Recently I was at the middle school “teaching” a group of students about avoiding miscommunication. Middle School. Where miscommunication was incepted and nurtured. One girl raised her hand and lamented that she is most often misunderstood when she tries to write sarcasm in her texts. Ding Ding Ding. Do we have a prize for the young lady? So it will be for the rest of her days. Some people know you well enough to read the sarcasm intended and 90% of everyone else will be offended and/or unaware of your witticisms.
I could write 100 examples of times that my written sarcasm was misunderstood. It happened with friends, at work, online, and through text. I thought I had something especially clever to share and what was considered by me to be extremely witty and fun was received as rude, insensitive, or dumb. Maybe some if it WAS dumb, on further thought, but if those reading it just realized that it was meant to be light and witty, perhaps they would understand the intent and laugh a smidge.
Five years ago I remember reading some comment from someone somewhere like, “I wish there was a sarcasm font!” or something ;) (did you get that the winky-face meant that I was intentionally being dramatic and silly? No. Well, then you see that the winky-face is not all it is cracked up to be). So I thought about it and decided that I would come up with the very thing to solve all misunderstood sarcasm problems. (=puts on superhero cape=) I wrote a post on my blog in 2011 about WIT EQUALIZERS! echo echo echo. WIT EQUALIZERS! They were going to change the world… if only people would read it. Which, you know, they mostly didn’t.
Then, just last month, I saw posted on a quasi-popular Instagram account a photo that read “I wish there was a sarcasm font!” or something. I thought about it, contemplated the WIT EQUALIZERS, slept a bit, ate some snacks, made my bed a few times, tried out a new Chinese restaurant, and then this morning saw some misunderstood sarcasm on Facebook and realized =NOW is the time to save humankind from the misinterpreting of wit!=
I can wait no longer. People often say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Pisha! It is my goal in life to change the perception of sarcasm. And to have it understood is my first mission.
“Sarcasm is a clear sign of intelligence, sexual prowess, and a value to society.”
-Anna Macfarlane, Queen of Sarcasm.
Studies have even found that sarcastic people are more creative. Those in one study “demonstrated enhanced creativity following a simulated sarcastic conversation or after recalling a sarcastic exchange.” So sarcasm makes you smarter and more successful. It is not the lowest form of wit, it is imperative to the furthering of our society.
Give sarcasm a chance. Use it well.
Use the = = around your witticisms so that the reader can understand your cleverness and intent.
Let’s =save the world together= with our written humor.
Pass it along, so others understand that your = = mean something.
"I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." -Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx didn't need wit equalizers, but you, my friend, =are no Groucho Marx.=
People may still misunderstand your =hilarious commentary= even when you use the sarcasm equalizers. But the pressure is off you now. You used the wit equalizers, you let people know your intention was sarcastic. Let the chips fall where they may.
"I am not young enough to know everything." -Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde did not need wit equalizers, but you, my friend, =are no Oscar Wilde.=