Ohg Tone and I have been friends for forty years. I first remember him when my oldest daughter was two years old. Ohg showed up and brought sarcastic humor into my family. As crude as he is – there is always a spark of humor. Ohg became a writer for thefiresidepost.com in 2007. After five years of biting sarcastic humor I became weary of his style. Ohg retired from writing in January of 2013. He is coming back.
Ohg is like those folks on Duck Dynasty – they are pretty funny – until they are not. Ohg is the nightmare of any editor. We wring our hands, “What is he going to say or do next?” As we become desensitized with experience with people like Ohg we find ourselves making bad judgements about what is and is not acceptable humor. We become cautious. Then we become frightened, afraid of what is to come. We react. We overreact – ask that guy on Duck Dynasty about overreaction.
Ohg and I remained friends. I love the guy. He brings great energy and creativity to our friendship. When Ohg cuts loose with a string of biting sarcasm he is both hilarious and threatening. People often do not know how to take him. Or perhaps they don’t want to take him. Or, fearful of retribution, people often take the safe route – they deny the humor of Ohg.
One brother is particularly careful around Ohg. Brother is a church-going, hard working, respectable man of education and culture – he is aghast at the brutality and unbridled honesty of someone like Ohg. Brother prefers the safety of church and the Boy Scouts. That makes my brother more mainstream than either myself or Ohg. But brother reads Ohg and quietly laughs to himself at both the style and content of the forthright Ohg.
For myself, I lean toward Ohg. The cruelty of sarcasm cannot be denied or ignored. But like other means of communication, like metaphor or simile, sarcasm can be effective at driving home an honest point of view. Sarcasm can be cynical, mocking, scornful and acerbic – my take is that sometimes the human condition requires a stiff punch in the face. From the elitism of the Vanderbilts’ to the crudeness of the Clampetts, human society mocks itself. People like Ohg come around and punch our smug, grinning, self-righteous, hypocrisy right in the face. He is not always correct – and he expects to take a few shots to his own mug.
Right or wrong – Ohg serves mankind. He dramatizes the arrogance of both the elite and the redneck, the saint and the sinner, the rich and the poor, the educated and the anti-educated – for all are equally haughty, proud, big-headed, and foolish.
Ohg came over the other evening and we talked over a backyard campfire. He wants to write. I was emphatic that while sarcasm can be effective at driving home a point, it can also be cruel and toxic. “What,” Ohg said, “is more cruel than the prejudice of elite snobbery, the reverse prejudice of the uneducated, the hatefulness of religious fundamentalism, or the assault on liberty for self-aggrandizement?” He continued, “I meet fire with fire, cruelty with cruelty, and cynicism with sarcasm. Is Jon Stewart cruel? How about Colbert? How about Pat Robertson? These men were nurtured on the tit of sarcasm! You see, in modern America, any behavior is acceptable if one becomes rich and famous – and that is the point I hope to make in the future.”
The wood crackled on the fire. Ohg stacked three more logs on an already raging fire – that is the definition of Ohg. He can heat the Congo or cool the North Pole – dictated by his perception of what direction he feels is most honorable.
I signed him up for another tour of thefiresidepost.com.