Archive for November, 2011

Devaluing Sarcasm

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Archive

I can understand why one would use sarcasm, but I don’t understand the need for it in the english language. The concept of sarcasm and its prevalence is interesting to me. It’s a cruel form of language that I am unfortunately accustomed to hearing. Why? Well, it could be because of my heritage or the culture I grew up in. Regardless, that isn’t important, lets discuss why I have devalued sarcasm.

Sarcasm, to my personal understanding, is a means of mocking indirectly without conveying what it is you want to really say, so in other words a passive form of ridiculing.

According to Merriam Webster, sarcasm is “a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter,caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual.”


Now, to me, I don’t believe sarcasm is entirely necessary or at all valuable. I know there is a time and place for it. I can certainly understand its value on TV shows, like the Daily Show, Colbert Report, or Tosh.O – that would make complete sense to me. The impact the comedy has on the audience depends directly on the construction and delivery of the sarcasm itself. In fact, any form of political jokes, sarcasm is preferred to avoid direct attacks on politicians or sensitive audiences. Sure, that’s reasonable to understand.
Devaluing sarcasm is meant to be understood in the context of those you have a close relationship with.
In a real-world context, like when your with family and friends, I don’t find it always appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that some people are naturally more sarcastic than others, but “too much sarcasm” will not only hinder communication but cause unnecessary tension among those your closest with. It’s reasonable to assume that a person would not be as inclined to share information with the person who is being sarcastic to them. Would you tell a bully how your day was in the 3rd grade – no? You would be afraid he’d beat ya up or take your lunch money or my case….judge you. Extreme example, but you catch my drift.
Solution: The almighty rule of thumb — think of using sarcasm like the way most of us use salt – use sparingly and not with everything because too much will leave you bitter. True?
If you know a person who is always sarcastic (like dishes out 2 or more comments a day),  you have to question the persons real motives and self-esteem here. Because it’s a negative use of language to begin with, so add the thought of hearing contentious jokes more than 3x a day and you have yourself a negative nancy my friends….and that just isn’t cool. The less association with these set of people, the better – promise. they’ll probably tell you you’re too sensitive or not easy-going enough, but truthfully its a way for the attacker to convince themself they’re not wrong or not capable of being hurtful. It’s self-deception in its most subtle form.
Hope I’ve brought more awareness to the topic and those who are reading this use the almighty rule of thumb! The end.