“Is it any wonder?” reversal [closed]

It’s my understanding that “Is it any wonder . . . ?” is a rhetorical question used to state the obvious, usually with a degree of sarcasm, equivalent to “It’s no wonder that . . .” or “Small wonder that. . . .” For example:

Is it any wonder that Chris is late to the party?

means roughly:

Nobody should be surprised that Chris is late to the party.

However, the Styx song “Too Much Time on My Hands” reverses the usual sense of the idiom:

Yeah, I’m sittin’ on this bar stool talking like a damn fool
Got the twelve o’clock news blues
And I’ve given up hope for the afternoon soaps
And a bottle of cold brew
Is it any wonder I’m not crazy?
Is it any wonder I’m sane at all?
. . .
Is it any wonder I’m not a criminal?
Is it any wonder I’m not in jail?

Here, the answer to the rhetorical question appears to be “Yes, it actually is surprising that I’m not crazy and in jail.” Later in the song, they use the idiom in a more typical fashion, with sarcasm apparent in the singer’s tone:

Is it any wonder I’m not the President?
Is it any wonder I’m null and void?

Is the reversed sense of this idiom actually widespread, or is this just artistic license by a songwriter?

Answer

Is the reversed sense of this idiom actually widespread, or is this just artistic license by a songwriter?

It is just artistic license. Once you start playing with poetry and song double meanings and word play quickly break common idioms.

If you wanted to express “Is it any wonder?” non-sarcastically you would say:

Do you wonder why Chris is late to the party?

I wonder why Chris is late to the party.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Bradd Szonye , Answer Author : Community

Leave a Comment