Who coined "irony deficiency"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 21 17:07:37 UTC 2010

I first heard (and thought very clever) "irony deficiency" a couple
of days ago on NPR.  A British writer was criticizing Americans
generally for this syndrome.   But it appears to be wide-spread (I
guess I haven't been listening).  A quick Google Books search
produces a use back to 1977.  Snippet view, in "Canada writes!: the
members' book of the Writers' Union of Canada - Page 146; K. A.
Hamilton, Writers' Union of Canada - Biography & Autobiography - 1977
- 399 pages":

"... discoverer of irony-deficiency, also known as the Canlit
Malaise, and its cure, transcendental medication. His one-phrase
reviews, Un-stable Boy (Equus) ..."

(It seems to be known as "the Canlit Malaise" only here -- I do not
find that phrase anywhere else in Google or Google Books, but its
meaning seems self-evident.)

Is the coiner of "irony deficiency" known?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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