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.