Sarcasm has become the primary means of making a point stand out from the herd. It used to be biting satire and witty irony, but sadly, sarcasm seems to have completely overtaken the public discourse. I am just as guilty as the rest, but as with all narcissists with fragile egos, I would like to think that my biting commentary is above the fray. Of course, it is not.
I am not sure where it all started. Maybe it was when Jonathan Swift wrote his first wise ass letter “A Modest Proposal”. That was witty and pointed bit of sarcasm that suggested they could solve the problem of poverty among the Irish by selling their children as food for rich folks. Now that is sarcasm with a nice ethical purpose.
Other great satirists of yesteryear like Twain and Vonnegut had something to say through their words. Like Swift, they could present the wrongs of the day with a twist of humor and irony, allowing even the dullest dim wit to think a little more deeply about their own opinions.
Fast forward to the sarcasm of the 21st century e.g. social media trolling. Someone posts a thought or opinion on Facebook and they get eleventeen replies lambasting their stupidity for even thinking that. This crap even happens among “friends”, wherein you get a long Facebook reply or maybe a text message that rips you a new sphincter, followed almost immediately by the little two word missive “just kidding” or worse yet “LOL”.
There’s a grain of truth behind every joke. Nobody is ever “just kidding” in this humble blogger’s opinion.
In the immortal words of Thumper “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all”