Jewish Journal


January 21, 2010

Sarcasm’s Gonna Cost You


Listening to the radio this morning, Ryan Seacrest announces a site that has created a brand new text punctuation mark to indicate sarcasm.  With the ever growing text-talking communication system in place, it appears many fights have ensued, many friendships have broken up, many housewives have left their marriages all because men have refused to use the little smiley face as their sarcasm tool because it is too “sissy” looking.  Some use the phrase “lol”. But really, isn’t that just so overdone?  Lol, save it for when you’re really laughing at something zany, or us humorous writers, comedians, and funny people will assume you are taunting us with your pity laugh.  Unless there’s a real chuckle coming up followed by out LOUD laughter, don’t write Lol. 

So what is this new tool used to guard against offending folks on the receiving end who might not get the joke?  It’s called SarcMark.  There’s an actual word for this new punctuation mark that has been coined.  If you want to be sarcastic it’s gonna cost you.  For $2 you can apparently download it. But if you’re an iphone user, you’ll have to wait before telling your loved one they look “fat” (meaning hot). Apparently, Iphone users are not sarcasm worthy quite yet.

The owners of this new punctuation mark are trying to get it as popular as the exclamation mark.  Are you kidding? The exclamation mark has been around for centuries. We rely heavily on that mark giving us moments of glee, pep, vim, zing, or just plain yelling.  And now they think they can outdo the line with the dot with some $2 swerley thing?

What is next?

Is someone going to come up with a caring mark? What about an all around irritated by my boss mark?  How bout an I trust you mark, an optimistic mark, an awe mark?  I’d like an awe mark.  Someone texts me, they tell me hi, but they want me to know they’re in awe of me and I get a ^/ sign.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Would you like to use my AweMark in your texting? Good. Send me two bucks.  Make it a buck and a half, I’ll throw in a free “rage” mark.  Except for you iphone folk, you are not deserving.

Here’s an actual paragraph written by a young teen upon commenting on the Sarcmark:

“The real breakthrough of ­Sarcasm, Inc is the realisation that, ­despite having used sarcasm and irony in the written word for hundreds of years, humans are simply too stupid to consistently recognise when someone has said the ­opposite of what they mean. The SarcMark solves that problem, and you can download it as a font for the reasonable price of $1.99 (£1.20). Our prayers are answered.”

What I found really amusing by this paragraph was that us humans are not too stupid to recognize sarcasm when we HEAR it.  If you’re born in today’s world, you don’t ever actually HEAR anything.  You see it. (your phone ring does not count) Many youngsters have never been trained to speak in person with one another.  They can spend hours bombarded by loads of information without learning anything valuable and can communicate endlessly without saying anything valuable.

Much like monkeys and apes, we have become a species who now use our thumbs to speak with.  (primates communicate using their hands.)  We have almost lost the art of actually laughing. Now we just write three letters and there it is- a giggle.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the Sarcmark, but I do wonder how some swerley with a dot for two dollars has found a way into our society just because we’re too lazy to pick up the phone or have a real live conversation. 

Just makes you wonder.

Also, that swerley with a dot- it’s just as sissy looking as the smiley face.





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