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Irony vs Sarcasm

Last night Stephen Colbert premiered on the ‘Late Show’ formerly David Letterman’s show.
The premiere was much publicized, much awaited, and was reviewed well this morning. One of the big publication reviewers, who will remain nameless here, made the following comment at the end of their review:

“Even the show’s concluding musical number, an all-star performance of ‘Everyday People’ featuring the soul singer Mavis Staples and Mr. Colbert’s bandleader, Jon Batiste, had to be recorded twice.” Mr. Colbert seemed to take it all in stride. Before the unexpected encore, he said with deep sarcasm 'like anybody put any effort into it the first time.'”

I bolded the word sarcasm above. This is not sarcasm; this is verbal irony.

Verbal irony: saying what you don’t mean to express what you do mean.

Sarcasm: A cutting, often-ironic remark intended to express contempt or ridicule; mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult.

The remark Colbert made is verbal irony not sarcasm. Colbert’s intent was to point out how hard they worked the first time to get it right, not to mock them or ridicule them.
Sarcasm is up front and nasty, intentionally. Verbal irony is indirect and is often used to point out something that would normally go unnoticed.
Big difference between the two. Just know that if it’s hurtful and nasty, its sarcasm; if it leaves you questioning what was meant by the remark, its irony.
Here are some examples of sarcasm:
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I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.

A sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind.

Oh, did I step on that poor, little ego of yours?

You are not as bad as people say; you are much, much worse.

I don't know what makes you so dumb but it really works

I'm glad to see you're not letting your education get in the way of your ignorance.

I'm impressed, I've never met such a small mind inside such a big head before.

Pardon me, but you're obviously mistaking me for someone who gives a damn.

I don't mind you talking so much, as long as you don't mind me not listening.

Don't you love nature, despite what it did to you?

The Ironic Life

We spend our days searching for love, happiness, money, success, and a myriad of other pursuits. We tend to follow whoever, and whatever looks good to us, and expect life to turn out well. I see the irony in this so clearly.

We have one life, one chance to live it. The only way to make it worthwhile, to make it count is to make a decision about where we are headed. We need to take a close look at who we are, what we believe, our talents and our interests. Here is where we’ll find an onramp to the road we need to take. We find our purpose in our interests, talents and joy; the things that matter to us.

We decide on a purpose, and prepare a plan and start. Once started, we gain momentum, and as we move forward, we adjust our plan as needed. We get our persona and soul working together, projecting one face, one attitude. When we focus on the important things, we find it much easier to deal with the distractions in life.

The artful use of irony in our life is to find the contradictions before they become the reality. Being human, we tend to be subjective about ourselves. We assert objectivity toward others; we are very good at seeing the contradictions, and ambiguities in the lives of others, but seldom, if ever, shine that light of objectivity in our own direction. When we do, we are apt to see an irony or two. Using the light of objectivity in our life to find the contradictions is an artful way of using irony.
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We tend to follow whoever and whatever looks good to us

We need to take a close look at who we are, what we believe, our talents and our interests

Once started we gain momentum as we move forward

To find the contradictions is an artful way of using irony

Ironist vs. Cynic

Irony as a word has a great sound... Say it aloud; it has a good, solid sound.

Ironist, a person who uses irony, also, a good sound, and makes a great label; cynic and jaded, not so much.

True irony is about perception and separation; the ability or gift of being able to see the difference between appearance and the real or true. You may say that seeing the ironic is an attempt to find the truth, an attempt to distinguish between the presentation and the message; between the appearance and the reality.

When we say one thing and mean another, it may be an attempt to warn others that things are not what they appear, albeit, an indirect attempt. It may be an attempt to say “Please, take a look! Do you see what I see?”

The cynic on the other hand -- who would rather be called an ironist -- is not a seeker, but a destroyer. The cynic is a pessimist, a doubter, who believes that all people are self-serving regardless of facts to the contrary. The only sincerity they show is in seeking their own ends.

The main difference between an ironist and a cynic is that the ironist doesn’t make up their mind about a person or situation, but questions appearances. The cynic, on the other hand, is convinced of the self-serving purpose before any facts show up. Cynics are inclined to believe the worst. Ironists observe and question before they decide what is positive or negative.

A true ironist is looking for the truth in a situation; the cynic already has decided what the truth is.
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The ironist is an optimist; the cynic a pessimist

Take a look! Do you see what I see?

Cynicism is an attitude; Irony is a technique

They observe and comment, but stay aloof

I'd like to hear from you.
Please send your comments and questions—

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Buy the book 'The Irony Effect' here