Irony and Superiority, High & Low Culture

Irony and sarcasm are used in everyday life to indicate that a person is in the know and in that way superior to someone not in the know. When I was a preteen I was a member of a stamp collectors club, none of us very knowledgeable about the hobby. One of our members sarcastically noted that a non stamp collector might take a stamp with a reverse postal mark because the stamp had been affixed upside down on an envelope as making it more valuable even though that happened all the time. My fellow stamp collector had immediately turned an insight he had just had into a criticism of people who had not had that insight. He had used sarcasm to establish his superiority. All people fall into that trap from time to time, most clearly and with much consequence when they turn limited knowledge about how government works into cynicism about the political system and so support whomever will overturn the idols.


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