Let me say up front that if you are a sarcastic person, I don't mean to offend you by what I write here. I write about sarcasm today because I don't quite understand why people have to be sarcastic. I've been bothered by this characteristic lately so I did some research on the subject. Let's start with the definition:
1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.
2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
"According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "sarcasm" derives from ancient Greek for "to tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly." Its first definition is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt." Although sarcasts may just intend to be funny, their words can also be very hurtful to the intended target."
I guess that's why I don't understand why people use sarcasm. I, personally, would never dream of trying to hurt someone else through the words I use. So in that way, sarcasm is so far from my way of talking or writing.
I've heard sarcastic people who say that they don't intend on hurting their target - it's just who they are. Do they not realize that even though it's not their intention to hurt, their word do just that. Are they blind to this or do they just not care that they actually do hurt people with their words? I read this online and found it useful in trying to understand:
"Though they may not be aware of it, sarcasm is their means of indirectly expressing aggression toward others and insecurity about themselves. Wrapping their thoughts in a joke shields them from the vulnerability that comes with directly putting one's opinions out there. "Sarcastic people protect themselves by only letting the world see a superficial part of who they are," says Steven Stosny, a Washington, D.C.-based therapist and anger specialist. "They're very into impression management."
Because humor and hostility often come mixed together, it can be difficult to pinpoint a wisecracker's primary intent. "Sometimes sarcasm is humor—purely a Don Rickles kind of joking—and sometimes it's just innocently insensitive," Stosny says. "But other times, it's devaluing." Everyone benefits from a wisecracker's comic relief, but if you are the target of regular swipes, it's best to assertively call the joker out. His hilariousness doesn't give him the right to belittle you." (source)
Don't get me wrong - I can take some sarcasm and even find the humor in it. I can be sarcastic myself, even though I try not to be. It's when a person constantly uses sarcasm that makes me want to turn away and not listen to a thing he or she has to say. I find it annoying and degrading. But maybe it's just me.