this is literally the most srs bsns question ever.
June 22, 2015 1:32 PM   Subscribe

 
HAMBURGER
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2015


INBOFORBURGR...dam it
posted by odinsdream at 1:38 PM on June 22, 2015


~*~hamburger is already in the tags, you can read the article now :) :) :)~*~
posted by NoraReed at 1:40 PM on June 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Interesting that it has no reference to this, which like others in that thread I only learned about today.

Not to be mean or nothin', but it seems like a decently researched article about how to write sarcasm would have some reference to an existing, recognized mainstream template.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:49 PM on June 22, 2015


No, you're reading a 2500 word article about sarcasm on the Internet.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:52 PM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


The difficult part is not detecting sarcasm. The real menace is absurd opinions expressed in pithy phrases that could be sarcasm, but aren't. I was fooled by one not five minutes ago. Even here on metafilter, a forum often described as an "echo chamber full of sheeple", it can happen to anyone.
posted by sfenders at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2015


You can also just be completely deadpan, with no typographical indicators of sarcasm at all. This is a strategy that works — well, kind of — for The Onion:

Except I think they do an office-wide high-five and give a cash bonus to the writer anytime one of their "stories"* gets taken seriously by another news entity. Their operation is totally ruled by Poe's Law. Personally, I prefer Cole's Law.

*which raises the question, I still don't know if we need "the full double-quote" to indicate sarcasm; yes, there's a hand-gesture to match it, but since it already is used so much for direct quoting, why shouldn't the 'single-mark- semi-quote-whatever' be more often dedicated to that purpose. In the name of 'consistency'.
(|] hamburger.
(||] double-hamburger.
(\|\|] in-n-out double-double.
🍔
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:01 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I use the straight ahead, no fancy punctuation or misuse of grammar style. I really use it. A lot.
posted by clvrmnky at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like the idea of using the tilde, though I don't recall ever seeing it in action. To me it's a visual representation of the exaggerated swoopy inflection one would use vocally to indicate sarcasm: "That joke was ~really funny."
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The real menace is absurd opinions expressed in pithy phrases that could be sarcasm, but aren't.

well so but the trick is to continually play with tone, by doing things like using a bunch of the textual markers that indicate that one is speaking either ironically or just very, very loosely and conversationally but while also dropping in tons of recherché terms and references, and (and this is the most important part) always, always saying things that at least appear to be as absurd as can possibly be defended, without tripping over the line and saying things that are actually too absurd to defend. Also (wait no this is the most important thing) it helps if you actually believe at least 85% of the odd things you say.

Once you've got these basic elements down, you'll eventually come to find that being the most effective epistemological terrorist you can be involves simultaneously sending all the signals — the ones for deeply felt sincerity, the ones for hip ironic distance, the ones for really mean mockery, the ones that signal unconsidered ditziness — all at once, thus giving the audience a very strong impression that there is something to what you're saying, but without providing any handle that might give them a grasp of what that something might actually be.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


ehh, sounds like work
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:22 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]




I've been doing the no-terminal-punctuation thing a lot on Twitter. I just kinda picked it up through internet osmosis, and I associate it with that sometimes-sarcastic, sometimes-absurd style of Twitter humor. It fascinates me that I've made such a strong association in my head, that the deliberate lack of punctuation is a form of punctuation.

also there's the lack of capitalization thing, also comma splices wtf is wrong with me
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:29 PM on June 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


It fascinates me that I've made such a strong association in my head, that the deliberate lack of punctuation is a form of punctuation.

Saves bits too
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:35 PM on June 22, 2015


I'd use the tilde myself, but I'm afraid somebody would call me ~Bill Tilde~. I don't even own that white sweater anymore. "Could I ~be~ any more obscure?" he said channeling Chandler Bing.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 PM on June 22, 2015


I don't even know what sarcasm is supposed to be anymore.
posted by dogwalker at 2:50 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like the idea of using the tilde, though I don't recall ever seeing it in action. To me it's a visual representation of the exaggerated swoopy inflection one would use vocally to indicate sarcasm: "That joke was ~really funny."

When I'm really upbeat and cheerful, I'll often end my sentences with "~<3" which is a tilde-heart-balloon. I do it a LOT on Flickr, where I'm thanking people over and over again for linking or commenting on my pictures, and it seems a little perfunctory.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2015


I've been doing the no-terminal-punctuation thing a lot on Twitter. I just kinda picked it up through internet osmosis, and I associate it with that sometimes-sarcastic, sometimes-absurd style of Twitter humor. It fascinates me that I've made such a strong association in my head, that the deliberate lack of punctuation is a form of punctuation.

Me too. I disagree with the author's suggestion that it suggests a sarcastic smirk, I see it as more of a quietness. "Man" in the bartender tweet isn't smirking about having zinged the bartender, he's confused and disappointed that he didn't get the tiny apple he was expecting.

What!? (shock)
What? (simple interrogative)
What. (flatly affected disbelief)
What (flatly affected confusion)
what (same as previous but moreso)
wat (same as previous but a kitten)
posted by rifflesby at 3:00 PM on June 22, 2015 [21 favorites]


I think maybe the first person to crack what's so effective about the dialogue in Achewood will be the person who explains to us exactly how contemporary internet rhetoric works.

like, for example, the appletini joke and Philippe is standing on it seem structurally similar to me, but I can't quite explain how or why.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:08 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


FASCINATING
posted by Sebmojo at 3:23 PM on June 22, 2015


fascinating
posted by Sebmojo at 3:23 PM on June 22, 2015


fascinating~
posted by Sebmojo at 3:23 PM on June 22, 2015


Extremely necessary Kids In The Hall sketch: Lonely Sarcastic Guy
posted by mhum at 3:24 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Best. Post. Ever.

(what? I'm being srs!)

And in complete seriousness, I am fascinated by this kind of stuff in terms of how our written communication handles various emotional inflections, and it is an interesting article. Thanks!
posted by nubs at 3:24 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


And in complete seriousness, I am fascinated by this kind of stuff in terms of how our written communication handles various emotional inflections, and it is an interesting article. Thanks!

(me too!)

(haha, the 'not being sarcastic now' parentheses!)
posted by Sebmojo at 3:26 PM on June 22, 2015


Okay, so both the appletini joke (here standing as a synecdoche for how people talk on the Internet) and "Philippe is standing on it" produce effects through 1) statements in slightly off-kilter syntax used 2) to suggest an ever-proliferating series of questions about what's going on and why, but without ever giving any real answer to those questions, or rather, only answering them when the answers produce more confusion and more questions than the original questions did.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:29 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


My best definition is "sarcasm is irony done incompetently." And those are NOT sarcasm quotes.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:34 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Great article.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:39 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh this is impossible.
posted by odinsdream at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2015


Makes "kuhick" sound.
posted by clavdivs at 4:14 PM on June 22, 2015


This sounds like a real useful article.
posted by DrAmerica at 4:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought an asterisk bracket was for doing an action. *waves hands*
posted by batfish at 4:25 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think maybe the first person to crack what's so effective about the dialogue in Achewood will be the person who explains to us exactly how contemporary internet rhetoric works.

Me too. I disagree with the author's suggestion that it suggests a sarcastic smirk, I see it as more of a quietness. "Man" in the bartender tweet isn't smirking about having zinged the bartender, he's confused and disappointed that he didn't get the tiny apple he was expecting.

Well speaking of Achewood, I basically read no caps (no punc) as Roast Beef small text (obvs beef talks with caps but nocaps is more universal than changing font size). Onstad's use of that style is meant to suggest a slight timidity and lack of affect, I think, but that's completely appropriate for and reinforces Beef's deadpan observational humor.
posted by atoxyl at 5:09 PM on June 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just want to note that the article linked somewhere in this one about the linguistic rules of a fake Binglepip Costerbaf name had me giggling helplessly.
posted by egypturnash at 5:15 PM on June 22, 2015


Or actually the other way to read nocaps is as Mitch Hedberg.
posted by atoxyl at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Washington Post columnist Twitter sarcasm FAIL (well, it helped him meet his word quota for the week)
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:37 PM on June 22, 2015


i saw a wino eating grapes and i was like

dude


you gotta wait
posted by atoxyl at 5:42 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


Or actually the other way to read nocaps is as Mitch Hedberg.

The other way to read anything written on Twitter is as Mitch Hedberg.
posted by rifflesby at 5:58 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


My best definition is "sarcasm is irony done incompetently.

"Sarcasm is but a lazy irony," is mine. Most people don't like it.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 6:03 PM on June 22, 2015


Sarcasm is borne of mean-spiritedness.

And comments on twitter or here or anywhere written without normal capitalization are just too hard to read so I don't bother. Fortunately most people who write that way don't have much to say.
posted by Rumple at 7:20 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


So? Most people who use proper capitalization and punctuation don't have much to say either.
posted by peripathetic at 7:24 PM on June 22, 2015


Right, but their writing is easier to read.
posted by Rumple at 7:28 PM on June 22, 2015


man why you got to say a thing
posted by postcommunism at 7:46 PM on June 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


And comments on twitter or here or anywhere written without normal capitalization are just too hard to read so I don't bother.

I have no doubt that your upright unwavering attitude will serve you admirably, and in no way diminish your life experience.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:14 PM on June 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


but this is going to make it super easy to plan rumples surprise party you guys
posted by Rock Steady at 8:17 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sarcasm is borne of mean-spiritedness.

Much of it, yes. I agree with you in this context of public messages, but among those one trusts, it can be an invaluable shorthand. Another exception to mean-spiritedness is simple objection (usually from an emotional basis) that hasn't been thought out or organized, such as that of a teenager. But, largely, I think it's divisive and used to dismiss minority views.

Framing an irony involves that test of intelligence about simultaneously holding contradictory positions, where sarcasm is reactionary, usually loaded with implications, and dismissive.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:25 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


but this is going to make it super easy to plan rumples surprise party you guys

yeah right well, its a, capital idea but i'm not; falling for it
posted by Rumple at 8:31 PM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did you guys just hear something? ... Oh well, it probably wasn't important.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:40 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sarcasm is the fifth humor.
posted by jamjam at 9:31 PM on June 22, 2015


the sixth is probably some kind of necromancy thing
posted by Fraxas at 9:37 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


And here I was thinking sarcasm is the phlegmatic humor.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:52 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


i put people who complain about proper capitalization and punctuation in the same kind of mental category as people who get all mad when people coin new words for things and when language changes around them. they're the part of the venn diagram where "pedant/commafucker" and "luddite" intersect, pulling a "no, it's the children who are wrong" over their inability to keep up with the way the language is changing and leaving them behind. it's especially ridiculous when they do it on an article like this that actively explains what all that stuff means because it reads like "i am too crotchety and boring to bother learning new ways people are using text to communicate with each other and so are only going to listen to the words of people who talk in ways i approve of"

anyway i guess i use no caps frequently to indicate eye-rolling frustration or being in a state of not being able to even
posted by NoraReed at 9:56 PM on June 22, 2015


ok i guess i am ready to ig
posted by Rumple at 10:55 PM on June 22, 2015


That was an explenation? I thought it was the Toast's style guide...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:11 PM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I grew up on BBS's and hit IRC in '94. Born 1980 and not sure of my true generational identity or if it mattered, but we paved the way for hand wringing before before "textspk" absorbed the style by necessity, although many bbreviations like "ur" and "LOL" were ridiculed. AFK and BRB and RTFM were srsbzns

Flat punctuationless affectless text was the default conversational style especially for one liner / fragmented conversations, and standard capitalization and punctuation marks were for Serious Conversations Often Involving Male Egos which often conscripted the entire room into Proper Mode if you wanted to be taken seriously. ALL CAPS was in full swing as sarcastic "impression of clueless tone deaf person"

HACK THE PLANET
posted by aydeejones at 11:40 PM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm with aydeejones on this, so I try to keep up, even if MeFi isn't quite down with teh newspeakz.

we were 1337 before it was kewl.
posted by some loser at 3:11 AM on June 23, 2015


What!? (shock)
What? (simple interrogative)
What. (flatly affected disbelief)
What (flatly affected confusion)
what (same as previous but moreso)
wat (same as previous but a kitten)


hwæt (ye olde confuſion)
posted by poffin boffin at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Context is so difficult.
posted by h00py at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2015


What the hell's THAT supposed to mean!?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:08 AM on June 23, 2015


you missed "wut"
posted by matildaben at 1:51 PM on June 23, 2015


Maybe, just maybe, punctuation and capitalization are tools to facilitate communicating in a written form, not just another way that "the man" keeps his boot on your throat? (That was sarcasm)

Being against using these tools to me, is a little like saying "you can't make me use my turn signal! Insisting on signaling turns is something old, lame people do!"
posted by DrAmerica at 2:04 PM on June 23, 2015


turn down for what
posted by tigrrrlily at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


well and so but anyway the point is that there are no universal authoritative rules on how grammar should work, how punctuation and capitalization should be used, how words should be spelled, and so forth — instead, we've got a bunch of different sets of rules, some written but most unwritten, about how all of these things work in different contexts when used for different purposes by different people.

The project of figuring out how language has been weirded by widespread use of digital media and under the influence of a range of different totally random-seeming historical contingencies (I mean why cats? did it have to be cats?) is significantly more interesting than the project of whining stuff like "no no language doesn't work like that language has never worked like that nuh-uh that thing you think you're doing is not language and you think you might be communicating using it but you're wrong and you think it might work better for the context you're in but that's crazy I got a dictionary and a style reference that says otherwise."

Although the inaccurate ideas about how language works that you're espousing are associated with old fuddy-duddies or whatever, I would instead posit that they reveal a childish desire for some sort of universal authority — a dad, in reference book form — to tell you how things are supposed to be.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:50 PM on June 23, 2015


I always comfort myself that once upon a time, spaces between words was weird and unusual and punctuation didn't exist. UR ALL DOIN IT RONG!!!
posted by Deoridhe at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


(I mean why cats? did it have to be cats?)

Thank your lucky stars it isn't, say, small yappy dogs, or spiders, or - god forbid - pet rocks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:30 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, it's more like having messy handwriting. That's not saying anything profound, it's just harder to read. If having legible handwriting is conforming to "a childish desire for some sort of universal authority — a dad, in reference book form — to tell you how things are supposed to be" then so be it.

Anyway this is a tempest in a teapot and it was an interesting article.
posted by Rumple at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


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