I want to improve my blog. So I got some advice. Here’s what I need to do:
1. Figure out who my target audience is; and
2. Write to them.
Well, that’ll never work. I have no idea who I’m targeting. Besides, I read once that if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Based on that, I’m already successful.
I’ve looked back over the last couple of years of writing to see if there’s a common denominator anywhere, but the only thing that really stands out is—yeah, you guessed it—sarcasm. I can’t help it. It’s my spiritual gift.
But did you know not everyone thinks a gift of sarcasm is admirable? I innocently looked it up one afternoon and found out the dictionary has no sense of humor. Webster says sarcasm is a ‘satirical utterance that is sharp and designed to give pain.’ Then it used synonyms like scorn, insult and slur to define the word.
I took umbrage to that point of view, and went looking for friendlier definitions.
I think there’s a place for sarcasm. It cuts to the chase by jumping over the debate and landing squarely in the conclusion. I've met a couple of people who get annoyed by that. And there is a problem that affects all of us now and then—sometimes you just can’t recognize sarcasm because it’s in written form. Without hearing the author’s tone of voice, you can't figure out if they’re kidding.
Enter the “snark mark”. I LOVE this idea!
Since people have been getting bent out of shape about sarcasm for at least . . . the last two thousand years, writers have suggested all kinds of punctuation symbols to alert readers not to get their bloomers in a bunch over written hilarity.
The best idea I read is to use punctuation in brackets. For example, if you asked me if I think sarcasm is a superior form of humor, I could respond with, “No, it’s just a superior form of intellect[!]” See? That’s a snarky comment with a snark mark so nobody needs to get mad about it. Right[?] Rhetorical question. With a snark mark.
But there's another problem with sarcasm. You have to have the right kind of anatomy to understand it—you gotta be a girl[.] Just kidding. I read on Wikipedia that different parts of the brain have to work together for sarcasm to make any sense. They even said it’s "a sophisticated understanding that may be lacking in people with brain damage." I kind of think they were being snarky when they wrote that, but I couldn’t tell for sure because they didn’t end the sentences with any brackets.
Still, it makes me wonder if it’s a lack of sarcastic censorship that keeps me from communicating openly with others. For example, I could just stop being sarcastic[.] But that means I’d have to come right out and say exactly what I think without hiding behind irony and satire. Well, that’s no good. People wouldn’t just walk away wondering if I was saying they’re brain damaged. They’d know for sure.
Honestly, I don’t think I can do it. I mean, what is humor without sarcasm, really? Boring, that’s what. And I’m beginning to think it’s best not to show your hand when you’re being sarcastic. Leave them wondering. Those without brain damage will be left laughing. Those with it . . . aren't my target audience.
Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mallix/2528191994/