Posted by ESC on January 22, 2000
In Reply to: Re: Poetic Justice posted by Amos on January 20, 2000
: : : Can anyone tell me what this phrase means?
: : I always understood this to mean justice on your afflictor
by their own bad luck. As opposed to justice by the courts or your
: : Hope this helps.
: By way of example. If a John Doe were to assault a homosexual man who was infected by the HIV virus and later our vicious John Doe, irrespective of whatever punishment the courts handed down, were to become HIV positive and develop full blown AIDS - contracted as a result of his attack on our homosexual brother - this would be a clear case of poetic justice.
"Poetic justice describes a situation in which a person receives his just deserts (desserts) or, in the popular phrase, gets what's coming to him, in a way that is ironically appropriate..." From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. Like for example, a love 'em and leave 'em guy falls in love and gets dumped by his girlfriend.
You may be confusing this phrase -- poetic justice -- with "rough justice" or (as we liked to call it in West Virginia) "mountain justice." Sometimes people don't want to bother the court system with their problems so they administer their own justice.