Sarcasm – Old Habits Die Hard

Most who were born and raised in the north east of the USA are familiar with sarcasm.  That was me.  My familiarity was one of hurtful remarks coming from a family member.  I learned the language of sarcasm quite well and it goes hand-in-hand with humor.  The use of this language got me into a lot of trouble growing up, mostly with my mom (who taught me the language).

Here is the dictionary definition of sarcasm – ouch, to say the least:  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sarcasm   When I read the definition I felt horrible.  I never knew it was defined as so cruel.  There are even youtube.com  videos on “How to Be Sarcastic”.  Really people?  I don’t think we need to learn that.

As I grew I tempered it, somewhat.  I married a man raised in Idaho.  There is nothing sarcastic about Idaho.  He still finds my sense of humor a bit intense at times, but we’ve been married for almost forty years.  My children are even better at sarcasm than I am.  And it seems Hollywood has taken it on full force in it’s comedies.  So much so that I find it to be rather cutting at times.

I apologize now to anyone from my past and present that when I have used this language it came across cutting in any way.  My heart never wants to hurt anyone and sometimes, even though our motives are pure, it can cut someone who already has scars.

I moved to the mid-west about five years ago.  Guess what?  Sarcasm is not in the culture here (that was sarcastic).  It could explain why I can’t seem to make very many close friends here.  Every now and then I need a good dose of it to take away my home sickness.  My Cousin Vinny is a film full of north east sarcasm that quickly remedies my need.

The tongue is powerful.  It can be used to curse or bless someone.  I want to bless.  And if I can bless with sarcasm then I will try my best.  Really.  Groucho Marx ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx ) was a man familiar to my childhood.  Very funny.  Very sarcastic.  Here are some of his quotes taken from: http://www.sarcasmsociety.com/sarcastic-quotes.html

No, Groucho is not my real name. I am breaking it in for a friend.Groucho Marx

How do you feel about women’s rights? I like either side of them.Groucho Marx

A child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five.Groucho Marx

Marry me and I’ll never look at another horse!Groucho Marx

If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.Groucho Marx

I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.Groucho Marx

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.Groucho Marx

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.Groucho Marx

I cannot totally give up this language.  It is part of my upbringing but I can temper it.  I’m trying.  My husband does laugh  but when my three sons get together it can be brutal – they do me proud 😉

I’m not sure of my point with this post.  I guess I’m feeling a bit sarcastic and a bit silly today.  I searched all over youtube to find a funny clip of sarcastic humor and walked away with the realization that it can be very cutting.  Two of my favorite, more modern, TV shows that rely heavy on sarcasm are The Gilmore Girls and The Middle.  They make me feel at home.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend (that was said with sincerity).

Maxine

 

cate b

http://www.blogher.com/nablopomo
http://www.blogher.com/nablopomo

 

 
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7 Replies to “Sarcasm – Old Habits Die Hard”

  1. I have to confess that I used to use sarcasm a lot as well – have toned it down a bit now, but still enjoy that kind of humour – I liked your examples from Groucho Marx

  2. I too use sarcasm in my humor from time to time. I am thinking ….do I know anyone who does not. My husband is from Canada and it pops out of his mouth without even thinking. Sometimes I ask him where did that come from cause it comes out of the blue and he shrugs his shoulders and will say I did not even know I was going to say that. Guess to some of us it is second nature but you learn who you can kid and who you should not.

    I have a good friend who is always kidding me about things in a sarcastic way but she knows I will give it back to her so it is just a mutual understanding I guess.

    As long as we temper it with knowing the people we are talking to and being considerate then I see no problem.

    1. I agree. It takes tact and just knowing others. I blame the British -;) they came over here and they’re good at it.
      I hope my friends from the UK know I’m kidding. LOL

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