What is the difference between sarcasm, irony and a paradox?
“Do you really think that someone like you will be able to figure out the difference between a paradox, irony and sarcasm? “
What kind of statement did I just utter, which has definitely hurt your little ego? That, my dear reader, was sarcasm. Sarcasm is a witty remark that might contradict itself for the purpose of mockery or jest. Like, if I were to worry you just before your Maths exam, I would say something like,” Whoa, you can’t even solve this simple question? You will ace this exam buddy. A mathematical genius indeed!” That ought to kill your confidence and also hurt you a teeny weeny bit. Sarcasm, in all its beauty, is meant to annoy you to a point that the statement is purposefully constructed to upset you. But its main purpose, however, is to be contradictory in itself. Contradictions simply put, are words, phrases or even sentences made into one that are opposing and conflicting in themselves. Somewhat like when we say, “I am not really influenced by others, but should I really start opting to dress the way Kartiki does? “ (Please don’t opt for my dress sense. You will regret it.)
“Don’t you think it is so ironical that someone with so little knowledge of the English language is blogging about such convoluted English words?
That, obvious as it seems, was irony. It is stated when something opposing happens to what is expected to happen or take place. For example, if a classmate in your school always said that he felt that teaching as a profession is a waste and very unrewarding. Later, on meeting him 20 years later at your school reunion, you find out he is in the teaching profession, viola! That is irony for you. Irony is usually all around us, in forms that have finally been classified as situational, verbal or dramatic, but we rarely recognize it. But if we do, boy, won’t life become interesting? But paradoxes and irony, unlike sarcasm, are not delivered but recognized to make conversations and lives a tad bit funny. (My favourite form of situational irony is when a weather report woman is caught in a flood. Do you get it? )
A paradox is a self-contradictory statement, which upon deeper analysis, is totally opposite and weird but completely makes sense. If I were to say that,” I am a compulsive liar.” Is that supposed to mean that I am lying when I am saying this? Which means I am not a compulsive liar, but if I am not lying, it means that I am liar, which brings me back to my question whether I am actually lying or not. (Please read that again) Also, most of us say that” I am nobody.” But you are alive at that moment, so you are somebody. Mind boggling, eh?
The reason why I am blogging about this is because these terms are so interchangeably used today, that the subtle lines between them are blurring and actually need to be redrawn again. I , for one, am tired of listening to people saying all the time, “Were you being sarcastic?” and people replying yes, when in reality they were trying to be funny most of the times. Or when people say,” Wow, that’s so ironical!” when nothing is ironical about the situation, the person just finds it surprising or funny. I am sure you all must have had one of these experiences.
“And finally, you may think, deep down, that these differences are very shallow. That my dear reader, was a paradox. “