Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sarcasm versus satire and other useful words

I feel compelled to look up these words in a good dictionary. I'll tell you why after that.

From Webster-Merriman I learnt:  

     Full Definition of SARCASM
:  a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
 a :  a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter,caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
   b :  the use or language of sarcasm 
Full Definition of SATIRE
:  a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
:  trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly
  • So what do I use when I write something? Good question. Only satire when pointing a finger at myself, that's for sure! The challenge on one of the zentangle (doodle) blogs was to move out of one's comfort zone. I got a stinging comment from one gentleman who accused me of being sarcastic, when in fact I had merely satirised my own comfort-zone dilemma. There's a narrow, sometimes invisible line between sarcasm and satire. But one difference stands out a mile - people are not sarcastic about themselves, but can take a satirical look at their own follies and shortcomings - which is what I had done on my blog.
  • After due consideration, I deleted the comment and my response to it because both were entirely unnecessary. And you have to admit that the drawing top right is pretty awful, so when someone wrote that it was beautiful, I was equally floored. Was that sarcasm???
  • No. I don't think it was. Most people indulging in zentangle and related drawing forms are sincere. You even get little prayers done up in patterns on some of them. It rather amazes me how religion is brought in, but I suppose if their philosophy is so inclined, it's part of the art.
  • You see, now I'm waxing satirical again. Actually, the right word for this might be irony. Let's look it up:
Full Definition of IRONY

:  a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony
a :  the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
b :  a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony
c :  an ironic expression or utterance
(1) :  incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) :  an event or result marked by such incongruity
b :  incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony

The link to "sardonic" produced this (there is no noun):

     Full Definition of SARDONIC

:  disdainfully or skeptically humorous :  derisively mocking sardonic

  • I'm spoilt for choice, but I think sardonic fits the bill quite well. I'm guilty of 1. and 2. on occasion.
However, we've left one word out: 

Full Definition of CYNICAL

:  captiouspeevish (N.B. synonyms)
:  having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as
a :  contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives cynical
 men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient — F. D. Roosevelt>
b :  based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest cynical ploy to win votes>

Yes, I am cynical sometimes. Aren't we all?

But none of these terms applies to my view of doodling. Nice words to have, but dangerous verbal weapons though useful on occasion.

I'm still procrastinating (see previous post)!

To write or not to write? I have a plot in mind, but only just! 

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