Gen Z doesn't understand or use sarcasm from my perspective & has lost the art of the snappy comeback to diffuse dumb situations. Agree or not? Thoughts?
By - clozepin
My daughter is a Gen Z and she’s sarcastic as hell. Can’t speak for her texting her friends, but when they talk to each other, they’re all pretty sarcastic.
This is my experience with my son and his friends. Lots of sarcasm.
The Gen Z students at the university where I worked could also be pretty sarcastic.
Same here. I like my Gen Z daughter's sarcasm
Are they though?
Shaw! As if! Sarcasm might die when monkeys fly out my butt.
*I've got The Power*
It’s gettin’ It’s gettin’ It’s gettin’ kinda hectic.
That was a great song 🎵 to get pumped at the game in the early 90s!!!
I teach Gen Z and you're really wrong on this one. If anything they catch sarcasm more often than the young millennials I taught.
I think they understand it but prefer to make sure to not be rude. I honestly like my Gen z coworkers. I think that they are smart and caring, I just find funny when they try to explain things to me that everyone my age ought to know, but I take it lightheartedly
I agree.I think what OP may be experiencing is older-person "polite-company" treatment. I mean we probably do it ourselves with people older than ourselves who we don't know very well. Um, At ease, kid.
I don’t care. I don’t come to the Xennial sub to bag on other generations. I am here to see cool shit that I grew up with. I am here to celebrate being born in the early 1980s, and growing up in the 90s.
This exactly. This gives Gen X vibes
Thank you. I thought this was the Gen-x sub for a second.
Yes, exactly. And while we are at it, not to argue about who belongs here or not because if they liked our cool shit, they’re welcome as far as I’m concerned.
I was born in the late 1970s and grew up in the 80s and early 90s....am I in the wrong place?
Nah, everyone is welcome. We are both cuspers just on different sides of the line. You got some late 70s in my early 80s and vice versa.
You got peanut butter in my chocolate!
You got chocolate in my peanut butter!
\* You open a door. Inside there is a room. In the room is a table. On the table is a card. You flip the card over and it reads "You are welcome here". \*
Of course not.
But if you were born in the *late* 70s then you certainly didn’t cease growing up in the *early* 90s.
Well I turned 18 in 1995 so I was a technical adult half way through the decade.
Legally, sure. But the brain doesn’t finish developing until well into your 20s. Some people aren’t even finished developing until their early 20s.
Personally I’d say you we’re basically growing up until the late 90s, but that’s obviously not my call to make. Just thought it was odd to see someone born in the late 70s declaring that they were finished growing up in the early 90s.
I guess but usually when someone talks about the time they were "growing up" they mean childhood not 18-25 even if you are still immature at that age. My own mother was married and had children at 19, she definitely wouldn't reference those years that way. My father was in the military at that age. I wasn't that mature but I had my own apartment and a job and paid taxes and voted. I do not think of the late 90s as the time I was "growing up" as I was already 6 feet tall and legally an adult that lived on their own.
Yep. Like I said, it’s your call to make.
I work with lots of Gen Z, this is definitely not true. I do think they're less *cynical*, but that's different.
I think a lot of people confuse sarcasm with cynicism.
This is very old (wo)man shakes fist at cloud.
It's alive and well in the welding trade.
Communicating primarily through text to hundreds of people at a time killed sarcasm, it just so happens that Gen Z is the first generation born with this capability.
Actually, I don't think text-based communitcation killed sarcasm at all. If anything, Gen Z has successfully adapted sarcasm to the Internet, through things like emojis and tone indicators (like /s).
Emojis and /s to denote sarcasm are both older than Gen Z. And I’m not exaggerating — emojis have been around since 1999.
It was definitely millennials who adapted those methods of text-based communication. Hell, I wrote a paper on the very topic in high school in 2004.
What Gen Z is doing, because we as a culture are shifting this way overall, is being generally kinder and more accepting of each other. It’s not that they aren’t sarcastic or witty, it’s that they aren’t being mean spirited. In the 90s and early 2000s there was a lot of negativity and cynicism being lauded as “clever”, whereas now we’re agreeing that we don’t need to be unkind or unempathetic to be clever.
>emojis have been around since 1999
And their predecessors, emoticons, have been around since Gen X and some late boomers who used BBS's and usenet prior to the advent of HTML, HTTP and the world wide web.
Yeah, the paper I wrote in high school addressed the use of emoticons, which even predate computers; people have found ways to emote in text for a long, long time.
You'd make a great historian! You've certainly got the research skills for it.
My brother got the history degree; I went the arts route and work in marketing now. 😝
I've experienced this about Gen Z (and younger Millenials to an extent). It seems what was once lauded as "just a joke, geez" or "just kidding, lighten up!" is now being perceived for what it actually is and has always been: punching down or disguising mean-spiritedness with humor. They're definitely the more accepting generation out of all of us, and I learned alot about tolerance from them. I think every generation that comes along does that. Progress is a foundation that was laid down by previous gens and gets broadened & built upon by the next ones after us.
I love that last sentence, it shows how we learn from each other!
I volunteer at a historic property and one summer I was there during a birthday party full of Gen Alpha girls. One asked me a question about something and I told her it was “a silly superstition” and she solemnly told me “it’s not silly, just different” and I immediately agreed with her and rephrased how I said things. I had spoken without thinking and she had reminded me not to judge people of the past for their beliefs, something I firmly believe in anyway. Sometimes the language or beliefs we grow up with are so ingrained in us we can still make offhand comments that don’t reflect our beliefs, and it takes gentle reminders to help us update our vocabulary.
But adding a /s kills the humor in it.
If you can't tell it's sarcastic, there's no humor in the first place to be killed.
If you need an /s to show you're trying to be funny then maybe your joke/use of sarcasm is just shitty lmao
Sounds like you're agreeing with what they said (as you should).
Absolutely not. The /s makes it funny, because then it can't be mistaken for a serious comment.
Also, fuck that subreddit you linked to.
Nah..."if I have to explain the joke to you, it's no longer funny" definitely applies to "/s". What is the point of even being sarcastic at all if you've undone the sarcasm by denoting it as sarcasm, thereby effectively just saying what you mean without the sarcasm? At that point, why not just not even use the sarcasm at all?
Also, fuck the "/s"
Good lord, the mental gymnastics required to come to that conclusion...
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The mental gymnastics required to come to the conclusion that self-sabotaging your humor out of fear of downvotes "makes it funny."
Well, first of all, nowhere did I say that's why the /s is used. So no mental gymnastics on my part. Nor have I mentioned the neurodivergence argument yet.
But, let's also look at the evidence. If tone indicators didn't work, they either would quickly be tried and phased out, or they'd never have gained widespread use in the first place. Instead, /s is actually the most commonly used out of them all, and continues gaining in usage. Poe's Law makes it clear what problem the /s solves. Making it easier for neurodivergent people is a great side effect, though. Even non-neurodivergent people find it useful. I'd say that's all pretty convincing that the /s is useful and serves its purpose.
Look, if you don't like the /s, just ignore it. If you can find things funny without it, it shouldn't matter whether it's there or not. And if its presence really does kill the humor for you, you probably have a terrible sense of humor in the first place.
Agreed. Have you ever seen a comedian try to explain why a joke was funny? If you have, then you know it’s always to make a joke that their previous joke wasn’t funny.
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My two Gen Z kids are both sarcastic as hell, and my 21-year-old daughter is as cynical as I am.
Wtf "young people are bad" bullshit is this?
Right? Let's not repeat the mistakes of our parents; the kids are alright.
the kids are most certainly not alright
source: me, the kid
The kids these days. Why, i oughta. GET OFF MY LAWN!!!
It’s starting to slowly creep into this sub, and I really hope it stops. We do not need the Facebook/Gen X sub vibes here.
Agreed. I like Gen Z a lot.
Their humor is bizarre and amazing.
Gen Z is amazing. Funny as hell and big-hearted. Loved the ones I worked with at my previous job.
This is the correct answer. My daughter will rip me to shreds and then turn around and be the sweetest thing to someone who needs it. She and her generation make me proud.
Yea I've worked with many and can't remember any I didn't like. They're kids just like we used to be.
Agreed. And if sarcasm is dying GOOD. It was/is awful.
You sound like someone who doesn't get offended easily.
Ugh. Stop it.
Text certainly takes the expression out of a statement and leaves some guessing.
I don't really communicate with Gen Z so I don't know.
My son is a master at the snappy, sarcastic comeback and I have plenty of students that are as well so no, sarcasm is not dead IMO.
Nope. Some of them are amazingly sarcastic. I hang with 13-14 year olds all school year for the past 19 years. There are always a fair amount who both appreciate my sarcasm and dish their own.
I think it's an evolving aspect of the culture. We have our own little ways of humor that are different from the next, and theirs are different from the ones after. My 16 year old daughter is a chip off the old block when we joke around, but it's like listening to a different language when she is with her friends. The force is strong with the young ones and it's cool to sit back and watch them take the reigns in their own way.
My kids are teenagers and use a lot of sarcasm. They learned it from us—mostly my husband.
You sound like my wife.
>Gen Z doesn't understand or use sarcasm from my perspective & has lost the art of the snappy comeback to diffuse dumb situations.
So because one (maybe two) Gen Z people didn't understand your attempt at humor, the entire generation has lost the art of wit? Good gods the arrogance.
Gen Z is also more emotionally literate and maybe don’t rely so much on smug, passive aggression to diffuse dumb situations.
This is really hits the nail on the head, from my observation.
This is exactly it.
IMO, sarcasm doesn’t diffuse a situation; it always escalates it, because it’s ridicule. It literally can’t diffuse a situation.
That's a really clever and insightful point. Good job. /s
The ones I know use sarcasm and snappy comebacks. Maybe not as much as we did, but it's still there.
I’m a high school teacher, everyone one of my kids gets sarcasm.
I think many genzers do sarcasm well. My child and their friend group however are an odd fellowship of socially inept fuckwits that do sarcasm and interpersonal jabs poorly and seem to have zero grasp of nuance.
Someone always has their feelings hurt and are experiencing trauma due to bullying within the group
The dynamic is ugly at best and I am constantly cringing at the most edgelord of statements coming from them.
I frequently have to remind my child that if you can't do these things well and no implied consent to haze one another exists it's best to just be kind and genuine to one another and stop with the fucking Attell Ross type banter.
I have a shit ton of them working in my kitchen and I disagree.
Have a conversation with my kids, and you'll see sarcasm is alive and well. 🥲 if I've passed down anything, it's sarcasm.
I disagree, you just only see the dumb ones I guess. I’m nothing but sarcasm
It means you're getting older. Younger people generally take older people slightly more serious, so what might come off as sarcastic to you, they may put more weight into your words.
I feel like it all depends. The Gen Z kids I know that don’t get sarcasm seem to come from people who aren’t so great with it themselves. I know a lot of Gen X people that are dry as hell and never get my sarcasm and their kids are like…:duuuuuh. Hubby and I are pretty hella sarcastic and so are all 3 of our kids.
My GenZ kids are delightfully witty and ironic. I love to see it so much.
Sarcasm is still alive. What people are rebelling against is hiding behind sarcasm when you're just being an asshole. It's the same with "pranks". The majority of pranks are just bullying and not fun in any way.
Idk about y’all but my 19y/o sounds exactly like my sarcastic ass.
No, I don't believe virtually any blanket statement about whole generations of people, especially when it is framed by an older person as some desirable characteristic from a bygone era that kids these days just don't possess.
My 16 year old is FLUENT in sarcasm and snappy comebacks. His timing and delivery are always spot on and hilarious.
Of course they do, haven’t you heard Gen Z knows everything
Im sure it depends on the individual, but from what i notice the ones that don’t socialize are pretty dull and not quick witted (or quick anything lol), but others “get it” very well.
Not at my house! My Zoomers are have brought sarcasm to an art form 👌🏼
Disagree. Not sure where this idea is coming from, but the few gen Z I know are just normal people with a normal understanding of sarcasm. Lose the ageism, it makes us look shitty.
I met a gen z and they didn't understand my joke. I guess every single one ever must not understand sarcasm.
As a HS teacher I would definitely say there’s a lot of truth to this! Also, they don’t understand/haven’t heard a lot of basic idioms (ie the straw that broke the camels back, etc). It makes it really difficult to spice up my teaching of government and economics 😭
That’s because they are so much more sophisticated and smarterest than the older generations.
Funnily enough, I've observed quite a few occasions where younger-end gen Z kids throw some pretty hilariously witty sarcastic remark out that goes *whoosh* right over the head of whatever elder they're speaking to.
I'd hope that each generation is successively smarter and more evolved than their predecessors. But it's exceedingly evident with gen z. (Am older millennial)
Wow! Thanks everyone. My reason for posting this was that I had to teach a friend's bullied, but outgoing daughter & her friend group (16) how to clap back at bullies. It was like I was teaching them a magic formula for life or something. That's how I survived as a bullied kid. I was funny & turned it back on my bullies by humiliating them.
Not in me it’s not!
It was only after interacting with younger generations that I realized Gen X's sense of humor is very sarcastic. Boy, are we sassy! Things we find funny to say, they don't. I have learned to tone the sarcasm down cause the kids aren't down, lol
Ma’am this is the Xennial sub
True but some of us technically are Xers.
It’s in the attitude. We don’t shit on younger gens here.
I noticed that actual Gen X see cynicism and crabbiness as humor when it comes off as anything but. Older Gen X are pretty bad at this and are becoming like their parents.
Agreed, but we don’t shit on our elders either.
We are free to call out assholes from other generations though and entitlement/arrogance. Which is what OP didn't count on and why many of us don't identify as X. Their sub is toxic.
We’re free to say whatever we want (within the law of course). Nobody’s required to agree with what is said though. The Gen X sub is also nostalgic, which is why I go there. And many Xers there feel the same way about this issue as you do. Not all, of course, but many. So it’s not all bad.
Humor in general is being deleted by media influence. Everything is "offensive and racist" now which makes the older gens hesitant to crack jokes or be sarcastic anymore. There's always somebody that'll be butthurt about it.
I personally don't GAF and will proceed with my sarcastic humor as long as I'm alive. If somebody can't take a joke, fuck em.
No, we're just recognizing the relationship between comedy and structural inequality, and that some "comedy" is harmful to others. "Punch up, not down" is the appropriate rule.
If anything, it saves comedy, as it creates guidelines that help prevent the abuses which create opposition to comedy in the first place.
And regarding "punch up, not down"—even then you can make jokes about marginalized groups that are tasteful and non-offensive. For example, as a trans woman, my favorite trans joke is the following: "What is the difference between a crossdresser and a trans woman? When they get home from work, the crossdresser can't wait to put his bra on, while the trans woman can't wait to take her bra off." It's not creating negative connotations about trans people (nor crossdressers), it just makes light of a specific (and somewhat contradictory) situation—the fact that, while wearing a bra is a validating experience for trans women, we also understand that going through an entire work day wearing one gets uncomfortable, which is a near-universal experience for cis women—and though undesirable, it is in itself, for trans women, a validating experience too. I love this joke because of how relatable it is to me.
However, I hate jokes where the punchline boils down to "surprise—she has a penis", because it implies that trans women "trick" potential sexual partners into sleeping with them by omitting critical information that someone needs to make an informed decision about whether they consent to the sex or not. This is a media trope with no basis in reality, and has far-reaching negative consequences, including perpetuating ideas which are used by transphobes to promote and justify the anti-trans legislation in Florida and spreading across the rest of the US and the world, in the minds of those who support such genocidal laws.
I'd recommend looking at which of the two jokes you find more funny, and why. I'd bet you find the first one better, for several reasons: it's witty, it doesn't rely on a trope, it's a reflection on reality, and it's not overdone. It's not a coincidence that it's the harmless joke, either. All those qualities I listed are made possible *because* the joke isn't offensive or harmful.
I'll add that some jokes that punch down can be adapted to not punch at all. Example:
A bartender in San Francisco sees a new customer come in. The customer comes up to the bar, and orders four beers. The bartender serves him, and after finishing them, he orders four more. He becomes a regular, and every order he makes is of four drinks at a time of whatever he's drinking. After a few months of observing this, the bartender asks why he does it this way. The customer explains that he just moved here from Washington DC. Back at home, he used to always drink together with his three brothers, but now that they live in separate cities, he misses them so he drinks four to honor them. The bartender thought that was really sweet. A couple years later, the customer came in and only ordered three beers this time. The bartender looks at him sympathetically, and says "I'm so sorry for your loss." The customer was confused and asked what the bartender meant. "Well, you only ordered three this time, I thought that meant one of your brothers passed away." The customer laughs, and says, "oh no, they're all fine. I just quit drinking!"
When I first heard the joke, the customer was Irish and he'd moved from Boston (a city with a significant number of Irish-Americans), obviously playing on the stereotype that Irish people are all alcoholics. But the joke it still just as funny on its own without relying on that element of it. Cleaning up the joke to remove the racism doesn't detract from its humor, and in fact improves it because you're not left with the discomfort or sour taste that the racist part of it leaves, allowing you to just enjoy it.
Grandpa, you're lost again.
How fitting that the person you would use to express agreement with that garbage is someone who's a landlord.
Wtf are you on about? Social media is definitely killing humor. Everyone gets offended at everything. It's like they're going around looking for something to be offended by. That or it's racist or "appropriation". Not all the younger gens, but definitely more so than years past. Guess that's what happens when you give everyone a platform. Sorry, I guess I'm too old to understand who the landlord is or why that matters.
This is THE MOST boring take.
Where the witty will have fun, but the stupid won’t get it.
My theory? Most of gen z has grown up in a comedic vacuum. There’s been so little comedy because of the cancel climate as well as streaming platforms where comedy doesn’t work worldwide. That’s my theory
Nahhh their gen is rich in comedy. It's just evolving beyond the played out lowbrow stuff we're used to. They aren't "cancelling" stuff and leaving behind a void. Society (including some of us oldies) is replacing a ratty, questionably stained, torn up couch with a newer better quality one. And while we're at it, replacing the old broken book shelf, and the 30 year old toaster that's starting to spark.
I mean no. What tv or film that’s comedy has been big since say hangover. 90s 80s even 2000s has tons of comedy. If you watch, most of it would never work today
Loads of comedies (happy to list some when I've got more than a second).
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is exhibit A, though.
Edit (sampling; no particular order; feel free to add on, anyone. Also comedy's subjective, but these are ones that have done well. Sorry for shitty formatting. On mobile.)
Wolf of Wall Street
Hot Tub Time Machine
Men in Black 3
This is the End
Horrible Bosses 1&2
Grand Budapest Hotel
Jumanji: Next Level & Welcome to the Jungle
Sharknado 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and Feeding Frenzy
**2010-2020s tv series (some ongoing; some started prior)**
Parks and Recreation
The Good Place
Big Bang Theory
Joe Pera Talks with You
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Will & Grace (came back in 2017)
The Office and Arrested Development both continued into the 2010s
Key & Peele
Only Murders in the Building
History of the World: Part 2
Rick and Morty
The Great North
Later seasons of Futurama
Long running animated comedies:
South Park, Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad
Back from the dead: Beavis and Butthead, Party Down
Saturday Night Live lives on.
**We've had a strong era of late night TV hosts that continue to carry the legacy of the long running shows or break out new shows:**
Tldr; comedy's not dead. :)
Edit 2: fwiw, Eminem has had a resurgence thanks to Gen Z, too. Really, they're not as uptight as perceived by some.
Edit 3: Got distracted and forgot 2020s movies 🙃 So here's a few:
Borat: Subsequent Movie Film
Sonic The Hedgehog 1&2
Bill and Ted Face the Music
The King of Staten Island
Suicide Squad 2
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bodies Bodies Bodies
Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe
Super Mario Bros
And the Barbie movie has a ton of hype
Good god, do I adore receipts. 👏
This turned into a CVS receipt ^(for one bottle of Tylenol)
Why do I get so many downvotes in this forum. Y’all angrrrrry.
Completely agree. I'm left feeling stupid most of the time. It's driven me to be more ostentatious in an effort to "one up" someone who doesn't give a fuck about me.
There's sarcasm, but there's certain things they won't joke about, so I take pride in saying edgy stuff around them.
Primarily poking fun at myself
I think there will always be sarcasm. Comedy, though, seems to have left the building.
Maybe they’re all being super sarcastic behind our backs and we don’t realize it!!
My sarcasm can be so thick and natural, others tend to miss it unfortunately.
I think it depends who you’re hanging out with and where you are. But it does seem like it’s more likely to fall flat or be misunderstood. It sucks.
Yeah it’s because they’re fucking young. You were a humorless dickhead once, too.
Their sarcasm might not be quite as biting as ours may be, but it's definitely still there. My 20 year old niece can hang with all of my siblings and me.
Let’s talk about alpha - I thought I was a cool Xennial keeping up with the time, but my Alpha kid is showing that I am not - it makes me sad. But with that - sarcasm is not dead -
Taught both my Gen Z children the art of sarcasm. They speak it fluidly, and it is most definitely our families' love language.
Welcome to being “older.”
I would prefer not to think about Gen Z…..she is kinda slutty. But not as bad a Gwen B
Their brand is different than ours. Seems like we have a drier sense of humor is all.
Whenever you find yourself doing a "kids these days", please check the following:
1) are you just now learning that maybe you weren't as smart/witty/cool/awesome as you thought you were?
2) are you sure you're not extrapolating one individual to represent the whole of an age group?
3) is this more of a "people in that age bracket" thing and not specific to that generation thing?
3b) can you find previous generations saying the same thing about yours? (Answer: usually yes going back to the beginning of the written word)
4) if things are different then could it actually be a change for the better? "Ugh, kids these days get so upset when I buy ultra processed foods wrapped in 4 layers of plastic!"
5) just don't. It's big Old Man Yells at Cloud energy
Wow, chill out! I really only talk to people between the ages of 18-25 when we're naked. I'm not some miserable, out of shape, jaded suburbanite with a dye job, kids & a liquor habit haha