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Shoot ‘Em Straight

Although it’s peddled by most comics, sarcasm is hardly humorous. In fact, it’s considered the lowest form of humor. Sarcasm is defined as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.”[1]


Bottom line, it’s meant to insult or poke fun at something that’s usually untouchable or inappropriate. Like the court jester poking fun of the king, his court and his subjects, such criticism could only be delivered as a veiled attack that could be denied as merely ‘in jest.’ Royal court is likely the sandbox of the veiled insult.




The center of civilized society looked down upon emotional outbursts or fits of passion and direct conflict. It showed a loss of control or power. So, every strategy or scheme of power created avoids exposing the author’s true intent. If confronted, they can deflect by saying, “oh, I just joking.” It’s sneaky, weak, and deceptive. (Best delivered in a snooty British accent, of course.)


I reject using sarcasm in this cowardly fashion. Times have changed. Fortunately, we live in a land where the freedom of speech is highly regarded. We should come out of the shadows of fear and weakness.


Granted, I’ve dabbled in the use of sarcasm, but I prefer to engage more in satirical humor, which “mocks human weakness or aspects of society.” [2] I make sure my listeners know that I mean what I say. I’m not trying to mask an insult. Rather, I’m making fun of something in order to stigmatize it so as to bring it out of the blind spot of avoidance. Once revealed, it can’t be avoided any longer and hopefully remembered with the word picture I painted. Good examples are the words libtard and conservaturd. Libtard conveys the childlike delusion of those on the left, while conservaturd points out the stuck-ness or psychological constipation on the right.




If you use sarcasm to make a point, then own it. Don’t back out of it. Then, the pointed message won’t have the same insulting sting. Plus, at the very least, people will know where you stand.


In the end, it’s always best to avoid being violent in our language. The old saying, “if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all,” still applies. However, there are those times when sarcasm can be a useful tool of correction and criticism. Use it wisely and sparingly. And, make sure there is no anger present in the delivery. Keep the energy clean; make your point while being funny.


How do you know when its best to use sarcasm or not use it?


When in doubt, t.h.i.n.k. Ask yourself if it is thoughtful, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind. I’m not sure about this last one; whether sarcasm and kindness can coexist. You be the judge.





Erica Rogers