Friday, February 24, 2006
Sarcasm for Dummies
Awkward situation: You wish someone ill. Or wish them dead.
Do not: Say so explicitly. You might be banned from protesting at the zoo. Or you might get arrested.
Instead: Master the art of sarcasm! In a chat-room posting labeled "For Pete Hoskins," who's director of the Philadelphia Zoo, animal activist Marianne Bessey wished him "nightmares about [isolated elephant] Dulary every night until you die, which should be very soon." Uh-oh. This could be misconstrued as sounding malicious, even menacing! So let's backspace a bit and consider saracastic alternatives, such as:
"... joy on a level experienced only at a Terrell Owens grievance procedure."
"... all the safety and security of being Britney Spears' baby."
"... a thriving career that lasts as long as that foolproof Dubai ports deal."
She also wrote: "Maybe you should be kept in a concrete closet for six months to hasten your demise." Again, let's edit in a bit more obvious insincerity:
"... to hasten your enlightenment."
"... to hasten your being lost in the quagmire that is the Medicare drug plan."
"... to hasten your eagerness to go quail hunting with the Vice President."
See? If you don't say what you mean, or mean what you say, folks are less likely to think you're mean. You are totally right about one thing, though: No reason to apologize. And I mean that just as deeply in my heart as when I said, "I'm glad those Nebraskans won that record $365 million Powerball jackpot, not me."
Do you need sarcasm advice, too? Post your plea here, and I'll try to help.