Mar 14, 2012

In defense for sarcasm

Observe the above picture of myself with my classic poker face. Can you tell if I am being genuine or sarcastic? Please highlight in between the brackets to reveal the answer: (I am being sarcastic.).

Penelope Trunk is an amazing blogger whom I am currently addicted to. She has a post on "The list of things she hates", and right at the top of her list is sarcasm.

Immediately I thought of myself. It is not news to me that sarcastic people are not at the top anyone's favorite list. It makes me uncomfortable for the simple fact that sarcasm is what my "humor" operates on. In fact, it is such a big part of me that sometimes I tell people I just met that I am a sarcastic person, which is generally followed by looks indicating that I am the scum of the earth. I am taken aback by the prejudice towards the semantics of this word. Sarcasm is more often than not, perceived as a mean-spirited snide remark. 

Here are the definitions I found in the dictionary:
Sarcasm- harsh or bitter derision or irony.
Irony- the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning

So as you can see, sarcasm is at best a plain bagel- you can spread it in cream cheese (yum) or raisin paste (ugh, I did a quick curious search for raisin paste and it actually exists. The world is coming to an end). My sarcasm however, is almost always concentrated in harmless irony. Also due to the fact that I am not British and not in the UK, most people around me react to my sarcasm in the following ways:

Reaction 1:
I comment on something with completely irreverent and ridiculous remarks while I secretly beam at my own wit. The next thing I know, people believe in the strangest things I say completely because (look at my face in the picture above). I then start to explain desperately that it was not literal and supposed to be funny. They then feel deceived. I stop thinking I am witty. 

Reaction 2:
People think I am evil.

Reaction 3:
People are ok with it. These mainly applies to those who already know me but perhaps they secretly think I am evil too.

I need to write a guidebook entitled "Survival Guide For The Highly Misunderstood Sarcastic Person". Maybe I need to work on my facial expressions. Or perhaps, I should label myself as "ironic" instead.

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