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The Trouble with Sarcasm
I don’t hang out with people who are sarcastic. I hate that trait. It’s a deal breaker for me.

Hanging out with someone who is sarcastic is like tap dancing in a mind field. You never know when they are going to go off or why. Like landmines, the triggers of sarcasm lie hidden out of sight, usually deep within the psyche of the verbal bully we will hereafter refer to as the "Sarcasshole".

Sarcasm is defined as, “A cutting, often ironic, remark intended to wound. It is a form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.” It can be turned outward and used against another or turned inward and used against one’s Self.

Sarcasm is the epitome of passive-aggression. It is by its nature provocative. Like poking someone with a stick, or waving a flag, the sarcasshole provokes with their words. Failure to respond to their verbal jabs may be met with even more ridicule, more sarcasm. Oddly the mocking contempt of sarcasm makes one feel alternately like you “should” respond, silly if you “didn’t” respond, sorry if you “do” respond. The victim cannot win.

Sarcasm can be both witty and intelligent; that’s what makes it so brutal. You can bet your ass that the sarcasshole MEANT to hurt you. Sarcasm is a craft honed by the wordsmith; it does not happen by accident. It is a tool, wielded with deliberation – like a knife or a gun. Rest assured, if you are plagued by a sarcasshole, they know what they are doing. Sarcasm has to have a fall guy to even exist. If you are in the same room as a sarcasshole, you could end up the fall guy. That’s just the risk. A hunter is not a hunter without prey.

You cannot be unguarded, you cannot feel safe, around a sarcasshole. Because you aren’t safe. Know that.

Sarcasm exists on both the verbal and the non-verbal plane. In addition to witty, ironic, cutting remarks, the sarcasshole rolls their eyes, clucks, sneers, sighs, shakes their head and laughs under their breath. It’s infuriating. For the born again human who wants to relinquish their sarcastic bully, this non-verbal feedback must also be addressed.

Because here’s the deal: Sarcasm is hurtful and causes permanent damage. Directed at others, it hurts Others; directed at one’s Self, it hurts one’s Self.

Sarcasm springs from a pessimistic hopelessness of spirit. It is the by-product of a judgmental nature. It is both “Outlook” and “Habit”. The Sarcasshole can change their outlook, but they must first change their judgmental habits. If you want to release sarcasm you must recognize this. If you want to release someone who is sarcastic, you must recognize this.

How to Release Sarcasm from your Life

Sarcasm is a behavior and behaviors can be changed. This behavior is rooted in judgmentality. Sarcasm is judgment, poisoned by anger, brought to life by action (e.g., giving voice to harmful thoughts). Sarcasm is verbally acting on anger. If you are a sarcastic person, you must stop judging and start Observing. You must learn to observe without acting.

If you are a sarcastic person…Stop. Period. See your pattern and stop it. It is not serving you. It is not serving the world. Stop it. Stop it now.

When you find yourself in judgment of others, remember this: "We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves." Stop looking outward and start looking inward. Ask yourself, "Why am I choosing this?" Resenting another for not being what you want does no good and mires you down so you can't move forward. Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. If this other person is not what you want or need, ask yourself, “Why did I choose them?” If a relationship (be it friendship or otherwise) is not serving you, cut it loose. Don't torture them. Don't torture your Self. Not only are you making others feel bad; you’re making your Self feel bad. Sarcassholes often recognize their meanspiritedness but they rationalize it away. Do not do this. Recognize your own motivations and do something about your situation.

If you are hanging with people who drain you, Stop. Don’t ridicule them. What does that serve? Do you think they are learning a lesson from your ridicule? Probably they are...but I bet it's not the one you're trying to teach!

Remember that you have a choice every time you speak. Try weighing everything you say, by this measure:

Before I speak, let me ask myself first,
Is this True?
Is this Kind?
Is this Necessary?

If the answer to any of those questions is "No", then leave that thing unsaid.
And if something is True and is Necessary, then it must be said. Find a way to say it Kindly.

Replace your toxic old habit with a healing new habit.

It’s up to You. Own your own space. Own your own time. Invest it wisely. You define how people treat you. You set boundaries. You choose who you grace with your presence. Only you. If you allow people in your presence when they behave disgracefully, you are reinforcing a behavior that not only does not serve you, it does not serve them, it does not serve the world. You are as responsible as your abuser. Own it. People treat you the way you allow yourself to be treated. Or, put another way, the way people treat you is the outer reflection of your inner self-worth. Change it by changing your Self.

Your life is your Art.

Fill your painting with beautiful, kind, loving people. People who exhibit mean behaviors must be cut loose for their own good and for yours. To allow them to mistreat you is to reward their bad behavior and virtually guarantee that it will stay the same or get worse. You are training them that bad behavior is okay.

Alternately, to the Sarcassholes of the world, by exhibiting bad behavior, you normalize that bad behavior. You create a world that no one can feel safe in, especially you. You are the least safe of anyone in that world – because it’s impossible to get away from your Self.

You must stop the dance. You are an equal partner in this dance of action/reaction. Once you change your steps, once you change either your action or your reaction, the dance cannot go on as it did before.

It is okay to feel anger. It is not okay to act in anger. Not to speak it. Not to type it. Not to act on it in any way. Do not go there. Divert, divert, divert yourself. I am not saying push it down in your gut and let it eat at you; I am saying divert your attention until that anger naturally diminishes with time, which it will, if you will only stop fueling it with your obsessive thoughts.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

It is not necessary to speak aloud everything you think. Between honesty and duplicity lies silence. As you begin to change this toxic habit, I encourage you to walk the middle path. Choose silence. Your cutting words are not averting any crises. They create crises.

Set Boundaries that Protect your Self

We have not only the right but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us. Setting boundaries teaches us to be discerning in our choices, to ask for what we need, and to be assertive and loving in meeting those needs. Remember, the only person you walk the path with, the entire path from birth to death, is You. Be a good traveling companion to your Self.

The first step to setting boundaries is to become aware of what healthy and acceptable interactions look like. First recognize them in others and then you can begin to practice them yourself. Look around you for shining examples. Learn from people who have the kinds of relationships you desire. Seek out folks who lift each other up instead of put each other down. Learn to treat your friends as you treat your art -- placing them always in the best light. Learn to treat your Self this way too!

The second step is to learn to detach from your own reactive process. Release the need to judge and blame. Start to see the difference between the Being and the Behavior. We are all more than our behavior at a single point in time. Learn to observe the behavior without judging the person (even if the person is your Self). Judgment is saying, "That person is a jerk." Observation is saying, "That person seems really full of anger. It would probably be better for me to not get involved here."

Negotiating New Behaviors

Setting boundaries is vital to all healthy relationships. When you decide that you want to save a relationship but change a behavior, it is imperative that you communicate how the behavior affects you without blaming. There is a simple formula for this. Here it is:

1. "When you . . ." (insert concrete behavior here – for example, instead of saying "get angry", specify the behavior that indicated anger, "raise your voice" or “roll your eyes”)

2. "I feel . . ." (own your feelings. Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. These are your feelings. Own up to them. Express your feelings in a healthy and honest way.)

3. "I want . . ." (again, specific – not "you to love me" but "you to tell me that you love me before you leave for work" or “for you to sit quietly and listen to me without using sarcasm -- either verbally or non-verbally")

(And this last part you may say only to yourself...)

4. "And since I am powerless over you, if you continue this behavior, I will take the following action to protect myself..." Often it is not necessary, or even appropriate, to share this potential future action, but it is essential to know it in Your heart and stick to it in Your behavior.

And recognize this: Just because you stop dancing, doesn't mean your partner will. In fact, they will probably dance all the harder, at least at first, to try to bring you back into the established routine. Therefore, it is not enough just to set boundaries; you must be willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them. Therefore, it is very important to set consequences that you are willing to enforce. For example, if you are setting boundaries in a relationship, and you are not yet ready to leave the relationship, don't say that you are! This is not True, it is not Kind, it is not Necessary. You can say that you will start considering your options, including leaving, but do not state that you will do something that you are not ready to do.

In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments;
there are consequences.

Boundaries define our territory and protect our physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual, financial, etc. space. We set boundaries to protect and take care of our Self. We set boundaries knowing that the other person may not be able or willing to change their behavior -- therefore we must be prepared to take whatever actions need to be taken to protect our Self.

Remember, we are striving for healthy interdependent relationships. We want friends who are allies. Well, with all alliances, it is necessary to negotiate boundaries. "Here is what I am willing to do, and here is what I need from you." If we want to enjoy smooth travels with those who share our journey, it is necessary to communicate, share feelings and negotiate agreements about behavior. By setting boundaries, we are communicating who we are and what we need. It is much more effective to do that directly and honestly than to expect others to read our minds - and then punish them when they cannot.

posted by c -- on Mar 02, 2005 12:40PM

Ok.....wait......are you serious? I mean seriously serious. Take it a notch down a second and lets chit chat about this on my lower level for a minute. I read almost everything on this site. I visit it at least 5 days a week. Ive read numerous posts, specifically the majority of yours...and tho I havent always agreed youve always made very good points. Again this is no different...and I certainly have already aknowledged the fact that you most certainly wont change your opinion, as neither will I. However this is one of the few times i feel obliged to reply to one of your ideas. I guess I just dont understand where youre entirely coming from. Though that was alot to read through with alot of description and fancy thought provoking sentences, I guess I just dont know what instance in your life scarred you so deeply to make you say "I don’t hang out with people who are sarcastic. I hate that trait. It’s a deal breaker for me." And then to continue preaching why people such as myself could be compared the part of the human body that opens to let out our fecal matter..and stinky gas! Or is it simply that your view of the ideal world is something like a cross between strawberry shortcake and rainbowbright? Everyone happy, smiling, wearing colorful tutus balarina dancing from table to table as they pour each other hot apple spice tea and eat crumpets with raspberry jam and cream, laughing merrily in bliss with one another... Well wait a minute though...what about the people who think that world is kinda girly, a little gay, and kinda sucks.... What about those of us that like to laugh??? Now before we all get high and mighty and start spewing treat each other with respect comments...I fully and completely agree that finding a poor soul(s) who obviously wants to be left alone, and getting many people to laugh at him, her or them for being the butt of a sarcastic comment, is unnecessary. Its something I admit I have done myself...and something that in most cases I felt wrong for after, and I have learned from, and keep learning from. AGAIN HOWEVER....this doesnt mean that I feel I couldnt be witty with someone I know wouldnt be hurt by my comments and also knows if its a negative comment that im not serious. Someone I can make laugh...and someone who can also throw a good sarcastic comment in my direction as well. Because if one can dish it should be able to take it as well. And I dont see whats wrong with that...I dont see whats wrong with being able to laugh with some good understanding friends who truly know you, and be a sarcasshole...or perhaps rather witty, depending on the circumstance. I think maybe people who dont like sarcastic people are jelous because they dont know how to be as witty and make people laugh that way...but thats just speculation, and im sure its not true especially in your case... So again I ask you....what hurt you so deeply?
posted by StU aRt on Mar 02, 2005 03:13PM

Stuart, I'm not hurt. I'm exasperated.

We are living in a world where people bandy about sarcastically, hitting each other with their words, using sarcasm as a weapon, and then throwing up their hands and saying, "Whuuuh!?!" all innocent like when you call them on it. One has only to watch shows like Bill O'Reilly, Crossfire, hell, pretty much anything, to see sarcasm weilded like a weapon. It's in the classroom, it's in the workplace, it's everywhere. I think sarcasm is growing in popularity and I think it's because mean-spiritedness is growing in popularity.

I say it's time we stop hitting with our words. I say it's time we called a spade a spade. Sarcasm is destructive. It hurts people. We are better off without it.

So I wrote this article to help people cut it out of their lives. I hope people will read it and see the destructive nature of it. Why would we tear each other down when we can lift each other up? There are tons of ways to weild humor where you don't have to make someone the butt of a joke.

And then there are the people being verbally bullied by sarcastic people. I have a friend in this position now. I wrote this for her too. We do not have to just take this behavior because it's followed by a giggle. In fact, it's a real cop-out to just take it. It encourages the verbal abuser to keep testing their boundaries.

So this article served three purposes for me:
1. Help people recognize the destructive nature of this form of humor.
2. Help people change thier own behavior.
3. Help people on the receiving end, modify other people's behavior if that behavior is hurting their relationship.

If this does even one of those things for one person, I will be content.

Oh, and I shared it with the folks here because I like you...not because I find anyone here sarcastic. In fact, it's one of the reasons I come here. You're my freinds. Even so, I thought one or two of you might run into this sometimes.

Just something to think about...

posted by c -- on Mar 02, 2005 05:18PM

I love sarcasm. I could be called a sarcastic person, or, in the parlance of our times (at least as it pertains to this conversation) a sarcasshole. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed Carolyn, that I use it fairly regularly, especially in political discourse. Just ask Jason.

A few thoughts on this topic because we’re so diametrically opposed on the value of this brand of humor, and because it made me think about my use of it. I hope you, Carolyn, don’t take this as a malicious attack, if it were I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to write as much. I just disagree on a few points, one being that you seem have a somewhat biased view of sarcasm, partly due to the definition you’ve chosen to use. Or perhaps you have your definition because of the bias, I don’t know how it worked when you were researching. Your definition has the “intent to wound” part, but my American Heritage (I know, I know, shoulda used Websters) definition doesn’t. That’s like defining “knife” as “a cutting tool used to kill people.” Perhaps some people use a knife to kill people, but the vast majority of people don’t. It might be tempting to have the “kill people” part because you only hear about knives when they are used to inflict damage, but how many knives are out there that haven’t been used to kill people. Same with sarcasm: Sarcasm is a literary device, a tool if you will, and it has its uses just like any other such device, be it some subtle self-deprecating humor or an extended blunt force invective (your article is a prime example of that). It is NOT always used to harm the person you’re talking with. There are many targets floating around out there, prime candidates for a sarcastic remark in conversation. As for clucks, sneers, et al, KNOW THIS: Only the inept “sarcasshole” (inventive wordplay is another tool of the masterful wordsmith, by the way) would do such a thing. A sarcastic master uses sarcasm sparingly. As with everything, subtlety is key. So is the art of the deadpan.

A note on the judgmental nature of humanity. First, I’m with Stu. I think it’s a beautiful irony that someone writing the word “sarcasshole” follows it up with an admonition to refrain from judgments. Prime territory for a sarcastic remark, though I’ll forego the opportunity just this once due to the subject matter and the obvious bias against them. Such a label is inherently judgmental and displays the bias against sarcasm by imputing it to the whole of the person using the sarcasm. It’s interesting that an article that attempts to display a progressive mindset overall, would employ such an obviously regressive tactic. Taking a page from the republican think tank that came up with “tax relief,” perhaps? (That sarcastic remark was, by the way, aimed at republican think tanks, as much as the tactic you used, not at YOU personally, Carolyn.) This obvious disparity in tactic and message presents a testament on the nature of humanity as powerful as any of the substantive matter of the article, we all have the capacity for mean-spiritedness, and its obviously not something that’s easy to turn off, even consciously. It’s going to take more than just asking yourself three quick and easy questions about your motives. Sorry Carolyn, that’s just what I think. The basic judgmental tenor also demonstrates that we all have the capacity for being judgmental, which today is considered bad because it’s wrapped around all those words like discrimination, bias, stereotype, etc, etc. I think this is unfortunate. Everyone knows judgment is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to live. Why then is being judgmental so damn bad? Everyone discriminates everyday, from choosing Wheaties over Trix, to liking one person more than another. It’s called friendship. Why not be friends with everyone? Because 1) you can’t there are too many, 2) you aren’t compatible with everyone, and 3) it’s not normal. Plus a few more, you get the drift though. Judgment, you do it, I do it, just make sure you have the good kind as opposed to the bad kind, whatever that is. But don’t knock it, it’s like knocking air or water.

Secondly, since I mentioned motives, one must discern a difference between sarcasm that’s intended to illustrate the dissonance or outright stupidity of a thought or concept and one that’s intended solely to hurt a person regardless of the value of the thought. Such as here: I respect Carolyn’s abilities and her forthrightness, however I thoroughly disagree that sarcasm is inherently evil. I’m not even conviced that the darker emotions and thought processes lurking around sarcasm are inherently evil. Lao Tzu counseled using darkness to spread light; sarcasm can serve the absolutely necessary purpose of showing where the shadows lie, putting things (warts, to use a metaphorical example) in high relief. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it could be argued that it is necessary. The problem lies not in sarcasm or the use thereof, but in the fact that people seem to have come to a point where they interpret an attack on a concept, formerly known as academic discourse, as an attack on the person. It’s the difference between being the “prey” and being the student. Much as a hunter can’t hunt without prey (aptly put, by the way), a teacher can’t teach without a student. If you’re getting offended, perhaps you’re approaching a conversation thinking too much about yourself and your life as art and too little about your conversation as art. After all, the Art of Conversation is integral to the Art of Life, and a little mental jousting never hurt anyone, even if it gets a bit acrimonious at times.

Third, and finally, since we’re talking about being hurt, I have a few words on this concept of “safety” and “Self-Protection.” We, as modernized and overly sated, overly comfortable, and overly protected creatures, have a skewed view of what harm is and what we need to be protected from. Sarcasm hurts; sarcasm leaves permanent damage. OK maybe, but it wouldn’t leave as much permanent damage as that Grizzly bear I met in Yellowstone a couple years back might have. Or that moose that strayed into my yard that one time. You may think that I’m making on a comment on physical trauma versus psychological trauma, one being more important than others. I’m not. I fully agree that some kinds of psychological trauma can cause lasting damage, I just think that being cushy Americans we don’t realize the difference between being damaged and being shaped into the person we are. Sometimes it hurts to grow. However that’s a secondary point. I’m suggesting that in the absence of real danger requiring real protection, we see monsters everywhere and make mountains out of molehills. We feel we need to be protected from everything including the clichéd McDonald’s coffee. So do we REALLY need to be protected from human interaction also? Should we really enter a room thinking, “That Sarcasshole in the corner is hunting me, going to prey on me and scar me for life…”? What if that guy is the smartest guy in the room and could teach you a few things about being on the planet? Plato’s one of my favorite examples of this, everyone thought Socrates (because Socrates was the main character, Plato was the author) was a big asshole and was just messing with them when he argued, twisting words and ideas to make them look bad. However, Socrates was the smartest guy in the room, and those who cared to listen invariably learned something, while the ones who didn’t walked away mad, hurt, and scarred for life, fading farther into obscurity with every step they took. There’s a lesson to be learned there, I think.

Reading your article, Carolyn, I don’t think you actually hate sarcasm, you seem to hate people who use sarcasm in a vindictive or malicious way, that is, specifically to attack the person they’re talking to. So you hate malice, not sarcasm – that whole mens rea thing. It must be recognized, however, that any kind of hate of anything or any genre (for lack of a better word) of people, is related to malice in a subtle way. Sort of on par with the pot calling the kettle black. Its difficult to attain perfect purity in these matters; even the cowboy that wears the white hat kills people with black hats. So even the best intentions, as yours obviously were in writing a positive and self-affirmative article, could be seen as being “tainted” with undesirable qualities – not all good, not all bad. Such is often the case with people that use sarcastic comments (myself included) – not all good, not all bad – but should you write off a sarcastic person that is otherwise predominantly good? If so, does that act jibe with the spirit of what you’re trying to say, or does it corrupt it?

I think there’s a duality to your article. Somehow you’re caught between two viewpoints, anger and peacefulness and they don’t fully resolve in the end. You are angry at sarcastic responses denoting malice, and you seek peace from them. You suggest eliminating the things you hate to find peace, but then you still hate them and therefore you never truly do find peace. Catch 22. Perhaps there is some level of acceptance that needs to occur if a person really hates sarcasm instead of cutting people out. As Stu suggested, learn to appreciate it. Accept the world and it’ll accept you. Besides, as Stu also pointed out, sometimes insulting the hell out of each other with a sarcastic friend can be a hell of a lot of fun. (Stu! I agree with you! Finally!! You should try to be right more often.)

posted by Clint Phipps on Mar 03, 2005 12:21AM

Clint, Stu, I thank both of you for taking the time to thoughtfully respond to my article. The irony of my coining a term like “sarcasshole” is not lost on me. As I say, I am exasperated.

I wrote this article on the tail of researching the topic of verbal abuse--a HUGE problem in this country and in others.

Sarcasm is not inherently evil. Sadly many people make themselves the brunt of it rather than heap it on others. And some people use it for effect. But the sarcasshole uses it to wound, uses it with deliberation.

I am a writer with an interest in psychology and an interest in the English language. I want to draw attention to the truth about sarcasm -- that it is, in fact, passive aggression -- and I want to help people eliminate that from their lives -- whether they are the verbal abuser or the verbally abused. I would like to help eliminate it from our larger society as well. It is not good for our community. We are better off without ridicule.

I think we are waaaaay too slack about taking responsibility for our language. We hurt others by using sarcasm. We say things like, "No Problem" instead of "You're welcome." We say, "Not Bad" instead of "Good". Some people even say, "It didn't suck." What is up with that!?! Why would we say such a thing?

Verbal abuse is a huge problem in our country. It was even presented live for our entertainment pleasure on a reality show recently. The Great Race 6 had a husband/wife team in which the husband verbally abused his wife all across the world for nine episodes. No one said much about it, though, until he actually pushed her down on television. He had been verbally abusing her for the edification of the American viewing audeince for weeks and no one said a word. We must stop waiting until verbal abuse escalates to physical abuse before addressing it. We must address it at the earliest signs of contempt and ridicule. Many, many times contempt manifests early on in the form of sarcasm.

Another important point to realize is that the use of sarcasm, ridicule and contempt in relationships has been found to be directly proportional to relationship failure. Couples who treat each other respectfully can often work out their problems; couples who do not fight fair, can not. I think it's because sarcasm denotes a lack of respect, and lack of respect makes it very hard to save any relationship.

Sarcasm does not serve us -- not individually and not as a community.

Word do wound. They may not be grizzly bears but they can leave permanent scars – especially in children, who have very little understanding of the subtleties of language.

I don’t agree that insulting friends is fun but perhaps that’s just a difference in our sensibilities. But joking with friends is different than being a verbal bully. Frankly, I don’t think sarcassholes are really our friends. I think we’re their punching bags. You’re right; I think that sarcasm is a tool, and that tool can be used to injure. I tried to be very clear about that. And I think that people who live in that headspace, wielding their words with malicious deliberation, are sarcassholes…but I do not believe that they are beyond recovery. I, myself, have come a long way in releasing sarcasm from my own behavior though OBVIOUSLY I have a long way to go -- especially when I am angry. See what I meant about anger made visible?

Emily Post once wrote, “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” To use sarcasm with any regularity, one must release caring for the feelings of others.

Yes, there is a duality in my article. The world is full of dualities. To be clear, though, I think that sarcasm is a tool and I think that it is greatly overused in our society. I think we are better off without it. Period.

I understand if you feel differently though...

posted by c -- on Mar 03, 2005 01:43AM

yer right....I guess im truly just happier in my dennis leary twisted transformer GI joe world, than bouncing around in the pink fluffy clouds with mary poppins rainbow bright and the care bears, and maybe thats just good...maybe thats just fine. Maybe thats where im meant to be and where youre meant to why ya gotta run rampant with your prohibition signs and take the dennis out of my heaven??? I mean im not gonna start preaching about the over gooeyness of funshine bear and sprinkle sprite, and that we all might melt into slops of vanilla and chocolate pudding...because if thats your thing....I say goo-away! Just dont start a tussle this way unless youre ready to put on the sumo gear....accept or ignore...'cause dennis leary would kick the sarcasshole right out of mz mary poppins!
However to comment on what you said about the great race and the couple with the rude male...I will admit I have not watched the great race, but I have sampled a couple other reality shows. I do know quite a number of people who had seen the great race. And I cant think of any one of them that liked that couple, and especially that man. They felt bad for the wife, and all wanted her to stick up for herself, tho im sure alot of us know that most unfortunately in alot of abusive relationships like that the woman tends not to, but I digress. My point is people did not like him. And perhaps thats exactly why he or they were chosen for the show in the first place. Almost every story, every show has a bad guy. And im sure I dont have to delve into the why. So perhaps he was actually perfect....perfect for exactly why he was there in the first place. And this is just hypothetical, but maybe hes not even that bad of a guy....I cant say much because I havent seen it and im probably assuming too much...hes probably really just an ass. BUT just like im sure most celebrities can tell you as well as poloticicans, and almost anyone in the lime light cameras, movies, news, tv, only shows you what the person controlling them wants you to see...whats hot...whats gonna get the ratings....whats gonna give em the cash. So maybe hes really just an alright guy, perhaps he got a lil hot headed and axcited infront of a camera with his 15 minutes of fame...but maaaaybe overall hes a good guy, and the editors of the program decided to show you their interpretation of his character. Like I said thats all assumption but something that shouldnt go un-accounted for....personally I lean to the every show needs a bad guy explanation.
posted by StU aRt on Mar 03, 2005 10:18AM

Remember how that crystalline entity on Star Trek Next Generation described humans as “ugly bags of mostly water”? Well, it was mostly right. Maybe not the ugly part but human beings are mostly water. Up to 65 percent of the human body is composed of water. The brain is 70 percent water, blood is 82 percent water and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water.

Water, being both a receptive and fluid element, ripples in the presence of even the smallest movement. The tiniest vibration is carried on, in and upon water.

Every thought, feeling and belief you have -- every thought, feeling and belief you have EVER had -- creates a vibration you carry within you, in your body, in your energy field and in your vibe for a long, long time. Don’t think feelings have vibration? Recall a time when someone looked at you with great anger. Did it make you step back? Did you feel it “radiating off them”? Did you feel them looking and turn to find their gaze upon you? And thought... How many times have you phoned someone only to hear them exclaim, “Hey! I was just thinking of you!” And, Belief, especially, has a very strong vibration. Belief is both thought and feeling. It’s the double-whammy. When you believe something, you vibrate with it. And the stronger you believe something, the more you vibrate.

We shiver, we shake, we squint, we grimace, we pulse, we throb, we vibrate.
We walk, we run, we dance, we climb, we jostle, we move, we vibrate.
Our heart speeds up, our heart slows down and we vibrate according to each.
Sometimes our pulse ebbs and flows until we feel the pound of inner waves in our very fingertips.
We vibrate.

What is happening within us creates what happens outside of us.

And because we vibrate with our rhythms of thoughts, feelings and beliefs – both old and new – it’s just like Faulkner once said, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” The past still vibrates within us.

But the past and the future are not fixed things -- they are only probabilities based on our linear concept of time. From the present we can certainly choose to experience the past differently, to remember different parts with more or less intensity. By our selective experience of the past we actually change the reality of that past. And we always have the option of creating the future that we want by changing our actions in the present. The present is the whole that contains both our past and our future.

Now, the Law of Attraction states that “like attracts like”. What you put out is what you get back. This ripple, if you will, begins at the Center of you. You decide what you put out. You decide what you get back.

Create ripples that say, “Live Out Loud!” “Achieve your potential!” “Enjoy Being!” “Life is Good!”
Radiate peaceful, loving, joyous, happy, healing vibes.
Put forth kind, compassionate, positive, courageous, supportive encouragement.
Enthusiastically care for others and keep them safe ...
and you will have these things also.

Or, you can hit with your chi, your vibe, your energy and your words.

Either way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy in every way – physical, quantum physical, psychological, theological, behavioral and spiritual.

Each of us had the power to transform our lives.

Consciously or unconsciously, we design our destiny.

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin

posted by c -- on Mar 04, 2005 03:07AM

Lots o words.
posted by Tim - on Mar 07, 2005 07:36AM

"Remember how that crystalline entity on Star Trek Next Generation described humans as “ugly bags of mostly water”?"

C--, are you refering to "Q"?

posted by -- on Mar 11, 2005 04:46PM

Speaking of vibrations --- Anbody ever played bass in a band standing a foot and a half in front of a 1600 watt bass cab cranked to 11 - so loud you have to feel what you're playing?
posted by Clint Phipps on Mar 12, 2005 02:38AM

That Next Generation quote is in reference to the episode "Home Soil" where a microscopic life-form on a planet undergoing terraforming declared war on humans, threatening to destroy the Enterprise in the process. They described humans as "Ugly Bags of Mostly Water". Other than the "Ugly" part, they were pretty much right.
posted by c -- on Mar 15, 2005 03:02PM

Hi, I found this discussion on sarcasm really interesting. I'm currently writing (or at least preparing to write) an MA on sarcasm and how it is seperate from irony. The problem is that sarcasm is often defined as hurtful irony and irony - as light sarcasm. I know this is of no interest for you but I was hoping you could help me by saying a bit more. Could you give me some real life examples of sarcasm? What do you think is more hurtful: 1."thanks a lot!" - said when someone does something wrong 2."what a great party!" said unsincerely? or 3."Oh, you always tell the truth do you? so when you told Tom you were 35 you were telling the truth too?". Do you think sarcasm is always hurtful? I mean, it is often used to convey indirect criticizm, where literal blame could wound more. I would be really greatful for a reply and would like to use what I found here in my paper, maybe even quote some lines.
posted by Ania M. on Apr 08, 2005 05:06AM

Thanks Carolyn. It sounded like something "Q" might have said.
posted by -- on Apr 10, 2005 08:08PM

I think Q would have been more sarcastic...
posted by StU aRt on Apr 11, 2005 09:12PM

To me, the difference between irony and sarcasm is that sarcasm is irony used with intension - and often the intention is to wound. Irony, on the other hand, often occurs without the knowledge or direct participation of the person who perpetrates it. Irony can have a certain cluelessness to it, an unpredictability. If you take someone to a restaurant that you think they’ll like but they hate it and say with derision, “Thanks a lot!” – that’s sarcasm. If, on the other hand, you take someone to a restaurant you think they’ll like but everything in the world goes wrong and yet, after it all, they thank you with a sincere, “Thanks a lot!” – that’s ironic. They really are thankful even after everything that went wrong. It is the sincerity of the second Thank You that makes it ironic, the unexpected pleasure of someone’s gratitude even after everything has gone wrong.

By way of another example, having a friend betray you to someone else with the sentiment, “Oh, you always tell the truth do you?” followed by an example of a time you didn't, is sarcasm -- whereas having a child or someone innocently out you on a lie after you’ve just said you always tell the truth is ironic. It was an accident or fate or the universe teasing you as opposed to someone who professes to be your friend and to care about you.

Finally, a person can use irony unintentionally and unconsciously but sarcasm is intentional and conscious – even if the speaker follows it with, “Awww…you know I was just kidding!” Situations call also be ironic but situations can never be sarcastic. Sarcasm is a human communication technique. And lastly sarcasm always conveys implicit criticism of the target. Always.

And that’s why I don’t like it.

Yes Stu, Q was very sarcastic! He had that whole "Supreme Being" headtrip going on and that unchecked ego regularly led him to be sarcastic. The only times he dropped that sarcasm was when his "Supreme Being" status was threatened in some way. And perhaps that's the larger lesson. It makes me wonder if a "Supreme" status is inherent in sarcasm. It certainly does seem to come from a feeling of superiority.

posted by c -- on Apr 19, 2005 11:32PM

Oh I wouldnt say the only times he dropped his sarcasm was when his supreme being status was in danger....a closer look at episodes would show that he would also drop that sarcasm after he had made his point at the end of the episode, typically whipsering some enlightening message to picard that would make everything Q did in that hour seem in some cosmic twisted way, to make sense. So I guess that also makes me wonder if perhaps theres an element of teaching inherent in sarcasm...
posted by StU aRt on Apr 21, 2005 09:27AM

I can think of two specific times that Q dropped his sarcastic and supreme attitude...

One time was when he transported the Enterprise-D into the same quadrant as the Borg. The Borg attacked and Q laughed as the Enterprise was being slapped around by the Borg cube. The enterprise was about to be destroyed when Picard told Q that he needed him (earlier in the episode I believe Picard told Q that he didn't want him around and had no use for him / didn't need him, or something to that effect). Picard telling Q that he needed him seemed to satisfy Q. Q then transported the enterprise back to safety. However, all was not well because now the Borg knew that humans existed, which led them to search for more humans. This resulted in many terrible conflicts in the future.

The other time Q lost his attitude was when the Q-continuum suspended his powers. I can't quite remember why they did this, but I believe it had something to do with him abusing his powers.

Anyways, back to the main theme…..Q definitely is a good example of this sarcasm that you all have spoken about…

posted by -- on Apr 25, 2005 12:50AM

Hope you like some examples:

No babe, I never said you ass was big! Here, let me get you another chair.

Like your nail polish, black is it? (Kind of a bad lighting here don't you
think?) Uh, listen, do you really paint them or do you just hit your
fingers with a hammer?

Like your hair anyway... What? you thinks it's too dry? No, no, no,
I assure you it is not! Trust me! Here, let's get that candle away from it...

Yeah, I'm totally into the whole astrology thing. (heh heh heh..)
I mean isn't it amazing that some people can just look at the
stars and know YOUR future? It's amazing, truly... No I'm not
joking. Seriously... trust me! It's like my friend was an astrologer
and his car got hit by a meteor. (heh, heh, heh) It's, like, the sky told
him it was going to happen! Yeah, and I think NASA is messing with nature
by sending those satellites up there. It, uh, clouds the vision of the,
uh, astrologer. Yeah, they're such bastards... (heh, heh, heh..)

posted by danni -- on Apr 21, 2007 12:51PM

Sarcasm, like everything else in the world, has its place here among us. I'd go so far as to say that all fully functioning members of humankind have been sarcastic in some way at some point in their lives - even Jesus, Budda, Ghandi, the Dali Llama, or, in contrast, Don Imus, Howard Stern, & 'ol GW (hey, its not a sin, but apparently, you can get fired for it - hey why can't we fire G.W.?!). Thusly, there's really nothing inherently wrong with it, it is a part of our life and world, like salt, razors, and dying pets -- or fluffy bunnies, sunsets and mother's milk, if those concepts make you feel more... secure (oh yes, and apple pie!) It is also an essential part of humor, which is an essential part of being human.

Saying that sarcasm should be surgically and clinically removed from our social consciousness and never used again is like saying that we should club all the baby seals on the planet, burn every tree, and get rid of compassion, love, or kindness entirely. Its silly, it makes no sense, and most importantly, folks, it just ain't gonna happen. Its not going to magically dissapear, and people aren't going to stop using it. I'm not being negative here, or hurtful, or even provocative -- just pragmatic. Like corrupt politicians, apple pie, and overly sweet deserts, its a part of life, it exists, we will all come across it and be exposed to it, and darn it, we just have to get used to it and except it as part the fun-filled fabric of life ("the touch the feel of cotton" theme plays in the backbground during the previous sentence of this post).
In addition, I'd like to share that I highly value a good sense of humor, sarcastic or otherwise. I like friends who have these traits. To me, selectively keeping someone from being a friend based on one's type or stlye of humor is as silly as deciding to only be friends with people who don't wear perscription glasses, or only those who do. Or only those who wear perscription glasses that change color and become sunglasses in the sunlight. Or only midgets. Or anyone but midgets. Or, for that matter, what kind of shoes they buy, how expensive their watch is, or what their ethnic background happens to be. While it is a personal choice, and therefore doesn't have to be justified or debated (and wouldn't be, remember, if it wasn't publicly expressed in a post) I find that its a pretty shallow basis for friendship building. I'd rather have a friend who was a wonderful human being with a witty and dry sense of humor than a person who was extra polite, never made a humorous dig toward anyone, but wasn't...

posted by Cody Phipps on Apr 23, 2007 12:59PM

I agree with that first sentence. Sarcasm has a place in the world. Beyond that... Well, I'm reminded of a Sesamee Street song, "One of these things is not like the other..."
(Yeah. That's right. Even rocker watched sesamee street growing up...)
posted by Clint Phipps on Apr 23, 2007 01:09PM

Yeah, you're totally right - I was using extreme extremes to color my argument, y'know, like Salvador Dali... What can I say, I like wild painters!
posted by Cody Phipps on Apr 23, 2007 01:11PM

He is insulting, calls us assholes, tells us why he is better than us, and explains how we can become like him as though it were dead obvious we would want to.

If he is so smart that he thinks he can tell every one how to act, maybe it shouldn't be so easy to be sarcastic around him. Sounds like he's battling it all the time, though, and it actually stops any chances of friendships in their tracks.

I'm a kind guy. Really. If you're a nice guy to me, I have no reason to cut you down with sarcasm. The only use it would have is to have fun laughing at ourselves. It sounds like this guy takes any good-natured ribbing as an insult because he already feels inferior.

Which he is.

posted by sarc asshole on Mar 31, 2008 10:48PM

sarcasm isint about any
of that you all are crazy i can be sarcastic with my friends, and them know i am not serious.
If you ask me you all are pretty up tight
posted by nicole sllsl on Jun 29, 2008 10:55PM

Well C, one word for you...bravo :-)

This was a great post. I have lived with a sarcastic person for many years, and have had sarcastic friends as well. It is very toxic to live this way. The words do hurt and they feel like a punch.

There are a couple of people at work that rub me the wrong way, and at first I could not put my finger on it, and then BAM it hit me, they remind me of my ex. They are extremely sarcastic and belittling, and I try not to hang with people that are sarcastic, because I always leave feeling uneasy and drained.

Thanks again for the post.

posted by Y B on Oct 21, 2008 06:45PM

I think sarcasm is okay in certain situations with certain people. It has been mentioned in the above posts that people who use sarcasm are very "clever" and "witty" so these same people should be able to realize when sarcasm is okay and when it's not. I can be very sarcastic at times, but I tone it down or don't use it at all if I'm with someone I know doesn't like it. My boyfriend is very sarcastic and most of the time I can handle it and dish it out too, but there are some days when it pisses me off cuz I'm not in the mood. Understanding when someone is or isn't wanting to deal with it is key to using it for humor and not to demean. This requires being able to read people well and if you can't then don't use it and if you do don't be confused if you hurt the other person's feelings.
posted by stephanie -- on Feb 15, 2009 07:20PM