Sarcasm: not appreciated by all

Many of those who know me have at one point fallen victim to my awkward response to a sarcastic remark or joke. I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I don’t respond well to sarcasm.

First, I find it odd how hard it is for others to understand why one would not appreciate the use of sarcasm. One definition for sarcasm is “a cutting remark…intended to wound”. Other words used in defining sarcasm are harsh, bitter, sharp, taunt, contempt, and ridicule. This alone should lead one to reconsider their use of sarcasm, but I digress.

Sarcasm (generally) has at its foundation a piece of truth that can embarrass or have some sort of cutting edge to its “victim”. That truth can be words said that can be interpreted negatively, or unwise acts or words that can make the person appear ignorant or foolish. This truth is then magnified or exaggerated and packaged with a teasing and lighthearted tone of humor. While I recognized its best to just let it roll quickly off your back as a joke, I can’t help but wonder, at least in the back of my mind, where the painful or cutting truth ends, and where the joke begins. That line is blurry and not clearly defined.

The most awkward part of using sarcasm with me comes in my reaction. The joke is met simply with silence and a blank expression, as if saying, “yep, you just said a sarcastic joke…I’m not offended or hurt, but I just don’t appreciate that form of humor and don’t think its funny”. Often, the most appropriate way to respond to a sarcastic remark is to answer back with another sarcastic remark. But I don’t like sarcasm and prefer not to use it…so it ends with an awkward silence…the joker usually baffled as to why I didn’t appreciate or laugh at their incredibly hilarious joke….hence the point of this post.

I don’t think it’s difficult to recognize why a person might not appreciate sarcasm, but it continues to be accepted as a popular form of humor because it’s one of the easiest form for most people to pull off. As a society we place a high value on humor, as I think we should. Since many want to be funny but are insecure with their own comedic talent (or lack thereof), they often rely upon one of the easiest ways to get a laugh, sarcasm.

I don’t feel sarcasm is a huge evil that must be rid from the face of the earth in entirety…I merely which to provide an understanding why it may not be appreciated by others, such as myself. Since I’m too blunt to mask my bias against sarcasm with a courteous smile or laugh…friends may consider this a fair warning for an awkward response to your sarcastic remarks. Oh, and this doesn’t mean you’ll never catch me using sarcasm, but I try not to.

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7 Responses to Sarcasm: not appreciated by all

  1. garrettmyler says:

    Brooklyn: Yes, I like the office.Kate: While it is difficult to describe a facial expression in words…extracting sarcasm out of a blank expression is a stretch.While I’m not a fan of sarcasm, I’m also a firm believer that people choose to be offended…and sometime even look for sarcasm, etc. or tend to interpret things in the worst possible way….regardless of intentions.Also, those who I associate with, when it comes up, are kindly informed (on a one-on-one level) of my preferences regarding sarcasm. I didn’t whip this post out of nowhere to the shock of my close friends. I merely had further developed my own understanding of why I and possibly others don’t appreciate sarcasm thought I’d share.In short, I don’t think putting “lol j/k” at the end of an otherwise hurtful or rude comment instantly transforms that comment into a hilarious joke. I’m the last person to get offended or be over-sensative…I just think sarcasm is (generally) a pretty weak and un-funny form of humor.

  2. Jeff says:

    Brooklyn speaking: Kate i can say i pretty much agree with you on everything you wrote. i have a question for you garrett… do you like ” The Office “

  3. kate says:

    i find your description of your reaction interesting. you said, “The most awkward part of using sarcasm with me comes in my reaction. The joke is met simply with silence and a blank expression, as if saying, ‘yep, you just said a sarcastic joke…I’m not offended or hurt, but I just don’t appreciate that form of humor and don’t think it’s funny’.”i would venture to argue that such a response is, itself, “intended to wound”. it can be argued that such a response can be described as “harsh, bitter, sharp” and perhaps even to “ridicule”, depending on whether or not others are present to witness your reaction.i do not intend to cut you down or invalidate your opinions about the use of sarcasm in our society. (i very much agree that “it continues to be accepted as a popular form of humor because it’s one of the easiest forms for most people to pull off”.) i just wish to point out that each person has their own personality, preferences, and humor. whereas one person does not <>intend to wound<> with his/her sarcasm; another may not <>intend to wound<> with his/her reaction to such sarcasm. a lot can be said for a person who graciously responds to those around him/her and addresses such preferences concerning sarcasm in an appropriate arena: in a personal one-on-one discussion.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Researchers from the American Psychological Association proposed the following as a neural network for processing sarcastic utterances: “Understanding sarcasm requires both the ability to understand the speaker’s belief about the listener’s belief and the ability to identify emotions,” the researchers concluded. Neuropsychology Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association 2005, Vol. 19, No. 3, 288–300Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.– Fyodor Dostoyevsky must check:

    Other then the whole sarcasm thing, I’m sure you have a great sense of humor! (“Sense” being the key word.)p.s. this remark was in no way meant to cut or intended to wound.

  5. Jeff says:

    haha i agree anonymous! you hit the nail on the head

  6. Anonymous says:

    Being a sarcastic person myself I have learned to temper this form of humor for two reasons. The first being I do not wish to offend others. The second being effective sarcasm requires a certain level of wit and intelligence. When people do not respond I tend to assume they are too stupid to understand the joke. Thank you for clarifying.

  7. Jeff says:

    lighten up a bit…

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