What is sarcasm?
Do we really know what sarcasm is? Some might answer back, feeling incredibly clever: "oh NO, I REALLY DON’T know.” and as much as we'd like to laugh and appreciate this magnificent display of wit and sarcasm, we figured it's time we took a stand.
Sarcasm is an art.
It is a practice passed down to us by our ancestors. Some say the first form of sarcasm was, in a nutshell, like this: "ooogah boogah?' and the other replied 'ah UGGGH ah boog" (Doesn't it just remind you of someone? no? not at all? oh marshmallows) Sarcasm must never be belittled because it is a close brother of humour, and truthfully, the two are a formidable pair. Like many other great things in life, it has the power to corrupt and be corrupted. So to help all of you resist the temptations of shallow and misused sarcasm, we have carefully put together this humour survival guide—join the revolution!
1. State the Obvious (or not):
It is important to know what Sarcasm really means. In a dictionary, it’s defined as “A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.” Or “mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult” Or in Layman’s terms “Creatively telling the obvious”. We believe that that is the real meaning of sarcasm, the truth. There’s a saying that goes “The truth shall set you free”, so we guess that it is directly parallel to sarcasm, with a few exceptions. So how can you use sarcasm? You tell people that need to be set free from the things blinding them that they’re …blind! Here’s a very amusing example:
“Girl 1: (really likes Sir A so she turns to her seatmate to share her infatuation) Sir A Is so cool! Right?
Guy1: (Doesn’t like Sir A, so he gets pissed. Being blind to her clear infatuation with the guy, he turns to his other classmate) “Hey, Girl 1 really likes Sir A!”
Guy 2: (Blessed by the Greek god Momus*) “Thank you for telling me the sun is yellow.”
What can you learn from this? “Sarcasm shall set you free…with style!”
(*Momus- Greek god of satire, mockery, sarcasm, and the like.)
2. Stalk your prey:
Like the stealthy predators of the jungle, we must always first stalk our prey. We must watch them closely; observing the slightest movements. Do they like Chinese food? Do they enjoy flirting with other people? Do they flip their hair to the right, or to the left? Do they flip their hair at all? Armed with the facts that you have gathered about your target, you’ll be able to bestow upon the lowly your incredible awesomeness served with cherries on top and rainbow sprinkles. In fact, some might be so grateful that they will be offended, and if you’re lucky, they might even run away and tell this amazing story to a teacher or even his parents. Then the higher-ups will request an audience with you wherein they will tell you to tone it down next time because they don’t know how much more epic-ness their child and/or student could handle. Consider these facts and be guided, so that when they sprinkle their ignorance around you, you’ll have the discipline to calmly brush away the ignoramus dust and throw it back with subtle vengeance. They deserve as much, eh?
3. Use Figures of Speech
Sarcasm sounds better when you use figures of speech, such as Similes, Metaphors, Oxymoron, Hyperboles, and the like. This sharpens the cutting edge of sarcasm—because sarcasm aims to tell the truth in a creative way. So work those neurons and start thinking of some witty one-liners! You wouldn’t want to be stuck in dead air right? So you have to prepare, unless you want to be as embarrassed as a bald guy in a barber shop then be my guest. (You see what I did there?)
Other times though, stating the obvious means saying the exact opposite of what you hear. In sarcasm, you say it with class, not the shallow jabberings of the mouth. (It’s leviOsa, not leviosA). For example:
Girl 1: (Sings her heart out. In the most tone-deaf voice that she could. Then she turns to her friend.) I really like this song! Doesn’t it sound great?
Girl 2: Yeah! It reminds me of the sound a cat would make when it jumps off the empire state building—before it hits the ground. Oh, it’s an adorable cat though!
4.Carry the look:
It is our belief that the face is what ties everything together. In the case of sarcasm, we believe that a smiling face or a straight face would be most appropriate. Why? Simply because a smile expresses deep joy---the same joy you feel as you slowly tear apart a person’s self-confidence. The best smile for sarcasm would be the most unbelievably fake and sugar-coated smile you can manage. If you’re a real pro with fake smiles, you can try achieving the “toothpaste commercial” smile that includes happy eyes and a quick shine at the corners. This look serves as a physical euphemism, so that when you start talking, your targets won’t even know what hit them. They would be too busy feeding off all your positive energy that they might not be able to get your point at first (which would add to the suspense thus increasing their appreciation for your pure genius) If they find themselves annoyed, angry or simply dumbstruck about what you just said, it’s just because of your dazzling smile. Keeping a straight face while being sarcastic also adds to the thrill and humour of sarcasm. Some genius examples are Emma Stone of “Easy A” (Here’s a favourite: amidst a crowd of people with posters saying that Olive is a slut: Todd: “Screw all these people, Olive!” and Olive replies : “Haven't you heard? I already did.”) Lindsay Lohan on “Mean Girls” and probably the best and most famous example: Sir Espiridion Atilano (Don’t you just love it when he’s sarcastic?) Why a straight face if not a smiling face? Simple! Because a straight face will also allow your victim to listen to what you actually say. When people can’t read the expression on your face, they listen more closely to you since they have to know how to react. (The only problem with this though is the unfortunate part of the population that can’t tell their friend called “Pick-up” to hurry up) So, work it! [Cue on a sharp upwards snap after a hair flip accompanied with a face that can be likened to that of a duck.]
5. Use it wisely.
Never abuse the art of sarcasm. We must balance the circumstances with the situation at hand. Know the difference between want and need. Sure there are some people that need a large wallop of good ol’ sarcasm but we need to consider if the situation at hand is the perfect time to attack. Also, we must balance the depth of what we say.
It would be too redundant to say with great power comes great responsibility so we'll get to the point: Sarcasm is not something you can lash out anytime you feel like it. There must be a delicacy to it: it's like a glass dagger, sharp yet fragile. To use it wisely means to discern when to use it. Now that you know the right way to brandish the sword called sarcasm you must have the discipline to use it. Remember: A king must never use his sword on a fool, lest it make him foolish.
Knowledge is power! With the right use of wit and sarcasm, you can achieve many things: friends, enemies, and a self-esteem boost when you need one. And if it’s not enough, you can always just tell them to “get a life”, that works sometimes too.
Then again, the victims are always resentful.
- Title: The 5 Laws of Sarcasm
- Artist: bebibebi
This was actually a feature I did for the school paper. I know I have MUCH to learn, so haters of all races, come forth!
I really, REALLY need someone to critique this—I need to improve. (For future editorial jobs)
Feel free to express your opinions. I don't bite :>
- Date: 03/24/2012
- Tags: laws sarcasm feature funny article