According to Fowler's Modern English Usage, sarcasm is to faults
as what intellectual stance is to morals?
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
The critically-acclaimed board game
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
According to Fowler, sarcasm is directed
towards people's faults and cynicism towards their morality.
What about ridicule? Sarcasm would seem to involve
the verbal expression of feelings as would ridicule. Cynicism can easily be
expressed through a leer, and doesn't need a verbal expression.
Don't agree! Cynicism can
be directed toward morality as well as amorality and sarcasm can be directed
toward people's faults as well as their strengths. It seems moot to
What edition of fowler?
like a lot of his stuff, what was correct 50 years ago sounds dated and
pedantic now. personally, I love the distinction, and think it
equally be directed toward a person's virtues; cynicism may equally be directed
toward a person's lack of morality.
No, the parallel is improper - faults are by
definition undesirable, whereas morality is neutral. Change "morality" to
"immorality" and you have a more plausible and tougher issue . . .
I can see Fowler's point, although I
don't believe it is a necessary one. I think I can be cynical about faults and
sarcastic about morality just as easily as the other way around.
Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.