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(20 Posts)
OTheHugeManatee Fri 05-Aug-11 18:46:15

I can't stand the way people refer to unfortunate accidents as 'tragic'. Tragedy, in drama, is a dreadful chain of events brought about by people or situations that contain the seeds of their own destruction. So a tragic situation is one where the terrible denouement was contained in the logic of the situation. A child left orphaned because one parent killed the other and then committed suicide might be legitimately called 'tragic'. But describing as 'tragic' a attack by a wild animal, or a tsunami, or a road accident, is just wrong . It was a terrible event, but it was random, and while it is awful it is not. tragic.


NorfolkNChance Fri 05-Aug-11 21:00:31

Are you Educating Rita OTHM?

PelvicFloorOfSteel Fri 05-Aug-11 21:03:52

I blame the BeeGees for the popular misuse of tragedy.

SarkySpanner Fri 05-Aug-11 21:07:36

Tragedy (and tragic) are polysemous words.

Or to put it another way, you are wrong smile

VictorianIce Fri 05-Aug-11 21:38:09

It is tragic. It's just not a tragedy in the literary sense of the word.

Or to put it another way... wot they sed.

scurryfunge Fri 05-Aug-11 21:41:10

I agree. It's when you lose control and you got no soul.

southeastastra Fri 05-Aug-11 21:43:27

there's a band called the tragically hip who are fantastic as an aside grin

TheOriginalFAB Fri 05-Aug-11 21:46:51

So it's not tragic that 2 parents have lost their child?

VictorianIce Fri 05-Aug-11 21:49:50

I think they were hypothetical parents... grin And the OP did grant that that situation could be called tragic.

But a bear savaging a motorway pile-up during a tidal-wave was less tragic.

I may have misread...

TheOriginalFAB Fri 05-Aug-11 21:55:19

A child died today having been mauled by a bear.

Olifin Fri 05-Aug-11 22:32:25

You are wrong smile

It is perfectly acceptable to use 'tragic' to describe a horrifying or sad event, whether or not it has been foreshadowed by a fatal flaw of some sort. The word has been used legitimately in that way for some time. (Watch Educating Rita!)

Even 'tragedy' does now get used to describe natural disasters and so on. You might not like it but the language is always changing.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 05-Aug-11 23:12:33

I know language changes, or else we'd all still be using an inflected language smile I just loathe the way 'tragic' has come to mean 'something we can all generally agree is really really bad'. I can see why it gets used in tabloid headlines, as it's shorter than 'horrifying', 'appalling' or similar; perhaps it's the tabloid association that bothers me really. The word seems so cheap somehow as a result.

Olifin Sat 06-Aug-11 00:06:03

I agree to an extent regarding its use in tabloids but for me it does have slightly different connotations to 'horrifying' or 'appalling'. To me it suggests something that perhaps could have been prevented reasonably easily whereas the other adjectives don't necessarily have that connotation.

Thumbwitch Sat 06-Aug-11 00:12:34

I think, even for me, it's a step too far in pedantry, Manatee!

May I just say here that I object to the meeja overuse of the word "ordeal"? I'm sure that anyone who has suffered anything probably has been through a terrible time - but can they not think of another way to put it? It just switches me off completely when I see the word now.

Funk Mon 08-Aug-11 05:13:34

I disagree with OPs point re use of word tragic however I was BESIDE myself watching The Tour de France when the commentator kept saying "it's a disaster..." when talking about someone falling behind in the cycling race.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 08-Aug-11 11:03:22

Sounds like I'll just have to grin and bear it then grin

Agree with Thumbwitch about 'ordeal' in the meeja though. 'Shock' is the same. And 'tot' for a small child is just uuuurgh.

Funk Mon 08-Aug-11 11:11:27

A gracious loser, that's what we like. Tragically there's not enough of them.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 08-Aug-11 11:43:25

I'm on the fence, actually. I don't think it's wrong to use the word 'tragic' for things that are accidental. Language usage does change. But I agree with the OP that overuse of any word sometimes cheapens it and makes it lose power. Like 'amazing'.

SarkySpanner Tue 09-Aug-11 22:39:33

Awesome smile

TrillianAstra Tue 09-Aug-11 22:47:07

Reminds me of Celebrity Watch in the Times on Steps reforming.

Although absolutely gungo-hojo for such a project, CW is aware of the potential pitfalls of bands reforming after a significant time apart and hopes the whole thing doesn’t end in Tragedy.

(Because Steps are famous for doing a cover of Tragedy, and CW would prefer it if they played it farther up the set — ending on “5, 6, 7, 8” instead.

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