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When I was in college, a 16 year old girl promised to marry me. She wanted to name our baby “Sachin”. I believed her.

When a policeman once asked me whether I’d like to get my passport on time, I smiled with gratitude and slammed the door on his face.

When I once read, “Ron Paul is a gynecologist, and he is self-taught.”, I did not understand why this evoked laughter in an audience. I still do not.

I’ve always had a tenuous understanding of sarcasm and double-speak. I take words literally. When I was a child, it took me many years to understand hidden insults. 

I’ve never had it any other way. I was not sarcastic as a child. I was too innocent to understand the art of insinuation. When a teacher was sarcastic to me at 9, I understood her only a year later. When I fully understood her, I felt numb, as if I were struck by lightning. I stood still, staring at my coconut tree. It was too late, because I’d left that city and moved into another school. There was nothing much I could do about this. This was deeply unsettling. Continue Reading

Books, Uncategorized


43-1A conversation that ensues when Peter Keating, an architect tries to send his wife, Dominique Francon, to the newspaper publisher Gail Wynand’s  bedroom, for a building contract. Enjoy Gail Wynand torturing this architect:

“I’ve heard about your brilliant sense of humor, Mr. Wynand.”, Peter Keating said.

“Have you heard about my descriptive style?”

“What do you mean?”

Wynand half turned in his chair and looked at Dominique, as if he were inspecting an inanimate object.

“Your wife has a lovely body, Mr. Keating. Her shoulders are too thin, but admirably in scale with the rest of her. Her legs are too long, but that gives her the elegance of line you’ll find in a good yacht. Her breasts are beautiful, don’t you think?” Continue Reading

Books

Sarcasm and socially unacceptable behavior has nearly ruined my life in all normal ways. It has also made it incredibly amusing and funny on a deeper and much more important level.

As every human action boils down to trade, I have to admit that overall my strategy was not at all a rip-off. In fact, it was a wonderful deal, a reasonable trade-off.  I have behaved in such a manner for various reasons which are rather complicated. I would say it is often because of my honesty, good-will, benevolence, deep love for humanity-and of course, my naïve, gullible nature!

It is often said that “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”. We also hear “A sarcastic person has a superiority complex that can be cured only by the honesty of humility.” I have always wondered whether there could be notions which are so far from the truth. How someone of normal intelligence can seriously hold any of these moralistic, “church sermon” like rationalizations is completely beyond me! Rational inquiries of moral philosophers were confined to politically correct, “mushy” virtues like unconditional love, kindness, compassion and benevolence. Even moral philosophers who took pride in their political incorrectness had confined their rigorous analysis to more worthy virtues like integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride and of course, selfishness. Very few have anything good to say on one of the most feared, despised, sickening, malevolent, humiliating form of doublespeak which makes people flee and shun the light of the day: sarcasm. When even apostles of selfishness like Nathaniel Branden say “Aside from cases of violent coercion, as when someone points a gun at you, you are responsible for your reactions. No one “makes” you become sarcastic”, we should know that the fate of sarcasm is bleak indeed. A bit of iconoclasm is therefore in order.

We might say that sarcasm is a “conversational scapegoat”, and unfairly so. The socially beneficial effects of sarcasm need to be defended hard. Sarcasm goes against the inflicting person, but it helps the truth reach him faster, in ways which are not too obvious. A man faces a painful dilemma when he faces deeply insulting sarcasm. He is compelled to prove his backbone by a tight slap-or he can listen silently, smiling like an imbecile thinking he is being smart & tactful. The sad fact is that it proves that he has neither intelligence nor a backbone, as the one who hurled the insult might know too well that it is true and didn’t expect a slap, precisely for that reason! I remember an instance when I hurled an insult which hits where it hurts the most-family, and the victim listened silently, not out of fear of a more public humiliation, but because he knew it was just another general, categorical statement intended at no one in particular- and because only truth hurts-and because he was a man of immense self esteem. Well crafted sarcasm puts such a person in the position of a mink that walks blindly into a scented trap. If it hurts so much, it can only be because it is true and such sarcasm deserves the highest praise, not condemnation. Given certain narrow assumptions, truth as such should never hurt the innocent. Like happiness, “Truth” should be considered an Aristotelian “chief good”, pursued for its own sake. As scathing sarcasm is often truth, it should be ranked higher. Continue Reading