Sarcasm, Humor, and the Human Conditions
Sarcasm is not in my blood. The art of black humor requires a more expressive tone or perhaps a more bitter face. It always fascinates me how some of my friends can seemingly assault various sensitive topics and personal derogatory comments without inciting a feeling of hurt. Everyone just "know" somehow that these few chosen ones are joking. I know it sounds idiotic, trying to figure out how to sound bitter and slightly offensive. Yet it is fascinating. The combination of vocabulary, timing, facial expression, and tone is deceptively simple but beyond complex once examined closely. More than what is being communicated, I came to think of sarcasm as an exchange of trust. Do you trust that person doesn't mean it and is simply joking? Do you trust the relationship well enough that these comments can be made?
A properly executed sarcasm incites trust. It is like a shot of vaccine. A little dose of sarcasm means that you will be immune (or less likely) to get offended later. I may have over-analyzed the situation, but I have seen those Black Humor Artist get away with comments that had anyone else made would most likely be sued. Another way I can compare these friendly banter is like exercising. You tear the muscle at a regular interval so that later it grows back stronger - able to withstand higher stress. You test the trust at a regular interval so that later it grows back stronger - same idea.
Each little bitter joke helps trust grow a bit stronger. Of course, it has to be properly done. A poorly executed practice injures the muscle (trust). Or you can inject an over dosed vaccine (sarcasm), so that instead of immunizing you, it gives you the full blown offense. There is a thin line these black humor artist balances on.
Of course, vastly more likely they just do it like breathing, without thinking. I think that is a very important point; "they just do it like breathing". Where as I would have to think to inject a little bite to my comments, they do it day in and day out. Consistency might be the last key I will always be missing. People take those bitterness as the norm. "they are just that way, it is fair, they do it to everyone". As suppose to "Albert who has always been nice and polite said that! I can't believe it! He must really mean it!"
I still remember one time I used the word "fuck" because I was quoting a quotation about war. Everyone just stopped and looked at me and one of the girl actually gasped - gasped! For the next 5 minutes we talk about how they didn't think I was capable of using that word. The situation was humorous because it has some truth in there. They really didn't think that word would ever come out of my mouth in this lifetime. Here is another thing; all the great jokes are layered with truth. It is truth that we can't avoid nor deny so we laugh about it.
Humor softens the blow of reality. I think it is why humor exists. The opposite of humor is not boredom - the opposite of humor is pain. Like light couldn't exist without darkness. Humor couldn't exist without pain; they are the same coin with two faces.
Why do we laugh when people fall down on a banana peel? We are really laughing collectively at human conditions, the fact we are vulnerable and that we all hurt. We can't change that pain, so we laugh about it.
Why do we laugh at Yo' Mama jokes? Because we can no more change who our parents are than change our human conditions - so we laugh about it.
We laugh in the face of death, broken hearts, and bitter sarcasm (because by god, they are true, or else they wouldn't be funny). It ties us together because we are really saying "we are only human and we are in it together". At least, that is how I translate "ha ha". I see humor as a sign of acceptance of our painful reality.
I know it is not the normal way of looking at humor. I even discourage you to agree with me. It is far better not to know and blend into the crowd. Same thing with religion - you will be better off not to question and just live obliviously. Because when a room full of people is laughing over a hurt or human condition, I couldn't help but feel a little sad while I laugh. I couldn't help but feel we should do something about it.