How to Use the Various Shades and Styles of Sarcasm

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Reader Comments (52)

Typo in the first sentence.

I'm afraid this was based on a true story.

(Note from Scott: There was a typo, and it has been fixed.)

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZach

"These are but two techniques..."

Aren't there three listed? One for each of the panels before that one?

(Note from Scott: I have now corrected this issue, but it did stand for a few hours, so further comments posted on the issue are valid.)

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTaellosse

Great one Scott. This is an instant classic. (Sarcasm or no? You be the judge.)

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterxjonx

Are these really examples of sarcasm? I think #2 especially is better classified as "passive-aggressive" or "being a smart-ass." There's nothing much sarcastic going on.

In response to the above-mentioned "two techniques" issue: why not just use a smaller font size, or a clever, paraphrase? Instead of "three techniques" how about "three ways." Or just "three."

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Baptist

The smart thing to do is wait until she's a teenager and then make it some big priviledge that you're only allowing it because "she gets good grades" or something.

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris L

Pure genious! Another masterpiece!

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Also, "...and by [the] time she's 16..."

I hate to do this. I really do. But I consider it my sacrifice for posterity, so that in years to come, your valuable collections will be flawless.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatBallou

What if you switch to the imperative tense? Something like "These are but a small sample of techniques. Master them all and you will be more likely to notice when they are used against you."

In any case, I hope that person is not serious/real. "X will just Y, and X does that anyway" - instant justification for everything. "They'll just die, and they do that anyway."

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInnominate

Come to think of it, it all comes to cultural differences. Watching the Simpsons (the episode with the wannabe-grownup girl at school), I was shocked to learn girls don't have their ears pierced when they're young in the States. In Spain female babies get their ears pierced as soon as they're born, almost.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstygyan

How about replacing "techniques" with "methods"?

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Ear piercing (at the lobe) doesn't hurt enough to make one cry. At least, not in my opinion.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraerynne

Awesome as ever. Though with the problem above, you could change two techniques to three methods if that would help.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJimbob

People critique cuz they care ...

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAC

We got our girls' ears pierced on the same day they got their immunizations. They cried a lot more over the shots. Just sayin'. Haven't done the tattoos yet, but now that you mention it.....

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Miller,0,6794111.story

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterahem...

In response to:

Are these really examples of sarcasm? I think #2 especially is better classified as "passive-aggressive" or "being a smart-ass." There's nothing much sarcastic going on.

I think his statement definitely counts as sarcasm. First, he's trying to imply that he thinks it is a good idea by stating that it is a bad idea. I'm fairly certain this constitutes verbal irony, and that gets us pretty close. To get from verbal irony to sarcasm can be a bit trickier, but I feel that it works in this case. The best way to decide for yourself, in my opinion, would be to read Wikipedia's Irony article, specifically the portion on verbal irony.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHerod Antipas

Maybe it was based on a true story??????

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJRB

This is one of my favorites you've ever done. I literally laughed out loud. Thanks!

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIzrun

I didn't realize this site was web comics by proxy. I think you should make the protagonist black.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdude guy

Shortly after reading this comic, I ran across THIS reddit post about a man who tattooed a 1 year old.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhoenix,0,6794111.story


Our three modes of sarcasm are strongly agreeing with a bad idea, false misunderstanding, and illogical conclusions...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclueless noob

<A href=",0,6794111.story">life imitating art

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentererikp
March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Tattooing the baby isnt just sarcastic any more ...,0,6794111.story

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrucetheQuokka

Hey Mike,

Just stumbled across your site and have been laughing myself silly in your archive. Thanks a ton!

But I noticed a thread running through your comment sections - does it seem to you that there is an inordinate number of people more concerned with your grammar/punctuation/spelling than with your work? Do you consider that a positive (they expect you to be fantastic every time so it goes without saying) or is it intended to be a running gag or are they just simple people of the common clay, you know, morons?

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSillyus

@stygyan: It really is. My sister and I got our ears pierced soon after we were born...

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterR.C.

I had a boss who dressed his newborn son in overalls and itty bitty workboots to make sure nobody would mistake his infant for a mere female.
Behind his back, everyone ridiculed the father's insecurity.
I'm not sure why it's more acceptable to dress newborn girls in tutus and pierce their ears before they get out of the fiddling stage (when it's so easy to infect a piercing because they won't stop tugging on it) than to put boots on boys years before they can walk.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDee

When did the comments section become a "writers' workshop"? And if that apostrophe is in the wrong place, don't tell me.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeric

aerynne: um, I guarantee you that if you pierce a baby's ears, the baby will cry. You see, they are not people attempting to appear bad-ass and tough on the internets. They don't know that it's uncool to cry at painful stimuli like having a metal rod shoved through a body part.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhannah

@hannah, I agree. I waited till I was 12 to get my ears pierced (my sister's had them done at 6) and I thought it hurt like hell. I can't see a baby not bawling through that, considering they cry over simple things like dropping a toy.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterQueenofmuffins

The reason we're offering grammar suggestions is that we know Basic Instructions is awesome, but also that Scott won't necessarily catch every mistake. Every mistake he fixes makes BI even more awesome. There's a difference between offering helpful criticism ("Hey Scott, you may not have noticed...") and being an ass. If he doesn't want to fix what we think is a mistake then he won't; there's no need for internet vigilantes to patrol the comments, protecting Scott from grammatical criticism.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInnominate

Most of the time anyone I've seen had their lobe pierced, the piercing was too quick to get a reaction other than "... What. That's it?" The 1% that do cry, do so due to fear of pain, not due to the actual pain of the piercing.
Then again, I haven't seen a baby get a piercing, but that's irrelevant because a baby would naturally cry at plenty of stimuli.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteraerynne

Why do people rip apart your comic so much!? Who cares if there is a typo. I dare that they should do better.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDJKJR

Mega LOL's for this comic, and appreciative chuckle for the Monty Python reference upthread.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwootroot

I got my ears pierced when I was two and I am American through and through. I don't remember it so I guess it didn't hurt that bad. :)

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJillian

Correction for panel 4:

The word is spelled like so: judgment.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrench Friescream Man

Actually, I had my ears pierced when I was six weeks old, and I am really thankful for it. There is less of a chance for infection, I didn't pick at it like I would if I got it done when I was older, nor did I scream and whinge, and now my piercings will never close up, no matter how long I go without earrings in.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLadyV

I think the people who make correction suggestions do it because they believe (and I think correctly) that anyone whose webcomic motto's is "You will learn" is interested in getting it right. I think it's unfortunate how many people you meet in the world who aren't interested in improving their grammar, as if their ignorance of their own language is a badge of honour.

BTW, Scott, second to your amazing sense of humour, one of the reasons I love BI so much is because you have so few errors, and, when you have one pointed out, you take steps to fix it. Keep up the excellent work. They will learn. I hope.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstevetassie

When I got my ears pierced (it was a short-lived fad for me), I felt absolutely nothing. I felt the very slight extra weight of the stud in my ear, but no pain at all.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrowlord

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