Yeah, right

Sarcasm, says the Coyote, doesn’t work on the Web:

Think of a couple of sarcastic comments, like “Boy that Joe Arpaio is sure a friend of civil rights” or “wow, that Cynthia McKinney is one sharp legislator.” The problem is that on the web, there are likely any number of people arguing, quite seriously, that Arpaio is the greatest friend the Constitution ever had or that McKinney is a bastion of well-reasoned, sober deliberation. We are getting to the day that without regularly reading an author on the web, it is virtually impossible to be sure a given remark is sarcasm.

Obviously the W3C needs to work a <SARC> tag into HTML 6.

Hey, it’s easier than trying to expand the character set.


  1. ak4mc »

    21 August 2010 · 5:28 pm

    Well-composed sarcasm is unmistakable because it is unambiguous, or its context is clearly referenced. For example: “Don’t you wish Bill Clinton were still the first black President?”

    “Boy, that…” constructions are the work of unschooled neophytes who should leave sarcasm to those who know, among other things, how to breathe without an instruction manual.

  2. Kim »

    21 August 2010 · 5:58 pm

    It’s actually sad that sarcasm is no longer appreciated for what it is.I’ve lived sarcasm for the past 58 years and in my younger days metaphorically bit people too hard. I think that was an extension of young, stupid sarcasm. But, on the net, depending upon where you are and what context you’re dealing with there’s most often no excuse for people to not “get” you. Especially if it’s a place that you frequent. And, even if it’s not, once again, that “contexty” thing plays a big role.

    I’m tired of ignernce.

  3. Kim »

    21 August 2010 · 6:00 pm

    One other thing-WAY back in the day on a message board I belong to we had the “sarcafont” before the reference you had above.

  4. fillyjonk »

    22 August 2010 · 2:58 pm

    It may be a generational thing. I’m not the only prof who said something sarcastic in haste and repented it at leisure, after the students either (a) took me seriously or (b) were VERY VERY OFFENDED at my offhand joke.

    It does seem that the up-and-coming generation seems a bit…impaired? when it comes to understanding irony. (I’d blame Alainis Morrisette, but I think she’s out of the frame-of-reference of the typical 18-to-20 year old.)

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    24 August 2010 · 2:11 pm

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