recognizing sarcasm



On Tumblr, a lot of people seem to communicate happiness by exaggerated displeasure. Like, if a fic has made them sad or someone’s art is just *that good*, they’ll comment “SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY” or something like that. But I’m always afraid to send things like that because I’m afraid it’ll be mistaken for genuine hate. What is a good way to make it clear that I actually really like what they do while keeping that sort of mock rage? Or should I just not bother?
realsocialskills said:
I don’t know, and actually I often have a lot of trouble telling whether someone is intending to complain about something or praise it when they’re talking that way.
Do any of y’all know how to tell the difference, and how to be clear about which one you mean?

kingwiththekey said:

In my experience, certain things will almost always clue in to it being a positive response. The example “SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY” is a good one because “I didn’t need my heart anyway” always means that something has been good. This is usually part of communicating that the thing has made them feel an intense emotion, that could be perceived as negative, but in a positive way. These all refer to situations where the subject matter has been potentially angsty.

  • “I didn’t need my heart anyway”
  • “This hurts me”
  • “No, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done”
  • “Literally crying”
  • “You’ve killed me, I am now dead”
  • “I was not prepared.”
  • “Slow down”
  • “You need to not”
  • “Just stop.”
  • “This hurts my soul”
  • “I’m done, I’m so done”
  • “I can’t even”
  • “I’ve lost the ability to even with this”
  • “You took my ability to can.”

Those all indicate, in every instance I’ve seen them used, that the person saying it is meaning to praise the thing. Generally speaking any reference to the following will do the same:

  • my feels
  • flailing.
  • fangirling
  • wailing
  • tears
  • my heart
  • use of the word “ow”
  • dead

These are usually combined with several other phrases, usually very explicitly aggressive ones, like “screw you,” “fuck you,” “what’s wrong with you?” and those sorts of things. There are a few phrases that can be in a grey area, but when combined with the rest are usually clear, things like “What gave you the right?” are common. 

Grammatically odd structures like “I am cry” and incomplete sentences like “so much pain” are used in this way to further indicate the lack of serious, literal meaning to these responses in favor of specific subculture meaning.

These types of messages also usually contain needless capitalization and fairly meaningless superlatives, like “omg” “whoa” and other expressions of disbelief/strong emotion: “fucking hell,” “holy fuck,” etc.

Indicating some action you’re theoretically doing by putting the words between dashes or astrices is something that is usually done at the same time and good for making it clear as well. Such as:

  • *crying*
  • *dies*
  • -flailing-
  • -fangirling-
  • *rolls into the floor*

These things are all exaggerated expressions of emotion that are expected and legitimized in terms of tumblr culture.

A slight variation on this is using sarcasm in tone, while still using dramatic language, like “No, that’s okay, you can totally stab me in the heart with these feels. That’s fine” or “Nope, not crying at all. That’s fine, I didn’t need a heart” or “Welp, I’m dead. *Flies off into the sun*.” or “Well fuck you too then” but that last one is risky, and really, really needs the word “too” and is best expressed in the tags after reblogging or in a reply to the post, not in a message about the post.

So, some practical examples of how to put this together would be:

Situation A: A person has written something very angsty about your OTP


Sample message 2: That’s alright, not like I needed my heart for anything anyway. You can totally just stab me right in the feels. Not like I wanted to do anything but cry and flail today.


Sample message 4: -flailing- MY HEART -rolls out the window-

Situation B: A person has posted a screenshot of something very emotional on a show you watch and added song lyrics to make it more emotional.

Sample message 1: OMG HOW DARE YOU? *crying* MY HEART!

Sample message 2: WHOA FRIEND SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!!! 

Sample message 3: owwwwwwwwwww -sniffles- god it hurts.

The other main time that this custom is used is to express that someone has simply done something well/is something very good and you are jokingly jealous and/or angry about their talent. In this case, we see more expressions of anger and disbelief. 

  • “Oh my fucking god, you did that with an ink pen??? Holy fuck!”
  • “Fuck you and your artistic talent.”
  • “I hate you! How the hell did you write something that perfect?!”

The trick to using this successfully is to be very specific (like adding the “and your artistic talent”) and over use praise words about the actual work (perfect, amazing, wow, etc)

  • “Fuck you and your perfect shading!”
  • “Oh my god I am so jealous just stop okay you’re amazing just no.”
  • “I fucking hate you your gorgeous fucking human being with your perfect smile.”

Those are a few examples of how to use that in different situations, the first being about shading of a drawing, the second being a generic work of some kind, and the third being about a person’s looks. The third is less common, but it does happen. 

It took me a while to pick this up, but I seem to have been using it successfully for some time now and I haven’t run into any problems using the things I included. I hope this helps. And I’m sorry this ran on for so long, goodness gracious I had a lot to say. 

realsocialskills said:

Thank you for explaining. Most of this makes a lot of sense to me, although I think there is a lot I still do not understand about this idiom.

I’ve also seen some of those phrases used actually-negatively, particularly:

  • “I’m done, I’m so done”
  • “I can’t even”
  • “I’ve lost the ability to even with this”



On Tumblr, a lot of people seem to communicate happiness by exaggerated displeasure. Like, if a fic has made them sad or someone’s art is just *that good*, they’ll comment “SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY” or something like that. But…

chordatesrock said:

To err on the side of clarity, I would suggest saying things that are more obviously not something you would say when actually upset. Something actually offensive will not “hit [someone] right in the feels”, for instance.

Context can help; if, for instance, your blog is ilovechordates and you reblog every biology-related comic you come across and routinely squee about the entire phylum of creatures that have a notochord at some point in their lives and how awesome they all are, and someone posts a video of an amazing interpretive dance that somehow clearly explains all the relevant taxonomy while making you question the idea of taxonomy itself, “SCREW YOU AND YOUR PERFECT VIDEO, HOW DARE YOU” would come off better than if you run the aforementioned blog and respond with sarcastic anger to a post about art history.

Also note that that example calls the video perfect. Slip some compliments into your sarcastic anger!

Consider tagging with something unambiguously positive like “amazing art” or “art recs” to clear up any confusion. Also bear in mind that something like “nope nope nope” or “SCREW YOU I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY” is vastly more appropriate in response to a sad piece or a piece with lots of sad dramatic irony (e.g., something about Rachel and Tobias dreaming of a future together after the war, since Rachel dies, or a gifset from the silly earlier seasons of a show that slowly turned sad and angsty) than in response to a happy piece.