I’ve been in a few conversations recently where a lot of arguing and anger broke out because people were trying to be sarcastically funny, but no one got it.
Many of us — me included — tend to use sarcasm as a verbal resource and there’s nothing wrong with that — in conversation. Real conversation. From my mouth to your ears. And it works best when you are talking to someone you know who can tell by your tone of voice that you’re not seriously saying whatever it is you are saying.
May I suggest to everyone if we are talking about serious stuff — especially politics when everyone is edgy anyway — we might speak directly and avoid sarcasm? In online conversations, sarcasm is frequently misunderstood. Instead of humor, it creates anxiety and as often as not, anger. Unless you know the author and are sure he or she is going to “get it,” say what you mean. Leave the irony and sarcasm for personal interchanges with people who really know you and your voice. Until they invent that “sarcasm font” we all urgently need, we will all make more sense to one another if we say what we mean as simply and clearly as we can.
I’m not suggesting you can’t write satiric or sarcastic material — that would take all the fun out of it. More like in comments and especially on places like Facebook where no one knows anyone very well and total strangers can come and poke their noses into your conversation. I hate accidental wars.
There’s a lot of rage going around. None of us are immune to it. That includes me. I try to make sure I understand what someone is trying to say before I flip out, but … we’ve all got tempers. More than a few of us are like loads of emotional dynamite.
Let’s try not to be the ones holding a lit match!