In the theater, the phrase dramatic irony refers to those situations whose meaning is understood by the audience but not by the characters. In New Testament studies, ?Johannine Irony? refers to the moments in the fourth Gospel when the true meaning of a speaker?s words is lost on him. For instance, when Caiaphas says that it is better that one man die than the whole nation perish.
We can add another kind of irony to the list: New York Times Irony. That?s when the ?paper of record? is oblivious to what?s happening on its front page.
We saw ?Times Irony? in action this past Tuesday. One headline read ?Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consult Bible.? The story was about a decision of the Colorado Supreme Court that overturned a death sentence for a man convicted of raping and murdering a woman. During the deliberations, jurors, who were told to ?make an individual moral assessment,? consulted the Bible.
The court concluded that reliance on a ?higher authority? like the Bible was incompatible with the ?rarified, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations.? It labeled ?extraneous texts? like the Bible a ?distraction.?
The dissenting justices called the Bible ?part of the jurors? moral and religious precepts? and, as such, ?relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment.?
Now, three inches away from the story about the
The article told the story of the firing of two Bank of America executives. They had heard confidential information that another company was preparing to merge, and they called to see if they could solicit the business. Historically, that would be considered good aggressive sales. Instead, they were called into the boss?s office, which was filled with lawyers, read a statement, and told to leave the building immediately. Not surprisingly, they?re planning to sue Bank of America for wrongful termination.
The ?reach for the moral high ground? resulted recently in Boeing?s CEO being forced out over his affair with another executive.