I’ve got this trick to work out if something is ironic or not. I think I picked it up from a college professor. I recall it as thus:
Imagine that a driver dies in a car accident, and the driver’s seat has a seatbelt.
- The person dying, despite the availability of a seatbelt which was not worn, is not irony.
- The person dying, despite wearing the seatbelt, is not irony.
- If the seatbelt turns out to be the cause of death, that’s irony.