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Why do young guys think sarcasm is positive?

I noticed this trend in the Plenty of Fish dating website Profile Review forum, with young guys who ask for help because they get no replies to their messages.

Over 90 percent of these dateless guys called themselves "sarcastic."

Sarcasm is defined as:

  1. Harsh or bitter derision or irony;
  2. A sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remarks;
  3. Bitterness, ridicule and jeer. (Dictionary.com)

Sarcasm is really just hostility disguised as humor,” said Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.

“If you want to be happier and improve your relationships, cut out sarcasm since sarcasm is actually hostility disguised as humor. Despite smiling outwardly, most people who receive sarcastic comments feel put down and usually think the sarcastic person is a jerk.”

(“Think Sarcasm is Funny? Think Again.” by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D., Think Well, June 26, 2012.)

"Perhaps young men aspire to be like “the meathead clowns floating through the films of today,” said Linda Holmes in “Bad News, Men: You’re Not Very Charming” in The Atlantic on May 28, 2013.

Why do young men think sarcastic humor is positive? Your thoughts?

LiterateHiker 9 Sep 20
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87 comments

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9

I dislike mean, unimaginative sarcasm, but love measured, clever sarcasm.

People who can consistently pull off sarcasm that's biting AND clever are rare. They are my heroes.

9

I think it's a positive thing because using it keeps me from physcially harming
people who piss me off.

9

I’m not young and I’m not a man but I love being sarcastic. It’s part of my nature and why I get called a smartass all the time. I guess I don’t care if people like me. Most of the time it’s better that they don’t.

Preach, sister!!!

I love a smart ass woman!

@RedneckProfessor You are brave to offer!!!

@JeremyTaylor When I was still driving my beloved Smart car I wanted a vanity license plate that said SMART S. But I wasn’t allowed.

@graceylou you were robbed! That would have been golden!

@graceylou What does the S mean?

@Piece2YourPuzzle Since I’m only limited to 7 characters on the vanity license plate including spaces I can’t have it spell SMARTASS or SMART ASS. But SMART S reads the same as those. An alternative might be SMRTASS.

@graceylou Ah! Just call me DUMB S Lol

8

Just say in your profile that you don't like sarcasm which should weed out people like me. I say in my profile that if you don't like sarcasm we won't be a match and I mean it. Sincerely, not sarcastically.

I like sarcasm, always have. Yes it can be mean or hostile but it is also an integral part of witty banter. Some people find it offensive. Some don't get it right away, if at all, and therefore feel left out or stupid. But for me, it's fun and a normal part of banter. So it isn't just young guys, many women and men of all ages like it. To say it is all bad is an incorrect gross generalization.

[huffingtonpost.com]

It can never be clever to make others feel “left out”......or worse “stupid”......can it? I don’t think it needs to be part of witty banter....no. Irony is witty sarcasm is not.

After reading that HuffPo piece, one is bathing in waves of vindication (and ripples of guilt).

@Marionville If you don't like, understand, or appreciate sarcasm, by all means, steer clear of sarcastic people. But a blanket dismissal of sarcasm as universally negative is untrue.

Sarcasm is a form of irony and can enhance creativity.

"Why might sarcasm enhance creativity? Because the brain must think creatively to understand or convey a sarcastic comment, sarcasm may lead to clearer and more creative thinking. To either create or understand sarcasm, tone must overcome the contradiction between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates, and is facilitated by, abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking."

[scientificamerican.com]

@shockwaverider I live in UK and I don’t find it a problem here....don’t really come across many sarcastic people in my everyday life. It’s okay, I can handle it here on this site. I am a lifelong freethinker and am able to think pretty agilely without need to engage in sarcasm to promote the thought process. Frankly I disagree with the article, but that is my prerogative....and it is yours to concur with it. So let us just be civilised and agree to differ.

@Marionville Well said. I agree.

8

I'm sarcastic all the time, and I think I manage to treat people generally quite politely and with respect. When I'm sarcastic, it's often in the form of self-depecating humor or situational irony, and rarely aimed at others unless I know them well or I'm trying to build rapport through gentle, tongue-in-cheek gibes. I see nothing wrong with sarcasm unless it's masked aggression aimed to wound another person. For me, that's never the intent. It may be a defense mechanism, though, to never take anything too seriously or at face value, and I've been known to deflect compliments with sarcastic self-deprecation. Maybe that's a bad thing, but I've been doing it for 20+ years, it's generally well received, and I can't imagine changing my sense of humor after it's been such an integral part of my personality for so long.

@resserts

Like you, I love witty banter. I poke fun at myself every day.

But you're right: it sounds like a defense mechanism to keep people from getting close to you.

Do you have any children?

If someone is constantly joking and sarcastic, I'm out. I want a genuine man, not a jokester who doesn't take anything seriously.

When my daughter was raped at 19, I needed support and sympathy, not jokes.

@LiterateHiker In terms of defense mechanisms, I don't know that it's just to keep people at arm's length, though I'm sure that can be the case sometimes, but also to not take myself too seriously. I think sarcasm can break tensions and sometimes build relationships. I have a good friend where we've built our friendship on a foundation of sarcastic insults. It's clear to both of us that it's friendly banter, though from the outside it might sound as though we don't get along. With another friend, with more of a romantic spin, I tend to deflect compliments with sarcasm, largely because I don't feel comfortable taking credit for something I don't have any control over (e.g., intellect). Another friend has come to me repeatedly for advice on his romantic relationships, workplace dissatisfaction, and crises of faith, and I've used sarcasm in that regard, e.g., "clearly you've come to the right place, to the atheist who hasn't been in a relationship for years and hasn't figured out how to be happy at his own job." I also use sarcasm to make a statement without being too preachy, like when a co-worker made an overt sexual remark about a young woman and I replied, "be creepier, Dave," which he took in good humor. He's not really like that but was trying to fit in with younger co-workers, and this was my way of letting him know he didn't have to be over the top to fit in, and he tends not to make such remarks anymore. Basically, I see sarcasm as a Swiss army knife, with lots of different applications. I don't use it in writing so much,though, because it's hard to make it clear when a statement is just sarcasm and not intended to be taken seriously.

No, I don't have children. I don't want children, either. I have a feeling kids would really cut into my lying-around time. (See? Sarcasm.) ?

It's not that I take nothing seriously or that everything is a joke to me — I have my responsibilities and commitments that I take seriously, like my job and volunteer work, but I try to find places to lighten the mood where I can, and sarcasm is an effective tool for me to do that. And because I tend to be somewhat reserved by nature, I think I've been able to connect with people through sarcasm in ways that would have been difficult or impossible otherwise.

@resserts Well thought out explanation.

6

In a culture that values insincere pleasantry, barbed teasing feels like camaraderie. You have to like someone to be willing to offend them.

5

It ain’t just the young ones, honey!

5

"Sarcasm" can be a form of abuse.
"Sarcasm" can be a form of humor.
"Sarcasm" can be a form of compliment.

5

I guess I am a member of an outlying group. While I do at times find sarcasm offensive ( and have been it's recipient numerous times on this site), I rather enjoy it when it is done intelligently. I'm sure my comment is loaded with rationalization because I also use it, but not as a means of inducing pain or discomfort, rather I use it as a means of producing thought and response. I joined this site in part because I was becoming I'll with the controlled diplomacy I was exercising with people who were making horrid decisions politically. I despise trump, believe him to be truly evil and I do not believe a truly cpasdionaye or ethical thinking human being can truly justify supporting him. But I also despise politically correct cowardice and I think mysarcadm is in a sense a rebellion against this. So while I will probably modify, I will not stop with the sarcasm.

5

There is different sarcasm. It's not always an insult and it can be aimed at topics, objects, and not people etc.

It's almost like the PC discussion. There is such a thing as being an asshole and/or just being open and honest talking about certain issues without insults.

The amount of generalities about this on here are astounding.

Some people are just assholes who use sarcasm in a different way. Sarcasm isn't necessarily a negative thing. It's how it's used. Someone here said it was an excuse for one guy to just say anything demeaning towards women. His issue is much deeper and it's not mutually exclusive with sarcasm. Non-assholes of both genders can use sarcasm without insults or demeaning someone.

5

Do you really need an answer to that or are you just yankin' our chains?

5

Maybe they don't think it's positive. Maybe they are just describing themselves, looking for someone who will accept them as they are. Isn't that what we should be doing? Is it about pretending to be someone who you aren't so that you will get dates?

5

I thought sarcasm is when you say the opposite of what you mean. Like when people say, ‘oh great’ about something negative.

It’s often not funny, but can be hilarious if used sparingly and crafted well. I see no harm in it the way I use the word.

@Indirect76

Sounds like you have a dry sense of humor. I love it.

"Another fine job," I say dryly, when I screw something up.

Coming from Michigan, I have a dry sense of humor. Often poke fun at myself. I love witty banter.

Kindness is essential.

5

I like sarcastic people, they feel honest.

5

I think sarcasm can be humorous, unfortunately nowadays people are too easily butthurt and can't take a joke.

nicely put.

@Commonsense

The key is kindness. People know when a mean comment stings.

"Ouch," I reply. "I was just kidding!" mean people say lamely.

This is exactly what racists say when they tell a racist joke.

"I don't laugh at racist jokes," I say loudly. "I was just kidding," they protest.

By the way, does anyone have any of that "butthurt ointment " that I always see advertised on FB? If so, how does it work? Lol!

4

I think the author of the article is misguided in trying to apply the dictionary definition of sarcasm to those who would say they have a sarcastic sense of humor. People like George Carlin, Patton Oswalt, John Stewart and John Oliver used and continue to use sarcasm all the time as a main staple of their comedy. It is the life blood of satire and social commentary. People who shrink away at the mention of the word are people I would just as soon choose to avoid anyway, so they're doing me a solid. The writer of the HuffPo article comes off as a delicate snowflake in need of a safe space

I agree with you. I love sarcasm. Our family culture is saturated in satire and sarcasm and we laugh continually. No hostility is meant by it and no offence is taken. In fact a witty retort is awarded points! I also take offense of the assumption that this is a 'young males' trait. I'm a 55 yr old female and my best gf and I enjoy many insulting moments together.

4

Amazing. Been married 35 years. Sarcasm is a staple of our mutual humor.

I concede that our years of silliness provide a basis for understanding the sarcastic remarks.

Yet, many of my friends share humor based upon sarcastic remarks.

I think the definitions stated above are not complete.

So, if a person gives you sarcasm give it back. Isn't that called flirting?

@Jacar

As with all behavior, sarcasm has a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. From kind to cruel. Kindness is most important.

Kind sarcasm: I'm done," my 13-year-old daughter, Claire, said, leaving branches all over the sidewalk. We were pruning bushes at Family Planning for "Make A Difference Day."

"Claire, do you think the Branch Fairy will pick up those branches?" I asked lightly. Claire laughed. "I'll help you." Together we picked up the branches and put them in the recycling bin.

Cruel sarcasm: "Are you always this stupid, or are you making a special effort today?"

@LiterateHiker Thank you.

@LiterateHiker
"""Cruel sarcasm: "Are you always this stupid, or are you making a special effort today?""""

There is no way if either of us were to say something like that that we would not both be immediately on the floor.

4

When used for sense of humour, it's positive, I think. It also depends on how it's used though. I have a mate who is quite sarcastic but he uses it in his particular way that I find funny. I might be wrong on this but it's a way to see things.

I think you're absolutely right.

@Piece2YourPuzzle Thanks!

4

Because it is easier than having a personality and the ego trip is a sugar high over vulnerability and sincerity.

These are not mutually exclusive.

4

Maybe for the same reasons young women do ?

4

Ssarcasm is no more or less hostile than any other type of humor. Sarcasm is using irony to convey contempt for something. In some cases that contempt is deserved. The current administration, the Catholic church, our education system, evangelists in general are all fair game for contempt. Pretty much any authority figure or organization is an appropriate target.

The problem isn't sarcasm it's abusive individuals who degrade people under the guise of humor.

JimG Level 8 Sep 20, 2018

Yes.

4

Youth is wasted on the young.

Speak for yourself ?

4

Sarcasm has its place. But I feel there's a fine line between funny and offensive. Even seasoned comedians can step over that line.

3

I am originally from New England. I grew up on dry humor and sarcasm. I love it. Never cruel. Always funny. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and lived in the Bible Belt that I often people around me did not “get” the jokes. Instead of understanding the irony of my words, they took my words as truth (verbatim). I was shocked that they didn’t understand. And I have always been proud of my sarcastic wit. I put it in my online dating profile and never had a problem dating...

3

Don Rickles was all about sarcasm. Funny. But,... People who use sarcasm to truly ridicule are evil.They should be deplaneted.

I'm with you Jacar!

@MsDemeanour ... love your hat

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