Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sarcasm, Irony... aliens don't "get" it




You Earthlings (humans, Terrans) are a funny lot. You don't speak the same language. You fight incontinently. You don't have a one-world government. You can't decide on one individual to lead you all --you don't even try!

It's no wonder we aliens shrug and go home when our extremely reasonable request "Take Me To Your Leader" causes such confusion and such unsatisfactory and inconsistent responses.

It's never the same leader. It usually turns out that whoever the leader is, he's not the Leader of all leaders. There was once a "she"... We had hopes of her.

And then, there's the human sense of humor. It makes no sense to us. In fact, there isn't just one sense of humor shared and enjoyed by all humans, which would be logical.

Any sentient being can understand that sudden bursts of malodorous gas and floating droplets of unmentionable matter in a confined space (and almost no gravity) are just cause for venting one's strongest and most appropriate swear words or else for laughing in manic despair.

But some of you cannot even talk sense. How is a highly intelligent alien supposed to know when you are using sarcasm or irony?

Do you mean what you say, or don't you? Sometimes, an alien could be forgiven for his confusion. It would be helpful to your alien cousins if you would show your teeth and heave your upper bodies to show that you think you are being pleasantly funny, and that you either do --or do not-- mean what you just said.

Sarcasm is when you Terrans say exactly what you mean, but in such a way that it makes your auditor uncomfortable.

The modern "Duh!" is much more useful.

"No sh-t!" is an obscenity which offends us beyond words, for reasons this alien has delicately hinted at above.

A --presumably rhetorical-- question, such as "Is the Pope Catholic?" or "Does a bear sh-t in the woods?" presumes that aliens have a wide understanding of your different cultures and the sanitary practices of wilderlife.

Besides which, a polar bear on an ice floe probably does not have that luxury. Nor for that matter does a captive bear in a concrete habitat mysteriously known as a zoological garden.

Irony is when you Terrans say the opposite of what you mean, but in such a way that it makes your auditor uncomfortable.

Making someone else uncomfortable, or finding "humor" in thoughts of another's discomfort seems to be a repeating theme.

Now this alien thinks about it, "pleasantly funny" may be an oxymoron ... a logical contradiction in terms.

We will leave you now. But We will be back!


Posted on behalf of a fascinated alien by,
Rowena Cherry
author of the Gods of Tigron trilogy
(Forced Mate, Mating Net, Insufficient Mating Material)

1 comment:

  1. david gray1:18 PM EDT

    Yes, we're confusing. That's what makes us so intriguing as a species, don't you know. Of course, that pales in comparison to our ability to totally corrupt the social order of alien species. You're welcome. It's a gift. ::big ol' Earthling grin::

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