My Mean Streak and the Sarcastic Retort

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/

retorts plural

  1. 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.


  1. to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
  2. to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
  3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
So you see the retort itself whether noun or verb is  sarcastic  and I once had someone raise their hand and tell me I was  redundant in calling it a Sarcastic Retort.  Like I don’t know that Jeez!

 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!!

Possible retorts:  

  • 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.

Class dismissed!


22 thoughts on “My Mean Streak and the Sarcastic Retort

  1. I’m a fan of the non-verbal retort – raised eyebrow accompanied with a sigh and/or headshake (depending on the needs of the situation)
    This was an excellent lesson, Professor Cracked. Well done!

    1. Ahhhhh the non verbal retort – you are well advanced grasshopper… The raised eyebrow is most effective – a whole lesson in itself. Thanks for your rapt attention and perfect attendance… Me thinks the student may surpass the teacher. Lol. The teacher is not as skilled as one would think – ok as she would think but shhhhh don’t tell cause I am hunting wabbits – or something.. 🙂

  2. Yeah, and like I didn’t already know 98.9% of this before… But you’ve put on quite an impressive show here of what I already know. Yep. Impressive indeed.

    So what are ya gonna do now? Retort me?

    LOL! J/K! I’ll be back to sit at the feet of the master here… Wanna come with me? 😉

  3. I am rubber . . . I am rubber . . . I am rubber . . . must remember . . . I am rubber!

    Excellent report on the virtures of a good zinger comeback. I may have to write the retorts you provided on the palm of my hand because I can NEVER think of them until the other person has left the building. My new approach, with 37 anyway, is to pretend that I am deaf and dumb. The deaf part is pretty easy, but the dumb part takes a lot of practice. 🙂

    1. I hate it when that happens – you think of the best retort when the moment is gone… These are not my best work for real I have smoked the retort when I am actually riled up enough to really get going…

      Hmmm I probably shouldn’t smoke retorts… I don’t know whats in it.

    1. hahahahahaa… I almost am tempted to post a footnote to this post with some better than I did examples – just because I was so on it today that I want to share…but ..I won’t
      Perfect usage..smoke and mirrors – beeeeeee rubber n bounce!

      (um that wasn’t meant like outta here or anything. like bounce it off you back to the glue but I bet I didn’t need to explain that huh?)

  4. Damn I wish I would have taken this course before I left my ex!!

    He did teach me one good retort I plan to use some day and will share with you. It too is multi purpose and pretty well stops the argument dead.

    “I am not about to enter a battle of wits with an unarmed person” followed by walking out of the room.

    Good post!

  5. I was wondering if you might help me out…El Guapo and Edward Hotspur gave me quite a bad time the other day, and I thought it might be fun if some of us bloggers who frequently see their sites would mention “conspiracy” or some form of the word in any comment we make on their blog tomorrow. The idea is to get them thinking that it is weird that so many people are talking about conspiracies…but we should still be subtle enough that they won’t figure out there really is a conspiracy to quickly.

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