A Surplus of Sarcasm
Over the past few days, there seems to have been an upward ratchet in the amount of sarcasm. I’ve certainly been whacked with some in the comments sections and in personal email (especially from Tiverton teachers). This letter in today’s Providence Journal — even though I share its underlying frustration — makes me think that it’s time to call for a moratorium on the rhetorical device:
I want to thank the voters of Rhode Island for turning out in such great numbers to exercise their right to vote. I also want to thank them for returning to office many of the very people who are putting us in bankruptcy on every level: local, state and national.
I’m sure you all put a lot of thought into who you voted for, so I’m sure you won’t mind the continued decline of our economy and personal liberty, along with high unemployment rates.
Keep up the good work. We will all be bankrupt shortly.
No doubt, some will guffaw that such a remonstration would come from me, but what Rhode Island needs, right now, is persuasion, not oratorical victory. Sarcasm is a useful tool, but it tends to beat back, not draw out; too many people have to be convinced to change their ways and their expectations for the former to be the goal.
We on both sides must be firm in our beliefs and resolved in our suggestions, but there’s a viciousness to sarcasm — an insinuation that the other side is beneath consideration.