Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sarcasm, just another service we offer

An article in last weekend's New York Times Magazine suggested that marketers target pregnant women. Get them in the door then, when they're buying all sorts of gear, and you could have a customer for life. I remember wending my way through those gear buying years. Did we need a pram, a convertible stroller, an umbrella stroller or a jogging stroller? Or all four? High chairs. Boosters. Bouncy chairs or swing? Child proofing gear for cabinets and stairs and outlets. Slings, front packs, back packs, stroller packs. Thermometers — forehead or ear? Medicine droppers and spoons. The amount of gear aimed at making life easier (?) for parents of infants and preschoolers is astounding.

Parents of teens are out of luck. No helpful parenting gear for us. They don't make the sort of thermometer that would be most helpful, one that measures a teen's emotional temperature. And they don't make a sarcasm detector. As The Boy and I made dinner the other night, and I tried to figure out just how much sarcasm a particular comment was meant to convey, I lamented aloud the lack of appropriate instrumentation. I wanted some sort of gauge that could give me a percent sarcasm reading: "82% probability this comment is intended to be sarcastic, respond seriously at own risk." Head's up display, preferably!

For another look at sarcasm, read Joe Simmons SJ in the Jesuit Post: Sarcasm Part 2: Simpsons, Seinfeld and St. Ignatius' Response to Cynicism. Note the sarcasm detector I covet in the illustration!


  1. I loved that post from TJP... excellent.

    (So you have a sarcastic teenager too!)

  2. Not one, but two teens live here!

  3. Julianne5:00 AM

    Something to tell a teenager's mood? Where can I get one of those? It would be nice to have a prediction monitor thign so that I know that an explosion is coming in the next minute. Sometimes these moods come out of the blue!

  4. Just for the record, once they hit 20, the sarcasm sticks around. My older son is quite fluent in it ;)

    I'm clicking over to the NYT article now, since one of my freelance jobs is writing copy for a website that markets baby gear to young parents. It's quite at odds with my own "KISS" attitude toward that stuff sometimes! (And no, I have not and hope never to have to write about why you need a "wipe warmer.")

  5. Barb, I'm a KISS fan as well. Who wants to drag all that stuff around!

    And thanks for the heads up about the certainly shows no sign of abating.