Thursday, October 1, 2015

The proto semantic formula for IRONY

(X_/Y)*::X->Z, [Z::X_/Y] , Z::(X_/Y)*
(X_/Y)*::X->Z, [Z::X_/Y] , Z::(X_/Y*)

Simpler version: X* :: X*

X wants Y, which leads to X acting on Z:

This is followed by the implicit assumption that (usually) Z causes X_/Y:

In this case ("but"?) Z causes something contrasting:

It is certainly fun to have a formula for irony. We note that Truism 7 is flouted because the narrative starts with a contrast and ends with the status quo  - the contrast is not relieved. But there is a problem with the relation to Truism 6 which says that the implicit [Z::X_/Y] can be followed by it becoming explicit. When something related (and contrasting) becomes explicit instead, this feels like a flouting of Truism 6 - which does not involve 'becoming' and should not be flout-able. Somehow the implicit 'becoming' creates an opportunity for flouting. 

There is something algebraic going on here, where the implicit term contains 'becoming', and so the word "BUT" makes sense in: We expect Z to cause X_/Y BUT it cause X_/Y*. I am going to close my eyes and go "la, la, la, la" and assume this will all work out. It is something along these lines: when the implicit becomes explicit and it is a 'becoming' statement, English allows us to put the "but" in front of the whole expression to be flouted, rather than in the middle of it.

This positions "IRONY" as the expectation of contrast where, instead, we get the status quo. Most simply: X*::X*. Note the joke version of the Start Spangled Banner:
Or maybe it should be X::X ("anti climax"?). In any case, this is the same general domains as Truism 7 and the use of "but". 
Update: Let me add that irony is another pattern that my mind reacts to (I keep chuckling at X*::X*), although I do not see it as a truism. I wonder if this is a signpost to a world of standardized responses to known narrative patterns or whether it is only for irony and truisms?
Update:  I have to get it straight:  You could develop an irony around any narrative of the form 'Z::X_/Y' whether it is a pure truism or a factoid. The "but" come because that truism, wherever it comes from, contains '::' and admits flouting.

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