Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I’ve just read a fantastic story from the BBC reporting that recent research conclusively demonstrates a link between failure to understand sarcasm and learning difficulties. This explains so much and is music to my ears, plus there’s the added bonus of one of the finest illustrative graphics to have graced my VDU for a long time - ‘How the Brain Comprehends Sarcasm’. A modern classic.


Sparkling said...

You will have to be tought sarcasm to be able to understand it though.
To many people in my previous company didn't get sarcasm for them all to be brain 'damaged'.

Stef said...

Is that why it is your previous company? ;-)

Yes, of course you're right, sarcasm is learned and should never be practiced on the Young or the American without placing the word 'Not' at the end

I've sometimes wondered why sarcasm doesn't play well in the States, particularly in that landlocked bit between the East and West coasts. My best guess is that America doesn't have the tradition of mistrusting its leaders to the extent that we have in Europe. Well, that won't last much longer will it ...

Sparkling said...

How did you guess? ;)

I've never tried sarcasm on Americans. Can't say I ever considered it.

Stef said...

I wouldn't recommend it ;-)

zenyenta said...

Please! I realize that some Americans are limited, but here in the New York Metro area we couldn't really communicate at all without sarcasm.

Stef said...

... as I said, though probably not clearly enough, I was referring to the states without significant coastlines. It goes without saying that New York is without doubt the 2nd most sarcastic place on Earth, after my own fair City of course

Have you ever tried sarcasm in Kansas or Mississippi? I have. And believe me it wasn't pretty.

Juno said...

We recently made the move from upstate NY to California. My 21-year-old daughter had trouble adapting for precisely that reason. Using NY humor on a Californian is like shooting a baby bunny with a 44 Magnum. She had to learn to tone it down.

Unfortunately she didn't inherit her mom's soft spoken and delicate way of making a point. Maybe it's my southern upbringing.. .

Ragge said...

Hmm.. Thought I knew what sarcasm was, but looking at that nice cartoon I'm not sure anymore. Wouldn't a sarcastic way of saying it be: "Joe sure works very hard"..?

Crap, think I may just have learned my last thing acording too that article.

Stef said...

Personally, I would never be sarcastic to a Southerner. They're so polite and friendly I'd just feel about two inches tall. Now, shooting bunnies with a 440, that's sounds a whole lot more interesting

Kidding. Honestly

Re. correct ways to be sarcastic about Joe not working hard

1. 'Joe you're sure working very hard' = moderately sarcastic

2. 'Joe, don't work too hard' = exceptionally sarcastic

2. is better because it implies that the person saying it is somehow concerned about Joe's well-being when he is clearly not. That's two sarcastic comments packed into one sentence for the price of one and the hallmark of a true Sarcasm Jedi.

Ragge said...
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Ragge said...

Thanks Stef, I finally got it :-)

Hope I can blame it on my lack of knowledge of the English language.. :-P

PS: Yep, there was a comma-error in the illustration as well.. :-P