Fascination Street: The fine art of sarcasm

Categories: Columns

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I have this thing about sarcasm. I think it has gotten to the point where people can’t communicate properly anymore. Laughter is supposed to lighten the heart, not harden it. But an innocent remark laced with irony loses something important. That’s just my preference: for people to say what they mean and not go coloring it with their own disappointments. I think sarcasm is sneaky. I am not wholly immune to the subtler wit, though; I do think it serves a unique purpose, especially in comedy. But if it crops up in the everyday conversations, I am plagued with uncertainty.

Take this example, he says he likes her. She feels a bright spot of happiness for a week. Now say he says he likes her and it comes off as sarcastic, with rolled eyes and an ugly smirk on his mouth. She gets it right away, that he was just being facetious. Okay, fine. Now the girl is devastated.

Sarcasm is a powerful tool. Johnathan Swift really nailed it with that whole “Let’s eat the babies to solve the Irish poverty problem.” That was a good one, dudes. But suppose after that, Mr. Swift couldn’t convince his friends of his sincerity? He had to go around swearing on his honor from then on. At the tavern he’d get all hot and bothered, “Yes, I really do want chips with my fish, I swear on my mother’s grave. Geez!” I can just see that happening because it happens now.

Sure, I get another overdue bill in the mail and I say, “Oh, that’s great,” when really, I think that bites. Sarcasm can help you put a fake happy face on the crap life keeps tossing into your salad. I just think it’d be wise not to overuse it. I have a suspicion that if someone were to hear my snide remark, they might take it at face value and send me more overdue notices since I seem to like them so much. Of course, a real solution would be to arrange a payment plan for said monetary grievances. I’ll get around to that when money starts flying into my coffers.

That’s why I love The Cure. There’s a line in the song Closedown that goes, “And uselessly/ always the need/ to feel again the real belief/ of something more than mockery/ if only I could fill my heart with love”.

That shit is tight. Though Robert Smith is down in the dumps, he’s explaining his grand idea, dudes. The Cure has some real answers: love. Okay, first love, then forthrightness, then maybe later get a day job. I am not kidding. -- Rachael Pollard


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