Don’t miss the joke: Catch the sarcasm

By Madison Anderson Opinion Editor

Those who know me best may try and tell you that I have a tendency to be a tad sarcastic. OK, that may be an understatement. It just so happens that I have a very sarcastic sense of humor that some find difficult to catch on to at first. However, I assure you, once you get to know me better, you pick up eventually and learn to simply roll your eyes at jokes that I find hilarious. Don’t you worry: the eye roll doesn’t offend me. In fact, it probably encourages me more than anything. 

The most difficult part of this personality trait that I have is that while people misunderstand it when first meeting me, it is even more difficult for people to catch on when the conversation happens via technology. I find that I have a conflicting opinion when it comes to this issue. While technology provides plenty of quick and convenient communication, it can sometimes cause an issue when things are just better understood in person. Nothing beats person-to-person contact because it enables us to read the other person’s expressions and, in my case (among others), the ever-present sarcastic tone of voice.

Cracking sarcastic, smart remarks via Facebook Chat sometimes just doesn’t come across as clearly as it is meant to. This can result in one of two things: confusion or judgment. 

There is little worse than a misunderstood sarcastic remark, except maybe having to explain what your comment means or why it was funny/ironic in the first place. Usually overexplanation of a joke defeats the humor that was intended. This causes frustration on both ends as one person ends up confused and the other ends up irritated that their clever thought wasn’t well-received. I have admittedly been on both ends of this situation. I have always prided myself on coming up with quick comebacks and witty responses, since it is a means of survival in my family (every trait has to come from somewhere right?). The more sarcastic and quick-witted, the better off you are, in the case of my family — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

The second issue with misunderstood sarcasm is that there is a good chance it will result in some judgment. If a statement said with sarcasm is mistaken, you will probably end up looking like a jerk, if the person is unaware that you were kidding and actually didn’t mean it at all. This can really be a problem because sarcasm can result in some really rude-sounding comments when it’s not taken the right way. 

Let’s face it: with technology moving in the direction it is, person-to-person contact is going to become even more “unnecessary” in many opinions. This only means that the issue of misunderstood jokes and senses of sarcasm will get worse. I don’t know what will solve this issue — maybe a font meant specifically for sarcasm? Who knows. But I will say this as a sarcastic person: a good sense of humor is not to be overlooked. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a solid, funny comment simply because you misunderstood someone. Take the time to talk to people and get to know them in person. You will probably end up much better friends as a result.


Madison Anderson is The Collegian’s  Opinion Editor. She can be reached at    [email protected]