Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sarcasm: Irony on Steroids

For the longest time, one of your major goals was to be right.  Until you were about thirteen or fourteen, you had few issues about being right.  You were comfortable with who you were,  In simplistic terms, you were enormously curious and you not only wish adventure, you craved it.  

In later years, when you were the writer for a TV program, "I Search for Adventure," you had frequent encounters with irony.  On many occasions, after turning in your script, your thoughts were variations of the theme of "So this is the adventure you craved."

Being right mattered so much to you that you did not give much thought to being right about everything because that would mean you'd have little time for writing and for being curious.  

In consequence, you settled for being right about a few things in hopes such transparent correctness would be taken for total rightness, leaving you ample time for writing and curiosity.

But your curiosity was not content to let you be right, even about the few things you'd specialized on.  Even at that stage of your evolving self, you could see how the loss of confidence in being right about the one or two focal points of your choice was in effect pulling the rug from under your entire confidence.

There seemed nothing left except for you to enter what you now think of as your sarcastic period.  Rather than being right, even about a few things, you were sarcastic about pretty much everything you came in contact with, thus a mystery to your friends and no real surprise to your family.  You were also growing into the state of being a mystery to yourself, so much so that you began to openly sympathize with the friends to whom you were becoming a mystery.

A possible reason why you let your high school yearbook get away from you was because of all the inscriptions alluding to your mysterious nature.  Your friends saw enough in you to have it be a mystery to them why you were so mysterious.  

One girl you had a crush on and who obviously had some measure of interest in you wrote in your yearbook of the great depths of wonderful humanity under the protective coating.  She did not call the protective coating sarcasm.  Nevertheless, even then, you had a good idea of what sarcasm was.  You'd used quite enough of it.  But you didn't know the full effects of being sarcastic, which is to say you didn't see the irony in persons saying or asking what the fuck it was with you, anyway?

Nor did you see the relationship between irony and sarcasm.  In time, you would come to equate irony with decaffeinated coffee, while sarcasm was the full, leaded version.  Sarcasm, at the level you were broadcasting it about, is the equivalent of scatter shot irony, in fact irony that conveys the sense if not the actuality of being right.  

Irony is a condition in which the opposite of what is said becomes the intended meaning.  All those times you said, "I wouldn't know," for instance, you were implying that you did, indeed, know.  This was not your only trespass from irony into sarcasm.

Self-knowledge and self-education are not easy things to accomplish.  You are not being sarcastic now with the observation that, given the complexity of self and the current conditions of formal education, attempts at self-knowledge and self-education have better possibilities for the sort of person you believe yourself to be.

Revisiting those givens of the complexity of the self and the present conditions as they relate to formal university education, you can demonstrate your understanding of how being right is a state of being better left to characters in stories than taken up as a personal goal.

You have had it with being right.  You are quite willing to allow others that particular place at the table.  For your part, you are more than content to be curious, wondering at the outcome when two or more of your characters get into it, each waving the banner of correctness in the other's face.

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