Posted on December 21 2017
I was just sitting here wondering if sarcasm has always been around as a not-so-secret weapon of mass deconstruction or is it fairly new? Did Neanderthals communicate sarcastically through cave drawings and gestures? Or through complex speech if we believe the latest discoveries?
Either way, was sarcasm important for survival? According to anthropologist Meredith Small, sarcasm could have been selected for as something evolutionarily important - and she gives a hilarious example of two ancient humans running from a predator and one saying something sarcastic and the other pausing because he couldn't get it.
Which certainly makes sarcasm not a bad thing. And while Danish Ambassador Claus Grube proudly proclaims that the Vikings brought sarcasm to the UK (and how scary would that be to run into badass Vikings armed with both physical AND verbal spears?), there are a lot of people who look down on sarcasm.
Dostoyevsky said "sarcasm is usually the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded".
Psychologists will say its expressing unresolved anger or frustration. And sarcasm is banned in North Korea although everything is banned in North Korea so that's probably not a great example. Even the word sarcasm comes from the Greek word sarkazei which means tear flesh.
While the earliest example of literary sarcasm may have been The Odyssey, I'm sure sarcasm is just part of our human nature and it's been around for our entire history. So why fight it? Our Snarky Partner in Crime collection gives you plenty of opportunity to express your unresolved anger and frustration!