Ironies tend to be either bitter or sweet. By definition, an irony is an incongruity between what actually happens, and what might be expected to happen. I am a collector of ironies. Since the museum in which I house them is not adequately funded, nor open to the public, I am obliged to share them here in the hope of finding a proper audience. Following are several examples. Some you will recognize, others are less well known: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the last living founders of American liberty. They were once close allies in pursuit of American independence. Later, they became political enemies, but eventually resolved their differences upon retirement from professional life. Both Jefferson and Adams died, a few hours apart, on Independence Day, July 4th, 1822. Anton Webern was one of the founders of twelve-tone music in early 20th century Vienna. Together with Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, he was responsible for freeing music from the limits of tonality. Webern was accidentally shot and killed in World War I by an American soldier, who was himself a composer. After learning who he had killed, the American struggled for years with emotional trauma, eventually committing suicide. Carson McCullers, author of the sublimely melancholy novels The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Ballad of the Sad Café studied piano at the Julliard School of Music before commencing her career as a serious author. In a double irony, American modernist composer Charles Ives married Harmony (Twitchell), who was the goddaughter of Mark Twain. Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder were lifelong friends, as were Truman Capote and Willa Cather. ‘Bad boy’ American composer and pianist George Antheil and Hollywood 1940's superstar Hedy Lamarr invented and patented an underwater artillery weapon for use in World War II. Benjamin Franklin’s son, William, was the Governor of New Jersey and a British sympathizer during the time of the American Revolution. Etc., etc. Ironies are lurking everywhere. It is easy to start your own collection. Perhaps, one day, we could merge local collections from all over the world, combining them within an online museum. This global enterprise, funded and acclaimed, would evolve continuously into perpetuity.
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland