Wed, 01 May 2002
Dear Mr. Wonderful,
What is the origin of sarcasm?
(no double-entendres, please!)
Dear Irony Chef,
Sarcasm has its roots in about two Gin and Tonics, but has been known to blossom just by letting some idiot bring his kids to Denny's at 11 PM when I'm doing serious research with the new intern.
Historically speaking, it was the Greeks who first gave us a term (sarkazein - literally, to tear flesh) for that tone of voice you use while saying, "Oh, yes, and Socrates just goes down to the bathhouse for the towels." Which I suppose is much as you'd expect from a loose confederation of bitchy, queeny intellectuals. Probably had that vocab nailed down long before sophia, agape, and arete.
You know who used sarcasm really well, though? Charlie Brown. I doubt very much that his grief was at all good, yet he did keep insisting. It's probably the only thing that let him get to sleep at night, the poor sap. I'm glad Lucy got hammered on Singapore Slings that weekend and finally got him laid.