Commentary, Uncategorized

I don’t like sarcasm.

I don’t, and I tell people that, and they think I’m being sarcastic. It’s my own personal hell.

I’m not earnest either, and I’m certainly not sincere. The problem with sarcasm though, is that its users are so self-aware.

And not just self-aware, but self-aggrandizing, smug, and giving themselves a firm pat on the back.

I’m truly not sure what is worse… the actual sarcasm or the fact that people are proud of themselves for being sarcastic.

I prefer irony, which people often confuse for sarcasm, which is why when I say I don’t like sarcasm, people give me a nod, like “I get it you’re being sarcastic!” *wink*

I used to be really sarcastic, but I was an angsty teenager, so it was to be expected. For what John Haiman calls, “the crudest and least interesting form of irony,” sarcasm has a lot of nerve being so mean spirited.

Those who consider themselves sarcastic often laud themselves for what is really an underdeveloped sense of humor. According to Oscar Wilde, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

I guess that still makes it a form of wit, if you really want to get points for it, but it’s not that clever, and it isn’t nice. Sarcasm is pretty obvious, and if you’re still using it in 2014 you’re going to look like a chump.

Consider this: what you consider sarcasm may actually not be. Sarcasm is clear cut–cutting remarks stating the opposite of what you mean, with generally malicious intent.

Try Irony. Better yet, be a troll.

People often complain that when their sarcasm falls on deaf (or dumb) ears, the listener just thinks they’re stupid. If you’re trolling, your goal is to make people think you’re stupid. or just weird. It allows the user to be much more creative, and there is no victim. Importantly, it isn’t clear cut. With irony, you’re saying something that you don’t mean, but not necessarily the opposite of what you mean. There should be a lot of gray area when it comes to irony. Even you shouldn’t know whether you meant what you said or not, and you should never ever ever admit that you were being ironic. That being said, a truly special bond forms, when another person can detect your ironies.

Irony has allowed me to be a lot more open to things. I don’t have to dislike things that are popular simply because they’re popular, but I don’t have to love them either. I don’t need to be critical, because I can just like things ironically.  I relish the feeling of enjoying the simple delight of the Spin Doctors’ Two Princes, a truly magnificent song, that so many others are too cool to like. I can appreciate it for what it is: a time piece, an anthem, a huge ball of energy rolled into a song. Nothing is off limits–whether I like something ironically or otherwise, I like what I like. I can appreciate and enjoy the cultural contribution and significance of Miley Cyrus. And I think that’s what it really comes down to–a recognition of the impact that these things have on society. It took me a long time to enjoy things that I couldn’t expressly relate to. But that would have been a whole lot of culture that I would have had to completely write off. I felt that to like something, I needed to identify with it, and I was afraid to identify with anything.  Now I can even listen to country music.  Shedding sarcasm, I think, went hand in hand with ridding myself of that adolescent self-consciousness.

I enjoy the Madea movies in part because I find it funny that other people find them funny. And sometimes they’re just funny. And they’re full of life lessons.

There is one caveat though:  I don’t think there’s any way to ironically like Two and a Half Men.

It’s difficult, deep in the spectrum of irony to not fall into the hipster trap, but just remember this rule: Don’t be a dick. That should cover it.

RELATED:
Think Sarcasm is Funny? Think Again.
You Can Kick the Sarcastic Habit
How to Live Without Irony

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