Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sarcasm, the darker side of irony

Sarcasm is very prevalent in todays society. In this postmodern culture it is often considered harmless playfulness. In reality it is always cutting someone or something down. It is very negative and damaging.

I have been known to be sarcastic. I remember specific incidents where I used sarcasm in such a way to be very cutting of one person who was not bright enough to get it. Meanwhile their love interest was sitting there getting what I'm saying and seething at me. I was trying to "help" that person see how dumb their partner was and break it off. Eventually I went way too far with this line of derogatory sarcastic behavior and destroyed a long term friendship in the process. That was many years ago and I've changed a great deal since then but even now I can have a sharp tongue and I let it slip out occasionally.

Let's see what the dictionary has on sarcasm....

1. harsh or bitter derision or irony.
2. a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark: a review full of sarcasms.
Yikes, I don't like the sound of that. I don't want to be like that. Do you? Sounds rather cynical to me.
Why do we as a society have this need to belittle? Is it really necessary to cut other people down to size or squish them beneath our superior intellect? I don't know the answer. I think it is just a pop culture thing that has got totally out of control where bad behavior has become acceptable and good behavior is treated with contempt and mistrust.
Much like gossip, there just isn't a positive aspect to sarcasm. It is hurtful plain and simple. Both for the author and the subject. Totally unnecessary dialogue that really needs to be held in check. It is often a personal attack dressed up as a joke but born out of bitterness. It can be at a company, organization or government too and again it is bitter root judgement.
Irony is simply saying one thing while meaning the opposite but sarcasm comes from our hurt and inflicts other victims. How about checking the sarcasm at the door one day and when you want to say something sarcastic try saying something kindly. Instead of cutting down someone praise their positive qualities. Try it for a day and see how you feel. I'm guessing you'll have a good day and if you do then try it again the next day. If you fall again into the trap of sarcasm don't despair. Get back up and dust yourself off. There's always going to be the opportunity to do the right thing next time but why wait that long?!? Take the high road and I'm sure you'll enjoy the view.
Blessings, James

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