People who can’t read sarcasm are the antichrist

by Janelle Hanchett

Did you see what I did there? I used sarcasm to explain how annoying it is when people can’t read sarcasm.

(Actually it was hyperbole but if I say “hyperbole” my joke won’t work and it’s humor above accuracy here, people.)

The point remains: If you read that sentence and are now saying to yourself “Well that’s offensive! My Christian sensibilities are officially offended!”


I don’t know what sort of excessive-focus-on-the-literal death hovel you grew up in, and I suppose I should have compassion for those who lack the ability to see when somebody is fucking joking, but I’ve tried working with you. I’ve tried being patient, but you aren’t getting better.

It’s like you’re not even trying. I write something completely ridiculous and there you appear, eventually, lurking in the shadows of intelligent life, peeking your head around the corner and tapping away, earnestly, just long enough to make me wonder what, exactly, is wrong with humanity. We’re all happy and laughing until BOOM. You appear, with your heartfelt helpfulness and misguided appraisal.

In other words, you ruin everything.


You need to get off the internet.

Or stop commenting. That would also work.

But, because I’m not totally heartless, I’ve decided I’m going to give you a list of pointers to help you read sarcasm because thou shalt love thy enemies or some shit.

Here we go:

Hint #1: If a person openly says something that could get them arrested, there’s a good chance that person is joking. For example, in this post, I suggest that every time your husband pisses you off you should kick him in the balls. Now let’s work through the possibilities here:

Option 1: Woman actually in real life physically abuses her husband then writes about it on the internet.

Option 2: Woman is joking.

Which do you think is more possible? See? This is not hard. This is actually quite easy. You’re going to be fine.



Hint #2: If everybody else on the thread is commenting with words like “LOL” and Buahahahahahaha” and “OMG Dying” and “Hilarious!” and “I needed a laugh this morning,” CHANCES ARE YOU ARE READING A PIECE OF HUMOR.

NASA science right here.

That was sarcasm. Not actually NASA science. NASA science is difficult this is not difficult which is why you infuriate the rest of us with your defective reading skills.

Maybe you don’t think sarcasm is funny. Maybe you think it’s crass and base and unrefined. Perfect. Perfection. That’s amazing.

As long as you know it’s a joke, we’re good. I can work with you.

But that’s the thing, most of your kind don’t even recognize the joke AS A FUCKING JOKE even though the hyperbole is dripping from my fingertips as quickly as the point of life is screaming past your head.

Which brings me to helpful hint #3: If it seems ridiculous, it probably is. For example, in this post I say that all people with tidy houses are lying. Hmmmm. Let’s work through this for a moment. What are the chances I really think having a clean house literally never happens?

Slim, right? I mean, that doesn’t even make sense. You really think an adult human could live her whole life having never witnessed a neat person with kids?

Wait. What’s that you say? Matt Walsh is fucking ridiculous and he’s serious as hell? GOOD POINT VERY GOOD POINT. Some people have absolutely inane ideas and aren’t kidding at all (sadly), which means we have to look for keyword pointers to indicate whether we’re reading a piece of sarcasm or seriousness.

Going back to the “All people with clean houses are lying” concept: After that brilliant assertion, I write:

“You can’t fool me. My light may be dim but it ain’t that dim. Or, I’m wrong. That happens. Been wrong at least 4 times so far this year.”

 BOOM THERE IT IS: “Been wrong at least 4 times so far this year.

Self-deprication. Ridiculousness. “My light may be dim” – I’M CALLING MYSELF A MORON then following it up with “But I’ve only been wrong 4 times this year.”

Please for the love of all that’s holy work with me here. Those words are ridiculous. Those words are giant flags waving in the abandoned desert of your mind. On them are written: This broad is not serious.


But no. You refuse to see it. You insist on writing comments like “How dare you imply that my housekeeping is not real.”

And (this one is direct quote): “Maybe your house, but I know plenty of mothers who have a tidy house, AND have time for their kids. What a negative article!”

Yes, it’s negative. Of course it’s fucking negative. That’s what dark sarcastic assholes like me live for. Why?

Because it’s funny.


I know. This is all very complicated. I’ve written 869 words attempting to help you learn how to read sarcasm/satire/hyperbole and I’m guessing your head is just spinning because throughout this post there are threads of sarcasm and now you just don’t know WHERE to turn – Is she serious or not?!AM IF OFFENDED OR NOT I NEED TO KNOW HOW OFFENDED I SHOULD BE

so to simplify I offer this helpful flow chart.

Learn it. Live it.
Don’t be the antichrist.



  • lucy taylor

    I want you to write all my letters for me (letters of complaint, naturally).

    Brilliantly entertaining as usual, thank you moving me one step closer to needing to buy a box of tena lady’s.

  • Wendy Kelly

    Who introduced me to you? I am so very, very happy to have found my veritable soul sister on the Interwebs.

    Very helpful advice. Thank you.

    • Melissa

      I LOVE when you use your visuals!

  • Laura

    Hahaha!!! I can just taste the irritation and I’ve-had-it-up-to-here-edness. Thanks for saying what the rest of us are thinking when someone like *ahem* “A Clean Mother” decides to take her (or his) sarcasm-clueless defense to the comment board.

  • Susan

    “…which means we have to look for keyword pointers to indicate …”

    people are now looking around my office door to see if I’m ok

    <3 this and will use it in the future during meetings when I am trying to not poke my eyes out – feel that it will lighten the mood considerably, well, for me at least "… let's see if we can find some key word indicators that might lead us to a decision …" smiles to herself

  • erica dee

    this makes me want to go back and re-read the Clean House entry just for the new and evolving commentary. That’s how good you are at this tell it like it is thing.

  • Erin Dixon

    I come here for the sarcasm, as I am just one of the “freaks” you refer to in your flow chart. Flow charts can explain everything, even to the antichrist. Love your work and keep it up!

    • Erin Dixon

      Sorry, “non-freak”!!

  • erica dee

    THAT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. Thanks, ladies, and dude.

  • Phillipa

    How on earth do these people even have time to write idiotic comments when they are spending all their time cleaning their house?!

  • Mary

    HAHAHA. Flow chart: brilliant. Can I just leave this post at the end of every single thing on the internet just to fuck with people? Do you wonder if these humorless ones are the same people who read “The Onion” articles and get all upset?

  • LP

    This is amazing. I will pay you 5 bucks if you send a copy of this glorious piece of writing to those asshats who thought F&CS ought to be involved after reading your last glorious piece of writing…
    you are fantastic, Janelle 🙂

  • paige

    “…the abandoned desert of your mind…” GOT ME SO GOOD.

  • Erin

    … Ummm I can’t tell if you are joking or not…… Should I offended…?

    Wtf?!? Why are those people reading your blog. I love your writing! I love your sarcasm! I love your brain and your heart! I feel like I’m not alone when I read your shit and it makes me happy. So there. Tell it like it is sister!

    And it IS funny!!!!

  • Rachel @ The Mama Files

    YES. YES. YES. Especially love that you took the time to prepare such a well thought-out flow chart 😀

    I am constantly double-guessing myself when I answer questions on my advice column. I think, ‘Yes, I’m being funny (well to myself anyway) and sarcastic but someone is not going to get it and they are going to harangue me on here and on social media about my poor choice of words etc’.

    So thanks for writing something that I can give people who shit me with their serious, earnest and bloody misguided analysis 🙂

  • Bizzie

    I’ve often said, one of the worst qualities a person can have is taking themselves (and others) too seriously. Seriously.

  • Anna

    I HAVE to believe, in order to maintain my faith in humanity, that those “clean moms” that were not pickin up what you were puttin down, if you know what I mean, weren’t being serious, either, and just trolling you. They must be trolls and not idiotic “better than you-ers”. People cannot be that dumb…..right?

  • Sassy Kas

    Pretty much they didn’t pay attention to your comment policy and forgot about not being dicks. Their grandmas must have forgot to tell them if the didn’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything. Parenting is not a competition of who is the better parented family. All the stuff you write about in such a delightful way is real, and real fun to look at life with humor: rather laugh than cry about all the crap in life.

  • Becky

    I love your blog and because of that, I hate to be this person, but I do want to say that there a lot of folks out there on the autism spectrum who actually really have a difficult time recognizing sarcasm. I know these aren’t the people you’re gunning for but I cringe a little bit when I think of how many times they have been ridiculed for this throughout their lives and then read “freak” and “I hate you.”

    I get it, I really do. But they may not. Just a thought.

    • renegademama


      If I only wrote things that offended NOBODY and were relevant to EVERYBODY, I would never write a single word. I can’t protect humanity from that which doesn’t apply to them.

      Thank you,


  • Jessica

    This is the best flow chart ever.

    Can you do one on how to recognize satire articles next? Then I could just link to it every time someone posts something ridiculous and is like, “OMFG this shit is really happening!”

  • Michaela

    Ha ha, that chart should be the official front page of the internets!!!

  • Pam

    I love your flow chart and think that your message needs to be spread all over the globe. One tiny, tiny criticism that I feel that you’ll really want is the suggestion to change the box with the “tiny voice whispering to your” to “tiny voice whispering to you”? I can’t share the shit out of this masterpiece until all of the pieces are grammatically correct. Sorry if that is too dickish.

    • renegademama

      Thanks for letting me know about my typo (it’s actually a spelling error/typo, not a grammatical error – sorry if that’s too dickish HAHA!). I fixed it. Had a terrible head cold/sinus headache yesterday that was making the whole writing thing VERY difficult. Probably should have waited and published today.

      • Pam

        Just the right amount of dickish. Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like you teaching a writing workshop is a good idea. TOTALLY NO SARCASM!!!

        • renegademama

          Oh good! I was worried you wouldn’t think that was funny. Seriously thanks for pointing out the error. I usually wait a day before I publish because errors tend to pop out at me the next day, but I jumped the gun. Someday when I’m rich I’ll have an editor. 🙂 Oh, to dream…

          • Linda Breault

            THIS is a riot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I actually thought to myself when I read the “typo” I WONDER IF SHE HAS AN EDITOR”!!!!! lmfao!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (that was real)

  • kara

    You had me at, “lurking in the shadows of intelligent life”.
    Love the chart!

  • Kirsten


  • Marie

    Wait…I’m confused now.

    I sent the tidy house post to at least 10 people. I need a diagram to understand how someone, anyone didn’t fjnd that funny. Unless truly you have a complex about keeping your house clean…there’s counseling for that.

  • Rose

    LOVE the flow chart! And maybe sacasm is a extremely high form of communication that only highly intelligent people can understand? Just sayin! Keep up the awesome work

  • Jessica

    I love you! Also, bloody hell!

  • Niki

    Laughed so hard I nearly piss myself!So nice to know im not completely surrounded by designer wearing chardy sipping driving the $200000000 range rover!

  • Tanya

    I work with these people…scientists who have never watched a SciFi movie or series in their sad little lives.References like “I’m blown away, much like Alderaan” and photos of old retired seismic vaults that look JUST LIKE FREAKING DALEKS are sadly, lost on them. I am printing your piece and gluing it with Gorilla Glue to my door and I will point to it everytime someone looks at me puzzled and says “huh?”
    Thank you for vindicating me.

  • Amanda

    I honestly hope I never meet anyone who was offended by the Tidy House post. Their life and the lives of their children must be SO much fun!

  • george donin

    I suspect that at least some of the people who appear to misunderstand your sarcasm, are actually trolling you. I.e. entertaining themselves by driving you to distraction.

  • Isabel

    I had to share the flow chart because I do know people like that and they really need to stop fucking up my vibe by interjecting their staid and eye-rolling inducing comments.

  • Heather

    As someone who on occasion tries to have a clean house, let me say that I found your Tidy House entry so inspiring, I STOPPED CLEANING FOR A WHOLE WEEK. You made it sound like so much fun, and it was AWESOME. My kids absolutely loved it. Based on this latest entry, I might start giving sarcasm a try too! Thank you for being an inspiration to mothers everywhere.

  • Erin

    How is it remotely possible that people didn’t get the sarcasm in the cleaning post? That’s like saying you were trying to encourage alcoholism with the “Jack Daniels!” post. (I checked. No one did, thank heavens. I actually find this discrepancy kind of interesting because I’m a nerd.)

    I LOVE the sarcasm here. Keeps me coming back! Why does everything about motherhood and child-rearing have to be so damned serious all the time??? (In fact, I know the answer/s to this question, because I’m a nerd, but it still amazes and irritates me.)

  • Sheridan

    Never mind the bullocks. You rock.

  • Im

    I already LOVE you dark sense of twisted humor.
    This literally made me snort – as in funny haha not funny queer!
    And I almost peed myself with the flow chart!!!
    There are some that need that drawn out!
    I know this but YOU DID IT!
    I love you for it!
    They probably still don’t get it.
    Duck, duck Goose!
    Most time I am kinda tame in my writing but god help when I do a bit deep or holymotherofgod dark sarcasm!!!
    Please keep it up!
    some of us need to know we are not freaking Alone.
    The rest of you bitches please return to your “tidy” homes!
    Stay Fabulous!

  • Alice

    I am so offended by this post that I am calling the cops. Right. Now. Haha. See what I did there? Hyperbole. Love this. Thanks for always making me laugh and feel better about myself as a mother. You are real and fun! Keep it up. I need to make a flow chart like this for my students, who are often too easily offended by reality.

  • Jennifer

    Friggin’ hilarious (like all of your posts)
    Janelle, you’re a treat!

  • Rachel

    Mr Wilde was right and wrong. Sarcasm is certainly the highest form of intelligence. Probably why not everyone gets it. But it is not the lowest form of wit. It’s fucking hilarious!

    ooo and I did a week’s worth of washing up this morning cos I ran out of spoons. I have indeed conquered Everest.

  • Catherine Bardagy Winchild

    My absolute favorite of any post I’ve read of yours. As a technical writer, I completely DIG the flow chart. As a human, I love the ability to just Call People Out On Their SHIT. Well_fucking_done.

  • Wendy

    I love everything you write!! Sorry if not everyone gets it. Too fucking many morons….it’s like your TV, turn it off and don’t watch it if you’re offended!!! Keep it up!!!

  • April

    Jack Daniels.

  • Krystal

    Haha. Love the flow chart! Flow charts make any subject official. Funniest flow chart I’ve seen was in the HS nurse’s office called Is it Herpes? Wonderful : )

  • Frank

    I think that the inability of internet users to interpret the written word posted on websites is a result of their inability and unwillingness to read carefully, to reread if necessary, and to consider the various interpretations of what they are reading, and finally to consider the source of what they have read. Most surfers feel those things are simply a waste of time, and I’m not certain that there is anyway to change the direction that we are moving in, unless we change our system of education – and I’m not certain of how to fix it.

  • Cari

    I have loved every post (and shared many) until this one. You know who else doesn’t get sarcasm (aside from “freaks” and people with an “abandoned dessert” in their minds? People with personality disorders, autism and mental illnesses. And probably lots of perfectly mentally healthy annoying people too. I’m not trying to start a shit show here. I’m not even sure why I feel compelled to comment here. I’m probably in PMS. I really like your writing and sense of humor, just don’t care for the name calling. Or was that just hyperbole?

    • renegademama


      As I mentioned to the other commenter who wrote something similar, I am obviously not speaking to people who cannot read sarcasm due to autism or some other condition that inhibits the comprehension of nuanced writing. I call out a lot of bullshit on this blog as I see it and in many posts engage in name-calling (I’m surprised I haven’t offended you before!). If you read my post on tidy houses, and the blog and Facebook comments, you will see a plethora of seemingly “normal” (whatever that means) humans who took my post 100% seriously and criticized me accordingly including, but not limited to, assertions that I should have my kids removed from my home. They are, as far as I can tell, fucking freaks. Maybe they are autistic (but people who have mental illness and personality disorders can’t read sarcasm? Hmmmmmmm I don’t think so – seems rather presumptive of you to say), and if that’s the case I am an asshole, but I really don’t think that’s the problem. I think they are self-righteous assholes who like to feel superior. Just like me, who likes to feel superior to them because I can read sarcasm.

      So no. The name-calling was not hyperbole. That was me being a dick. OMG NAME CALLING!!


  • Cari

    Janelle, I wasn’t trying to say EVERYONE with autism or a mental illness is incapable of reading sarcasm. Of course I know that’s not the case. I guess I should have clarified. And I didn’t read all of the comments, so I didn’t realize you had already addressed something similar to what I said. I agree that it seems freakish and crazy to suggest your children should be romoved from your home. You’re right, that seems insane and I would be pissed off about it too. As to my above comment, like I said earlier, not sure why I felt compelled to share. I regret that I did. Who cares if I don’t like one of your blog posts? I like most of them. Frankly, I’m having a DAY and I read your post as a little mean spirited and I reacted. Again, who cares. Happy writing to you.

  • Cari

    And to add to that, you obviously receive far more mean spirited and far meanER spirited comments than anything you have posted. I typically don’t read them, so I didn’t have a prior awareness of that. Just trying to drive it home here, my mistake. I reacted. Sorry.

    • renegademama

      No need to apologize! I appreciate your insight. And you’re right. My post is probably a little mean-spirited. It’s definitely a rant. I guess sometimes I just write reactionary posts that don’t deserve Nobel peace prizes, or any prize for that matter. 🙂

      And I’m sure I could have worded it more clearly that I’m speaking to people with no sense of humor.

      Have a good evening, and thanks for writing.

  • DD

    Hey, for what it’s worth, I love this blog! For people who can read sarcasm, it makes us feel a lot less lonely when somebody points out the laughably ironic aspects of the ‘ideals’ of our society. I love it when I can share the irony and am so glad to have found Janelle’s great blog. Sure, in professional settings people always train us to steer clear of sarcasm for fear of being misunderstood, but when we’re off-duty, it seems so heartless to censor out the sarcasm, as it really ties a sarcastic person’s hands when trying to explain and enjoy the ironies of life with friends and other sarcastic people, forcing us to assume that all those people out there must agree with Hallmark on all subjects. Let me just say that I really appreciate the candor and hope that nobody gives Janelle any more flack.

  • Anita Dayoff

    I can’t believe how intolerant you all are.

    People with Sarcasm Awareness Disorder (SAD) have the right to read blogs without being ridiculed.

    I personally suffer from not only SAD, but, due to an unfortunate and tramatic woopie cushion experience, also suffer from Amusement Sufficiency Syndrome (ASS). The result it that, since early childhood, I have not had a sense of humor.

    It’s not funny! I am not only unable to appreciate sarcasm, but don’t get irony, innuendo, hyperbole or knock-knock jokes. One time my parents took me to see Shecky Green at the Sands in Los Vegas and I was so traumatized that I couldn’t sleep for a week. Just the sight of a banana peel is enough to give me hives, and very small cars with more than 12 brightly dressed occupants is reason to reach for the eppy pen.

    I am not alone either. Recent studies show that over 23% of the population does not realize that Donald Trump is a veteran Chuckle Hut standup trying out new material or that Bernie Sanders is in reality Eliabeth Warren in drag trying to win a bet.

    Which only goes to prove that there are more SAD ASSes out there than you might think. Not only don’t we ike being made fun of, we’re easily offended and will not hesitate to make our opinions known.

    So the next time you say or write something outrageous, cleaver or pointedly amusing, no matter how appropriate or germane, remember our motto;


    • renegademama

      Anita. I don’t know you, but it’s time we drop the bullshit and get married. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

      • Anita Dayoff

        Are you bring serious? I can’t tell.

  • voxleo

    Part of not being a dick is not just being slow to GIVE offense, but also being slow to TAKE it.

    Not everything in the Bible is sound (especially when taken at face value without the application of some critical thought to go along with it), but that part is actually one of the bits that it is even safe to take quite literally.

  • Kris

    I love you. Where have you been all my life. Can I marry you? It’s legal now. This is so funny – just shared it with my son and explained to him that is how he was raised – with a healthy dose of sarcasm for breakfast. And he’s turned into a pretty awesome, and darkly funny adult.

  • Julia

    It would be handy, would it not, if I could have an easy way of determining whether or not one was a SAD ASS-er BEFORE OPENING MY FUCKING MOUTH!! Perhaps you could add a little something to the end bit of your flow diagram, like”Proceed with your serious and earnest analysis of the situation and get 666 tattooed in a highly visible place so we dont make the same mistake twice”. Thank you.

  • caffeine_lights

    This post is hilarious. BTW: Your tidying post got shared on the biggest facebook group for the “KonMari” method, which is a book about tidying, and apparently a large chunk of the people who followed the link had no idea what sarcasm is, and/or are deathly afraid of the letters k, u, f and c for some reason when they are arranged in a particular order. Because LETTERS. So scary.

    I did mean to mention this at the time but I forgot, because I am a terrible human. Sorry about that!

  • MexFromHell

    Thank you for writing this guide because i started to feel i’m the stupid one. How can people not recognise something that drips from ridicule?!..