Archive for the ‘Sarcasm and irony’ Category

Morning: The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

December 26, 2015

This morning, this name of a song, which just bubbled up out of nowhere. (No, this is not a bright and sunny day.)

You can listen to the song here.


Four cartoons

January 21, 2014

A sudden avalanche of linuistically interesting cartoons, on a variety of topics.



December 22, 2013

Yesterday’s Zippy:

First, there’s the morphological form dehumorized, an entirely transparent use of English derivational morphology (‘without humor, with humor removed’), but novel. But then there’s the ironic note that suppressing all humor is itself humorous.

Briefy noted: sarcasm in the Court

October 12, 2013

A letter in the New York Times yesterday, from Ailan Chubb of Rio Rancho NM:

That the humor during oral arguments before the Supreme Court is deserving of analysis is interesting (“A Most Inquisitive Court? No Argument There,” by Adam Liptak, Sidebar column, Oct. 8).

I have noticed that sarcasm by one or more justices, and principally by Justice Antonin Scalia, is the prevailing sort of humor. Yet sarcasm is a known element of unfair fighting. It is destructive and takes away focus from the arguments. Some authorities call sarcasm anger couched as humor.

Given how certain justices use sarcasm in oral arguments, one would think that there is no backlog of cases in the courts; that certain justices have little respect for the enormous amount of tax dollars these proceedings cost; and that they aren’t mindful of the effect these decisions have on ordinary people’s lives.

Sarcasm, like verbal teasing, has a considerable aggressive component.

In quotation marks

July 18, 2013

Today’s Dilbert, with Dogbert weaseling words to the boss:

The strip has Dogbert speaking in quotation marks, indicating a prosody that sets off the word storage, suggesting that the word is not to be taken literally: it’s in what we’ll call storage, but nothing is actually stored there (a message that is close to ironic or sarcastic).

Define “collaborate”

June 8, 2013

Today’s Dilbert:

Alice gives a witheringly sarcastic response to the pointy-headed boss, supplying a definition of collaborate that unpacks some of the connotations of the word for her. The boss then puts her down by maintaining that she is uncooperative (she ought to “play well with others” by collaborating with Larry), and she counters by pulling out the gender assumptions in the boss’s observation (women are supposed to be cooperative and collaborative, men are supposed to be assertive and confident).

whoopee cushion

June 4, 2013

I was moved yesterday to wonder about the whoopee cushion, its history, and the various names for it. In particular, I mused that there would be no good way to predict what the thing is called in English, given a description of it; fart cushion would be the obvious candidate.



May 18, 2013

Today’s Pearls Before Swine:

The idiom golden throat ‘a widely admired singing or speaking voice’ is both metonymic (throat for ‘voice’) and metaphorical (golden ‘like gold in value’), but it’s complex enough that someone could not see that. Rat, of course, just turns things to his own ends.