Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sarcasm

I speak sarcasm fluently.  I've always known this, my friends have always known this, and people I probably don't even know understand this about me.  I've always enjoyed sarcasm.  Recently, I've discovered a few things about sarcasm.

The first is I never really have understood the definition of sarcasm.  I just assumed it was stating the opposite of the truth in such a manner as to imply the truth, if that makes any sense.  That definition is devoid of any particular malice.  But I've found what I just described could simply be irony, and that sarcasm always has an unloving element.  Just for Diane, I'll skip Wikipedia for my first source.  From Merriam Webster
1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
If I may return to Wikipedia for just a moment though, I'd like to look at the word's origin.
The word comes from the Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmos) which is taken from the word σαρκάζειν meaning "to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer "
That doesn't sound very pleasant.  If I'm honest with myself, while I'd like to assume my sarcasm is devoid of any malice, it usually isn't.  How often is it that I drift into sarcasm to prove a point so I can be right?  Or how frequently do I use sarcasm to make others laugh at the expense of another person?  This is no victimless crime - even if I'm mocking something silly we do at work, I'm basically implying the people in charge are morons.  The same people who sign my paycheck...

So what?  Why is this important?  Let's go to another source.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. (Eph 4:15-16 RSV) 
Speaking the truth in love.  That's really rather against the idea of sarcasm, isn't it?

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