Friday, October 7, 2011
Living in a Sarcastic World!
I meet a whole dozen of people every week and half of ‘em are just plain sarcastic. Sarcasm it seems is a way to avoid serious discussion and conflict. It humors difficult topics and troubled relationships. I wonder if we are living in a culture oversaturated with scorn. Can’t we even converse with true sincerity anymore? What happened to directness and candor?
Sarcasm, cynicism, whatever you call it - is often highly irrational. It is inherently full of erroneous beliefs, yet the masses tend to be highly influenced by it. We have the penchant to feel that disdain is convincing. Apparently even in ancient Greece, the Sophists were popular teachers of oratory, charging people to learn how to speak convincingly. But what appears persuasive is really just dishonesty, as Socrates often tried to point out. And yes, ancient Greece was also a form of democracy something like our own corrupt democracies.
Look at our Media now. Television, radio, etc. must constantly promote their vile products to its audiences and one of the easiest ways to get people to unreservedly agree with something is to get them to laugh or cry along with them. Thus, we seem to have the most over used device in modern culture - Sarcasm. Television is basically now a fast moving vehicle for mockery and irony. Just hear the news anchors? It is TV’s specialty to place things together so that what you see and what you hear does not jive.
And of course, this has its appalling effects - conversations are now increasingly concentrated with unneeded smart ass comments, people automatically dismiss anything halfway sincere as clichéd. Instead, you must hire someone who's adept at marketing to shield the original sincere idea with a wise-ass sarcastic joke in order for people to think it's not hackneyed.
May be I am over reacting; I'm not so sure if things are different now than they used to be. Obviously, this is primarily based on my own observations, not some global expert survey. Or perhaps, what we see in our culture is a real push for individuality.
Individualism is always the in style trend, and what has come from this is a false impression of what it means to be "open-minded". Often, since we prize individualism, we moralize that people should be tolerant of other people’s differences. Obviously individualism wouldn't do very well unless there was tolerance. But tolerance, at the same time, as been over-exaggerated and many people have caught onto the phrase "you just believe what you want to believe, and I will believe what I want to. We will agree to disagree." Eventually, we all just ignore each others points of view, or simply pretend to ignore.