in this society, though not usually in church: usually in homes and streets and bars and so on. Most of them don't do so because their victims are Christian, but for ordinary reasons of anger, greed, or jealousy. But neither did this terrorist murder Dr. Tiller because Tiller was a Christian.

It's a black fly in your Chardonnay

on 2009-06-02 01:17 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] matthewdaly
I think that it is unarguably relevant inasmuch as Scott Roeder knew that Dr. Tiller was a man of faith and therefore would be at his church on Pentecost Sunday a few minutes before services started and not as well defended or unpredictable as he is during the rest of his schedule. And therefore, if you are a completely unconscionable person, you would see that as an ideal opportunity to assassinate him. As a more-than-moderate Christian, I have to say that I'm not feeling the fear as you state it, but perhaps it is a message to other abortion providers that they have to be as suspicious socially and spiritually as they are in their work life.

You might recall that I'm not wild about extending the word "ironic" outside of its role as a purely literary device. I agree that there is a lot of material to process when you encounter something like Randall Terry arguing that Dr. Tiller was in need of Christian redemption for his lack of compassion for life while ignoring that one of his followers murdered Dr. Tiller while undertaking his Christian discipline. To call that "ironic" is taking a step back and meekly saying "Golly, these two facts juxtapose in an unexpected way." It's a weak word, which is particularly aggravating from such a passionate and thoughtful person as you. I want you to tell me specifically how you think they juxtapose. Me, I'm leaning towards "psychopathic", which is a word that I so infrequently get to use.
(deleted comment)

Re: It's a black fly in your Chardonnay

on 2009-06-02 07:02 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] matthewdaly
I apologize. I was uncomfortable with the statement "i see the problem now" and didn't wish to be accused of placing words in the mouth of the person who was originally troubled by the issue. That's not my place; my intention was only to describe why it concerns me, which is likely to be an unrelated matter. Next time, I will take care to leave my comment at that.

on 2009-06-01 23:57 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] keeva
Is it "ironic" when Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq kill each other?

I don't know. Maybe it is.

on 2009-06-02 05:00 (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] serene
The way I learned to use the word "irony" was a specific rhetorical device, in which someone says something and means the opposite. Example: My doc tells me to lose weight and my back problems will improve. I say to him, "Yeah, because thin people never have back problems." (This response is arguably also sarcasm, but not all irony is sarcasm.)

The thing I see people using the word "irony" for, in which they mean "the unexpected happened" or "someone got bit in the butt by karma", I think I'd use the words "poetic justice" for, or something similar, but I'm not saying I am doing things the right way, just that the way I do it meshes with what I was taught, or more precisely, with what I internalized from what I was taught.

Re: isn't it ironic

on 2009-06-02 16:54 (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] serene
I'm with you entirely. (At the same time, I try to listen to Vito on stuff like this, when I can.)

Re: isn't it ironic

on 2009-06-03 01:05 (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] serene
Right, I get that. I was just saying that I think of Vito when I get annoyed at this stuff, and it reminds me to laugh at myself. Really, it irritates the snot out of me when people say "between you and I" or "between the four of us" or "her head literally exploded" or any number of other things that are on my linguistic peeve list, but I don't take my own irritation too seriously. (Said a different way, I was just "me-too"ing.)

Re: isn't it ironic

on 2009-06-03 02:33 (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] serene
*laugh* Love it.

on 2009-06-02 06:27 (UTC)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] hatman
To me, the irony (a word which, IMO, is just as applicable to real life as fiction) lies in the fact that Tiller's life was taken by a "pro-life" activist. The belief that all life is sacred and that it's wrong to end a life even in extreme medical cases (which was, as I understand it, Tiller's specialty) drove a man to kill. In a church, no less, which by their shared faith is supposed to be a sanctuary. A safe place. Sacred ground.

Now, if you believe that abortion is murder and that murder should be punishable by a death sentence, I suppose you might have reason to object to that claim of irony.

ETA: I also agree that "irony" is a fairly soft word to use. It felt inadequate even as I wrote it in my own journal. It's murder. Quite possibly terrorism. But, from where I'm sitting, it's also ironic. And I don't really feel like getting deeper into the issue just now.
Edited on 2009-06-02 06:32 (UTC)

on 2009-06-02 07:52 (UTC)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] tajasel
The religious irony is, for me, overtaken by an even bigger one: I believe he was killed because of his involvement in late-term abortion, and all the news sources I have read have described the murderer as a "pro-life fundamentalist".

A pro-lifer took someone's life. That is the irony in this situation for me.

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