Today I’m moved to write about the practice of sarcasm. It’s come to me for a lot of reasons, frankly most of them have to do with Facebook “status updates” from friends of mine with whom I disagree on a political level. I suppose I’m as guilty as anyone using FB updates as my own personal platform to speak my mind and spew my brand of propaganda. I hope, though, that I’d never cause injury with those words. They are powerful, they are heard. “It’s just Facebook” some of you are saying, I’m sure. Yes, but it’s social media. There is a responsibility there for that I put into the world. It’s still social. It’s not my own personal private journal. It’s not my livingroom. It’s the world’s livingroom.
Specifically, though, the idea of trying to convey a “funny” sarcasm via FB update is a little ridiculous. Take for example, Jon Stewart. Ok, I confess I LOVE Jon Stewart. The man is a freakin comedic genius. What makes his humor work is that the sarcasm and irony he puts out there is wrapped solidly in his vocal inflection and the look on his face. Written down as a status update from someone other than Jon Stewart?? Not so much. It just reads as sour grapes to me. I might be cranky about this. I’m willing to own that possibility.
Ask yourself this though before you indulge in sarcasm through social media, is this sort of speech (as defined below) the kind of thing you want to bring into the world?
-witty language used to convey insults or scorn -It comes from the ancient Greek σαρκάζω (sarkazo) meaning ‘to tear flesh’ -A form of humor that is marked by mocking with irony, sometimes conveyed in speech with vocal over-emphasis. -Saying something that is opposite of what is intended to be meant; expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
Do I REALLY want to “tear flesh” with my words?? I dunno….seems out of line with my profession of faith somehow.
That being said, I love that Jon Stewart to the ends of the earth…I don’t mean to say that I’ll never be sarcastic again or that there won’t be a moment where I’ll find gold in a sarcastic comment. I’m just thinking more about how I speak, where I find humor, what I do and say that causes injury without ever realizing it. I never pretend to have the answers, just good jump off spots for cliff diving questions.