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The importance of recognizing sarcasm

By Scott Tibbs, March 28, 2012

Last week in the Herald-Times, there was a sad but uplifting story about a hot air balloon pilot who sacrificed his life to save his passengers when a thunderstorm came out of nowhere.

In the comments, David Coonce posted the following political satire:


This selfless act by the pilot is no different than socialism or communism!! How dare he think of the greater good!! America is about individual freedom, and everybody should get his own. Who cares about others. ME ME ME!!!! What a commie!!!!

I, for one, am just glad my taxes don't have to pay for any medical care these reds received.

For context, David Coonce is a very liberal Democrat and Obama supporter.

The negative ratings rained down on the comment, with responses such as "Totally unacceptable comment!" and "We shouldn't drink and post." My favorite, by far, was the hysterical temper tantrum posted by "Marq" eleven hours later:

This is one of the most VILE comments I've ever seen posted on HTO.

You're a perfect example of what happens when one subordinates their basic humanity to political dogma.

You should feel ashamed of yourself -- but I seriously doubt if you have any conception of the word "shame".

Really? Vile? Someone who subordinates his humanity to political dogma?

Now, one could argue that this kind of political satire is out of place in comments for a story like this one. But even someone who does not know anything about Coonce's political leanings should be able to spot this obvious, glaring sarcasm.

This is one of the things that is wrong with American politics. People are so emotionally invested in their political agendas that they become enraged by opposing views. They react on a visceral level, with feelings guiding their "arguments" instead of the cool water of logic. We see this all the time on social networking sites and through the blogosphere, where obvious sarcasm becomes inflated and produces people who are OUTRAGED!! OUTRAGED, I TELL YOU!!

Cool down. Have a glass of warm milk and take a nap. Ask yourself if you are interpreting something correctly. You can avoid humiliating yourself if you react with your brain instead of your feelings.