Being the father of a highly motivated practitioner in the fine art of sarcasm, I can really relate with this topic. It is in her honor that I post this.
Smithsonian Magazine reports, “Sarcasm seems to exercise the brain more than sincere statements do. Scientists who have monitored the electrical activity of the brains of test subjects exposed to sarcastic statements have found that brains have to work harder to understand sarcasm.”
That extra work may make our brains sharper, according to another study. College students in Israel listened to complaints to a cellphone company’s customer service line. The students were better able to solve problems creatively when the complaints were sarcastic as opposed to just plain angry. Sarcasm “appears to stimulate complex thinking and to attenuate the otherwise negative effects of anger,” according to the study authors.
Feel free to insert your sarcastic rejoinder here, but this conclusion is backed by serious science. John Haiman, a linguist at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in his book, Talk is Cheap: Sarcasm, Alienation and the Evolution of Language, wrote, “Sarcastic statements are sort of a true lie. You’re saying something you don’t literally mean, and the communication works as intended only if your listener gets that you’re insincere. Because appreciating sarcasm requires a bit more thinking, and because exercise is good for the brain, appreciating sarcasm makes you just a little smarter.”
Overall, this is good news. If your four year old chid says, “Smooth move,Dad” after you’ve done something clumsy, your child’s sarcasm is a sign of intelligence and not just a smart mouth.
Here are a few examples of sarcasm that you might enjoy.
Not the brightest crayon in the box now, are we?
Do I look like a frigging people person?
This isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting.
I like dogs too. Let’s exchange recipes.
If I want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I’ll put shoes on my cat.
The Bible was written by the same people who said the Earth was flat.
Did the aliens forget to remove your anal probe?
And your crybaby whiny-assed opinion would be…?
Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.
Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
Aw, did I step on your poor little bitty ego?