Last year, North Korea banned sarcasm in daily conversations. That’s how dangerous (aka effective) they think humor is in dismantling an authoritarian regime. Could it? That question probably warrants another thread of research. But for a second, set aside that giant scary thought you just had about authoritarian regimes and think about this—can you imagine eliminating all sarcasm from your speech?
I can’t. It's too ingrained in American speech patterns and our current style of humor. Sarcastic statements sting because they are laced with contempt.
In North Korea, the consequences of uttering sarcastic phrases would be “enough to make you and your family ‘disappear’ from society and end up in a political prison camp” according to Liberty In North Korea. Meetings were held to warn citizens about saying things like “a fool who cannot see the outside world, ” and “this is all America’s fault” or a version of “Thanks, Obama.”
Words are important, and not just the sarcastic ones. So, our fearless Commander In Chief better be careful saying things like this to North Korea on Twitter:
There’s no sign of sarcasm in this tweet, the contempt is direct. And it sure does make me nervous.