Obfuscation is My Guilty Pleasure

“I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe…” -Dr. Katherine P. Rankin


The quote, on the very quotable and snarktastic JS, is from a New York Times article on the comprehension of sarcasm in the brain. Some, due to head injury or certain types of dementia, cannot detect sarcasm. It’d be interesting to hear about where in the brain snark originates (rather than where and how the brain processes it).

I wonder too about the social dimension of sarcasm. Why is it used? What demographic uses it? It doesn’t seem to be limited to geographical area (although I thought so when I first moved to the Midwest and have since learned to appreciate different… flavors of snark) or education level (I’m sure we can all think of some painfully dull academic-types). I think my environment was to blame. I grew up in a cult of sardonic humor. Dad- king of deadpans. Sis- quite the snarkypants. The friends I am close to are all sarcastic to some degree- but those are the sort of people I find interesting.

Nonetheless, I realize that it is my responsibility to communicate effectively with those around me. I should have been issued with a translator or a warning system to alert those nearby of impending snark. Here’s a very simple exercise in an attempt to align people with my warped thinking.

The inverse of the following statements is true:
I didn’t watch Rainbow Brite and She-Ra just for the dumb equines! I watched those shows for the well-rounded and complex title characters.

I like dark. Does that makes me a dark person? Meh.

2 replies on “Obfuscation is My Guilty Pleasure”

(I know, I know. You wrote this like two weeks ago. Vacation, and I’m only just now catching up on blogs and such.)”I like dark. Does that makes me a dark person? Meh.”Depends on what you mean by “dark” and “dark”. I don’t think you should run out and stock up on eyeliner and black hair dye or get your friends and family to watch extra-close for suicidal tendencies or anything like that just because you prefer nighttime to day, or even just because you like emotionally dark literature/movies/etc., if that’s what you’re asking. (Either of which may or may not apply; I’m just grabbing random examples here. But you get the idea.) Would you call me a dark person? I love me some tragedy.You say it like “dark” is a bad thing, though, which prompts me to point you to a couple of Shadow’s essays. In a general sense, she and I think very much alike about this, but I think she says it better than I do. Particularly, take a look at the first couple of paragraphs of this essay:Perceiving the Dark FlameAlso relevant are the first and last paragraph (before the questions) of this later essay:The Dark Flame and You(And I recognize I may be overthinking an offhand comment here. *grin* But it’s an idea I like to share around when the opportunity arises.)


Ha! You called it. My flippant mark was essentially comment-bait. Fortunately, my attention-seeking antics have returned a few intriguing essays. They’re a bit of a tangent from my fluffy, superficial post on sarcasm, but the essays touch on a few of my favorite subjects- topics of which I don’t even possess a vocabulary to discuss (and HeartShadow does so quite effectively). I’ll have to dig through the archives some time. Thanks!Oh and I saw the pics from your vacay. Looks like you had a great time! I’m off this week while my parents are in town. We’ve been enjoying the state parks of beautiful Southern Indiana : )


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