On Authenticity, Part One

No thank you, you don’t look like
you believed me the first time.

One of the less fortunate aspects of this modern world is it’s overwhelming reliance on sarcasm and irony.  Much like the Red Pill itself, once you notice the pervasive use of sarcasm in modern conversation, you can’t NOT notice that it is everywhere.  As a dullard, the source, reason, and rhyme behind the modern tendency to lean heavily on sarcasm is beyond my ken and analysis.  What is clear, even to a dullard like me, is that most of the men most deserving of respect tended to use sarcasm sparingly.  They spoken plainly and meant what they said. 

For men like Cincinnatus, George Washington, and H.L. Mencken, sarcasm was a spice best used carefully and in moderation.  Compare to today’s constant conversation as typified in places like Facebook, Twitter, and what the kids call IRL.  You can’t swing a birthday cat gif without stumbling across a clever sarcastic bit like this one.
The genesis of my own feelings on this matter started when working a stint in San Francisco where a co-worker recommended checking out a long-running stage musical called, “Beach Blanket Babylon”.  My response was as follows:

No, because it sounds pretty gay.  And I don’t mean that in the pejorative sense, just in the descriptive sense.  The radio ad sounds extremely campy and tongue in cheek, as though the producers, stars, and everyone involved lacks enough faith in what they are doing to simply present it for what it is.

That’s a problem for me.  I like stage musicals.  For their own sake.  Not because they are silly and work despite the goofy conventions like people breaking into song and dance at the drop of a hat.  I like them because when done well, the conventions fade and allow the story and the art to take center stage.  People who produce campy musicals lack the elegance necessary to pull off that trick and use camp to disguise their incompetence.

An odd speech to give a co-worker on the way to lunch, but he was warned before I launched into it.  Hopefully it was presented with enough charm and humor that he didn’t think it too terribly strange.

Lately, it seems like more and more people are using sarcasm as a way of avoiding making an actual argument.  To borrow a demonstration from Maddox, this short video on the use of the word, “Really,” as a shortcut to dismissive discourse is illuminating.

Preach it, Brother Maddox.

As a guy whose mid-life crisis seems to be one focused on making himself a better man physically, mentally, and emotionally, this one is a no brainer.  Stand tall, be yourself, and be more forthright.  It’s right there in the Scout’s Code for a reason, after all.

Turns out it is a lot harder to break the habit than expected. 

It’s very easy to just parrot back or rephrase a stupid argument and follow up with a figurative or literal, “Really?”  At first, you catch yourself mid-phrase, stop, and recalibrate.  After a while your brain stalls out before you shoot off your damn fool mouth, and that’s an interesting feeling.  To think, “This is my first instinct, but let’s see if we can turn that around and do it without the snark.”  It puts your arguments on much more solid ground, and leaves no doubt about where you stand.

Not a bad feeling.

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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