thatsthejoke

Something I’ve seen drastically increase over the last year online is this:

/s

What is it?

Well it’s a “sarcasm tag”. It’s supposed to indicate that the preceding statement was sarcastic.

Yes, it puzzles me too. Why would anyone indicate that and more importantly, why would they try to be witty if they were just going to explain the joke anyway?

Sarcasm is often conveyed non-verbally by tone of voice or emphasis of words. You can't communicate that through text.
-AvoidanceAddict [source]

Let’s see Danny Pudi deliver a line sarcastically.

How about another line where he actually delivers it with inflection:

Ho, ho ho. Very amusing. Except that by delivering it with inflection it becomes amusing due to its stark contrast with the character’s normal demeanour, not because of any real wit.

Generally speaking sarcasm is detectable due to the context. If someone is too dull or has the sense of a rampaging wardrobe then they might miss the contrast. Given that we were trying to be witty should we instead just resort to slapstick humour to pander to them? I mean, they get that and it makes them laugh, after all. Of course not, we’re not Saturday night television.

In this most recent case the topic title was as follows:

TIL that in 2006, the RIAA successfully took down a community-generated collection of 34,000 guitar transcriptions that had been compiled over 14 years

Obviously guitar tabs are evil. I mean, using a tab, anyone could just start performing covers of your song, for which the songwriter earns a royalty.

The RIAA must protect artists against potentially earning an income from their songwriting!
-gtalnz [source]

Putting aside that an exclamation mark often means the preceding statement was a joke (there’s your indicated tone, dullards), let’s take a look at this:

The discussion is on a main Reddit board, /r/TodayILearned, somewhere anti-corporate attitudes are the status quo and the RIAA is reviled. The story is about censorship, essentially. The internet created something and the RIAA took it away – something that normally gets Redditors very angry.

So that’s context.

Let’s see what gtalnz said – it supports what the RIAA did whilst also pointing out the foolishness of their behaviour.

Actually, I didn’t give you all of what gtalnz said:

Obviously guitar tabs are evil. I mean, using a tab, anyone could just start performing covers of your song, for which the songwriter earns a royalty.

The RIAA must protect artists against potentially earning an income from their songwriting!

/s
-gtalnz [source]

Oh gee, you were making a joke? My gods, that went right over my head. Thanks for clarifying that you didn’t mean that guitar tabs are actually evil. That wasn’t obvious from what was written – had the sarcasm tag not indicated vocal inflection I would have been puzzled by his attitudes.

I’d also like to take this moment to think about when any adult I know last put inflection into a sarcastic comment…

…Nope, can’t think of any. We stopped doing that when we were about 15 once we realised that it was a lot funnier without the OTT delivery.

(The first 25 seconds or so of Scrubs S01E17 – My Student, in case the video gets taken down)

Here’s a transcript:

HOSPITAL PARKING LOT – DAY

"Attitude" by The Replacements plays. J.D., Turk, and Elliot pile out of a car and casually head towards the hospital together.

J.D.'s Narration
At a certain point during your first year, things begin to feel a little different -- you've arrived, you know? You just start to feel....

They pass a game of hoops being played between a couple of doctors just outside the building.

Turk
[nonchalant] I'm open.

The ball gets passed to him, and he cleanly shoots it in with ease.

J.D.'s Narration
...Cooler.

They continue up the ramp towards the front door. Turk and J.D. are unfazed by the awesome shot, but....

Elliot
Oh, my God! Turk, that was amazing!

Turk
[hissing] Woman. Woman! Shush.

J.D.
[quietly to Elliot] You see...it's a lot cooler if we don't make a big deal out of it.

Elliot
Oh, right.

Similarly when being sarcastic it’s a lot cooler/wittier when delivered deadpan.

They are just saving themselves the annoyance of someone taking their statement literally, and then others reading their angry reply, and then others following suit, ad nauseam.
-AvoidanceAddict

I fail to see the problem here. People who incorrectly interpret it as sincere aren’t worth worrying about. They missed the joke, pity them, but other than that why do we care?

If hilariously angry comments result because the person missed the point there’s a simple phrase – “Whoosh!”

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