What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The lost art of sarcasm

A long time ago there was a debate if homosexual people should me made to register. It reminded me of the mutant registration act. In the process of debate I made a caustic remark of the likes "All gay people should be tattooed with their own gay id number and put on their own special gay island". That statement is wrong and politically incorrect on so many levels. Not only is it discriminatory, but it uses the holocaust as part of a punch line. As we all know holocaust humor is precarious territory. Thats classic sarcasm though, using something so wrong and precarious to make a statement. Its is a sharp remark that points out how discriminatory the concept of homosexual registration is.

Unfortunately, it also turned out to be a classic case of "lost" sarcasm. Someone actually accused me of being a terrible human being and thought I was actually some anti-gay evangelical. To give due credit to the person it is hard to distinguish sarcasm, especially in an online text only context. Also now that we know that crazy people like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin exist, it is completely plausible that people are actually evil and stupid enough to make comments about gay concentration islands.

The bigger issue with the "lost art of sarcasm" is that somewhere down the line in literary, this noble form of rhetoric has lost its true place and effect. With every Tom, Dick and Harry sporting a "sarcasm" shirt. Yeah, I'm guilty of owning one of those "Sarcasm: Just one of my many services" shirt as well. In my defense years ago sarcasm was not fashion, but the abode of the few Colbert Report viewing, Onion reading intellectual. There was a time sarcasm was for the classes, not like free, cheap, crap of the masses. This invasion of sarcasm by the masses has completely diluted the beauty and effect of sarcasm. Most people have lost the ability to recognize, appreciate and most importantly use sarcasm appropriately. The result is that most people are unable to recognize the difference between sarcasm and just plain rhetoric and actually just plain hate speech.

First and foremost hateful derogatory language is not sarcasm. Sarcasm is caustic, scathing, sharp, bitter and can cut through the soul like a hot knife through butter, but sarcasm is not mindless taunting or spiteful speech. In fact merely spewing hatred is actually just plain bullying or hate speech. You would barely call Sarah Palin a master of sarcastic rhetoric, when she trashes the liberals and democrats. Even when she is funny or cracks a joke on them, its not really sarcasm at all, its pure spite. Vitriol is not sarcasm, nor is sarcasm part of any hateful agenda. Sarcasm is merely a rhetorical means to make a point, to show a fallacy in though or argument in a sharper, effective and more caustic manner.

Secondly sarcasm is of the intellectuals, by the intellectuals, for the intellectuals. Its definitely not for stupid, stupid. Not to be brazenly un-PC but it is a scientifically proven fact that retarded people don't get sarcasm. Let me cite how the brain processes sarcasm from "How Stuff Works"

A 2005 study in Neuropsychology concluded that three areas of the brain are responsible for our understanding of sarcasm: the language cortex in the left hemisphere, the frontal lobes and right hemisphere and the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex. When you hear a sarcastic statement, the language cortex understands its literal meaning. Then the frontal lobes and right hemisphere infer its context. Last, the right ventromedial prefontal cortex put the two together and interprets the statement as sarcasm. 
Stupid people have one or more of these parts damaged in some tragic accident, most likely caused by their own stupidity. More truthfully, they were probably born so retarded that these brain functions never kicked into action. So basically all those claims that its the bodies best defense against stupid is basically just as true as Chuck Norris curing cancer with his tears. In simple terms pure nonsense and gibberish. Using sarcasm against stupid is like trying to hunt bears with a fishing pole. Your best bet is that the bear is stupid enough to choke on the hook, but thats not saying much about you choice of weapons. Even Sarah Palin knows that you hunt bears with big bad guns. So the thing is if you intend to hunt stupid bears just lure them with a honeycomb and blow their brains out with a gun - yeah brute force - its the only thing that causes pain to the stupid because they are too stupid to realize that something can causes other forms pain. 

Sarcasm is best enjoyed by intellectuals making fun of stupid people amidst themselves, knowing completely well that stupid people don't have a clue. In fact true sarcasm is best served in the guise of a deliciously sinful chocolate desserts on a silver platter.  Take Stephen Colbert the fake conservative pundit for example. The man is such a brilliant genius that he even has conservative pundits fooled that he is one of them. George W. Bush was so enamored by Colbert's conservative punditry and truthiness that he invited him to speak at the Republican National Convention. An event that made fans squeal with glee at the far reaching effects of his sarcasm. At its best sarcasm is like a ninja in the dark, a sexy suave secret agent who can infiltrate any ranks of stupid to serve delights galore to the upper intellectuals. If skin tone was not an issue I would have loved to infiltrate the ranks of Neo Nazis with my gay branding idea. Right now I am hoping to infiltrate the tea party with my radical ideas that "Homosexuality caused the recession".

Finally a noble art ought to be used for noble causes. Look at the rich heritage of sarcasm proponents - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mark Twain, Geoffry Chaucer, Groucho Marx, Isaac Asimov and George Bernard Shaw. All great iconic intellectuals. Even if you look at the modern proponents like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey. Think of Jonathan Swiftss 'Modest Proposal' or Voltaire's 'Candide'. When you choose to make sarcasm a lifestyle, you are choosing to follow in the footsteps of some very great people in this world. You simply cannot afford to use it cheaply and freely for the wrong frivolous reasons.

These people made a difference. Sarcasm is a form of rhetoric, that is a form of persuasive argument. When you use sarcasm, you don't just want a few laughs from your peers, you want to make an impact, make a difference. Humor can go a long way in making a point. Take mock organizations like Billionaires for Bush or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster. They use humor to make a point, to try and influence something significant and important. One critiques government policies and the other critiques creationism. Neither organization is anti-something (Bush or religion). Neither organization is about 'stupid people'. They use sharp wit and sarcasm to show fallacies in other schools of thought, to get the rational thinking people banded together to think rationally and responsibly.

If there is one thing that anyone who even remotely considers themselves sarcastic is to pay due homage to the sarcastic greats of yore.

Sarcasm is not hate speech or bullying, but scintillating effective arguments against fallacies
Sarcasm is not about defeating or pandering to stupid people, but about intellectuals and their thoughts
Sarcasm does not cater to nonsensical stupid things (thats what Jackass is for), but its for doing better things.

Let the true sarcastic people unite and restore sarcasm to its true place in the world.


Nidheya said...

A brilliant article! I found your blog via IF...just love this article!

I am taking a lil excerpt from it for a comment on the site, I hope you don't mind!


return_to_hades said...

Thanks Nidheya, I don't mind. Although, I'd love to know where you will be posting the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Colbert is sarcasm for the trailer park. You were on the right track, but sadly, if you assign brilliance to Colbert, you still don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Unclear. Where have people used sarcasm inappropriately? You've given only cases where they haven't used it.

That being said, there are far more ways to make your point effectively. I think whether sarcasm is good or not is simply a matter of a taste. I, for one, can recongize sarcasm anyday, but it's one of the most rude and arrogant ways of conversing I've ever known about. Or maybe that's just when it's used for the purposes of bullying...