Is Sarcasm the New Authentic?

Pamela Chan,

For a few years the buzz word has been all about authenticity.  Be authentic! Read “don’t be fake! Show your true self. Engage openly and honestly. Don’t hold back!” I just knew, when I heard this, that it couldn’t last forever. We won’t keep prattling on about authenticity because it all feels a bit artificial and contrived.  If you are authentic, you will get more customers/readers/business and even make more money. (If you’re taking the model that far.)  Nobody is saying this outright but it certainly is the subscript to the conversation. Put differently, if authenticity didn’t lead to these types of results, would we talk about it as much?

Lately I’ve noticed an increased use of a different approach – humour laced with sarcasm. Card carrying and proud of it sarcasm.  It’s a voice that is creeping into everyday conversations. In order to get the plot you need to have a sense of humour and not take life too seriously. Gosh, the opposite approach must be pretty uptight and dull. Let’s all get on board!

Who isn’t up for a good laugh? Patch together a meme with a touch of sarcasm, throw in a good wine reference and you’ve got yourself a viral post on Facebook. Heck – maybe you’ve even got a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account that will be a runaway success.

Be sarcastic. Show your bite. Take on the nasty stuff. Say what nobody else is going to dare to say. People will thank you.

And guess what? They do. If you take this path you will get more readers, more traffic (website speak for business that encourages corporate business) and  even make more money. I won’t toss clients into this equation as it doesn’t seem to fit, somehow.

Maybe you could even be true to your authentic self in the process.

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Look at that mum who dresses up every day just to take her children to school.  What is it with prima donna mums these days?

Man these year end events are a killer.  Think recitals, sports finals et al. Let’s stop pretending here.

Look at that parent signing her son up for music class already.  Isn’t she also a #soccermom, #hockeymom AND #baseballmom? We spent wacks of cash on arts classes for my two when they were small and they couldn’t give a toss about the arts now.

She celebrates Girl’s Day? And St. Patrick’s? And Chinese New Year? And Orthodox Christmas? And St. Nicholas Day? And Santa Lucia? AND there’s a Boy’s Day too? Are you KIDDING me? Aren’t Christmas and Halloween enough for her? Hashtag #overkill!

Lordy, another Pinterest perfect holiday themed loot bag from Made It Myself Mommy. The kids couldn’t care a less about that ****. Enough already! I’m Instagraming this right now. I mean pinning. No wait tweeting. Oops sorry… this is going in my next post.

Oh yes I did click that button.  I’m so done with her dog (cat… parrot… baby… child… vacation… baking…” look at how much I’ve grown in my garden” ….) photos.

Ten Reasons to Unfriend Parents for the Posts They Share.  Who’s got the time time to customize their news feeds. Get a grip, Mark Zuckerberg.

Who’s that Chatty Cathy who hasn’t got all eyes on her child?  Does she think she’s at a cocktail party? Her child just touched a cupcake! Did you see that?!  What kind of mother doesn’t watch her own children?

Ten types of mums at the school gate.

Ten types of annoying mums at the school gate.

Ten types of annoying mums in parent councils.

Ten types of annoying mums who volunteer.

Ten types of all time annoying mums.

Let’s not stop there. There must be many more categories of annoying moms.  Let’s unpack them all!  Don’t forget that we can also diversify by moving on to other non-parent related topics.

Top ten year end teacher gift fails

Worst Flying With Other People’s Children on Board nightmare stories.

Oh, right – these are really still about the parents.   You’ll notice that most of this content is written by mums and is about – for the most part – other moms.  Men do weigh in, of course, but how often are they speaking exclusively about dads?  That’s a whole topic in itself.

So where does this leave us?

Yes, there’s free speech. No harm done, right?  Who are we to judge? Because yes, there’s TETO –  To Each Their Own.  Although couldn’t we come up with more creative ways to respond here?  TETO called and is begging to retire due to overuse.

Posts I see regularly on social media come from not one but many female voices. “Oh wait. These are online magazines. All of these women are going at these topics in the same way.”

The prickly part about this  approach is that it’s conformist.  And conformity needs to be disrupted whenever possible. By slamming people for values and goals that are other than your own, this sets up a Must Follow standard.  You can’t do X or you will be perceived to be Y. You can’t enjoy Z. Or A or B.   You must never … shouldn’t…. daren’t…. That’s the subtext to all of these reshared opinion pieces.

Because none of us are helicopters.  We all free range. That buzzing noise is… you know… elsewhere.

And don’t think that you can complain about these observations.  That would just prove that you’re uptight and have no sense of humour. Plus you’re denying other people the right to have an opinion – even a laugh.  EVEN a laugh that’s pretty much at your expense.

Oops, we’re not supposed to highlight that part.

So remember. Don’t be the nail that sticks out because if you do, you just wait. No one will hammer it down.  Our trusty social commentator will always take the more passive approach and might even sneak a photo of you, editing in a badly blurred out face later on. Some quiet onlooker will be writing/posting/tweeting/Instagramming/Facebook updating/Tumblring about you just as soon as they can get to their phone.

Which will be just about….. ah there it its… NOW!

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