Monday, December 8, 2014

Can We Chill With the Sarcasm?

I'm so sarcastic that nobody knows when I'm being serious. I've actually been asked, several times, if I was being serious, when I thought that it was wildly clear that I was being sarcastic. Normally if something like this were to happen, I'd assume that the person I was speaking to was a simpleton. However, I'm so frequently sarcastic that I don't even know if I'm being serious on occasion.

This is getting a little out of hand. And it's not just me. The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and someone on my friend list had responded to someone's (this person was not on my friend list, and I don't know them) post about getting into a car accident. Now, personally, the only reason that I would mention being in a car accident on Facebook is if I wanted to keep my family informed about it for some reason, but even then probably not, because I'd probably just have contacted them by some other means. But regardless, this person had said something to the effect of, "Just got T-boned and totaled my car...not what I planned on doing when I woke up this morning!! :(" For some reason, that statement really rubbed me the wrong way. Good lord! Why is it necessary to be snarky about a major car accident in which people could have been seriously hurt? But when I thought about it, it definitely isn't outside of the realm of possibility that I, too, would be snarky in a similar situation.

The world today is dramatically different than it was when I was growing up. Because every thought that goes through a person's mind can be (and usually is) displayed publicly and everything that everyone posts (well, most everyone) is edited carefully and thought through ten times over, there's this huge pressure to be on all the time. No matter what we're saying, everything needs to be either entertaining, clever, or ridiculously poignant, lest you be mocked (at least in your own mind) by everyone you know. One of the easiest defense mechanisms to neutralize pretty much anything that you have to say is sarcasm. By injecting a little sarcasm, you can make whatever you're saying seem nonchalant and witty. But being snarky and sarcastic has become so commonplace that it's invalidating actual conversation, and it's starting to make everything we say meaningless. There's a time and a place for sarcasm and certainly for snark, but let's reel it in a bit.

Here's an idea. If we're about to say something and fear that it's too boring, let's not say it. 80% of the crap we say online doesn't need to be said. Honestly, unless you're a master of the sarcastic arts, making your boring statement sarcastic isn't going to make it less boring. And if we're nervous that saying something straightforward is going to bring about judgement, let's grow a pair and just say it. And please understand, I'm not trying to be condescending with my use of 'let's' - like I said, I'm probably more guilty of this stuff than anyone else. Let's bring back real conversation and make actually powerful statements. Let's redeem our generation.

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