Hello! welcome back from the holiday break. I trust you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to start the new year with My Mean Streak.
Or maybe you are like my Mean Streak who needed a good swift kick in the ass to get going today.It’s become a little placid in the last couple weeks and didn’t even want to get out of bed but with moans and groans it’s here. We had a come-to- Jesus and I don[t think I will have any more problems with it… at least not today. In fact it’s been fairly active today although not in the best sort of mind frame.
Anyways, I hope you all are comfortable and have your notebooks and pens handy. Today’s lesson is a mid-level difficulty technique. I questioned whether we should start slow again after 2 weeks off but I am confident you all will get right back into the groove of things.
Today’s lesson is; The Art of the Sarcastic Retort or how to bounce back from a sneak attack and get back on the one up. or How to be rubber.
To fully understand the nature of the beast and be skilled at using it at the proper time we must first fully understand what is the meaning of sarcastic retort.
We have discussed sarcasm at length so I think you all understand how that works. The difference between sarcasm for fun and biting sarcasm and when each is appropriate. Technically, by definition the humorous use is irony while the biting is indeed sarcasm but it’s just easier to make it all sarcastic and differentiate within that heading. At least I think it is. You are more than welcome to use the different words if that’s how you want to roll.
Biting sarcasm as we know is not a nice thing at all. Its designed to… well, bite. So we don’t like to use it if it can be helped and the lesson today can sometimes be misconstrued as biting sarcasm if not used correctly so I do urge some practice with it before trying it out in the real world.
re·tort Noun /riˈtôrt/
- A sharp, angry, or wittily incisive reply to a remark
- she opened her mouth to make a suitably cutting retort
synonyms: answer, repartee, rejoinder, comeback, witticism.
- to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
- to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
- to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
It’s my world and My Mean Streak and who is teaching this lesson anyways? Yeah that’s what I thought. I offered the dude the option to teach the class himself if he chose. Needless to say, he didn’t take me up on the offer. He is now one of the best retorters I know.
In the interest of being brief, which is always a goal of mine you know, from here on out, I will just refer to it as retort. Being redundant in the beginning is because often until the retort is explained it is thought only to be an answer.
If any of you are really on your toes today, you may have noticed that all three of the things we are discussing were included in the last 3 sentences. You can write it out and turn it in for extra credit if you like.
Also, off topic for just a moment, but of some interest I’d think, retort has other meanings which are:
- A container or furnace for carrying out a chemical process on a large or industrial scale
- A glass container with a long neck, used in distilling liquids and other chemical operations
In a nutshell folks, what it is, is the more intellectual equivalent and more superior delivery of
I’m rubber your glue. What bounces off me sticks to you.
It can often be humorous, expanding on our previous lesson of the use of humor and actually is considered an advance lesson in the same category, but typically falls into the – funny for the observers more than the intended target which outs it at a higher level of meanness than just a humorous response.
Have you ever witnessed an argument where one person accuses another of something and the second person’s retort humorously if not so gently puts person 1 in their place? The truly skilled can fling out a retort that there isn’t a possible good response to.
The satisfaction level upon proper delivery can be immensely gratifying to say the least. If done correctly it can give you the one up over the person to whom you are directing it and cause them so much frustration that they cease and desist the behavior that brought this type of response to an active state.
Used in response to idiocy from our friends and family, while it can be a zinger indeed, it should never sink to the level of being the most hurtful comeback you can think of. Ever. This is something the 16 yo and I are working on as he is quite skilled at the retort that is cutting and hurtful. But it’s an ignorant skill, meaning there is no skill involved at all, because he is unable to grasp the concept of biting sarcasm vs wittiness. How ironic.
The retort is a defensive move and not something you would deploy on the offense, reserved for those times when you feel back into a corner and you just need to get out of the corner and get the one up on the situation. It is an excellent choice when you are under an attack that you didn’t see coming and have no other response for other than the stunned, eyes glazed over, mouth on the ground expression. To be stuck in that state is a definite disadvantage and the retort can easily bring you back in to the moment and back in to the game.
A couple of examples and then we will have a few minutes for questions before we wrap it up for the week.
These examples turn the argument back on the person who started it – it is usually just enough confusion to get out of that corner. The person you are retorting to is momentarily confused having expected to point the finger and blame you for everything. Or better yet having expected you to kiss their ass. Remember you are rubber and they are glue…
Attacker: You don’t care!!
- Define care…
- Must be nice to think you know…
- I don’t think you are using the term correctly…
- I don’t? Gee I fooled me pretty good…
- You are right, I guess that is why I try so hard, because I don’t care…
- but you do right? …
- you can’t tell your ass from a hole in the ground…
- You taught me how…
- Getting there….
So there you have it folks, the retort. Sarcastic retort. The examples above although in response to a specific statement are actually interchangeable with almost any accusation or argument. It just takes practice.
I wish we had more time to delve deeper in to this but it’s time to go. Any questions? If you have questions you can always leave them below.
Just remember – be rubber…. feel it live it be it. You are rubber and they are the glue. You are not the glue. DONT be the glue.
It will get you in a bind.