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Letting the bad come with the good

May 10th, 2010

HAHAHA! You guys see that editorial cartoon? Good, good stuff.

OK, so I’m a little out of my element and writing for the award-winning Carroll News this week.  I CAN write, you know. I’m more than just a man and his two unnamed, hapless and witty cartoon characters.

My roommate thought differently apparently.  When I posed the idea that I would become cartoonist turned writer, he asked, “Have you ever written for The Carroll News before?” What he meant was, “Do you even know how to write, illiterate senior?”

Which brings me to my point: backhanded compliments. It is basically saying something nice about someone, while simultaneously taking a shot at said person, usually without knowledge of the insult. Am I being complimented? Am I being insulted? Answer: BOTH!

Better example: I sent my sister a text message the other day, quoting the great Andrew Baines Bernard of the hit sitcom “The Office.” Why? Because it felt right. The quote was hilarious, and that’s all you need to know.  Her answer was, “Hahahahah funny that I used to think dirt was funnier than u when u were around 5.”

Thank you? I realize how funny dirt can be, but come on! If she had said “Lopez Tonight,” I would’ve understood. Talk about comedic gold.  But dirt?

But her little accolade of abashment got me thinking about these backhanded compliments.  After some dirt digging, I found that topfive.com came up with a top 15 backhanded compliments list. It has two parts, as well, meaning there are apparently 30 total (topfive.com was apparently feeling a little more productive that day).

Some of the ones on the list aren’t necessarily backhanded compliments as much as they are flat out insults. However, there are some good ones such as, “Now, now, it’s just as important to stay behind and guard the women and the children” and “What I like about your toupee is that is says, ‘Hey, I have better things to spend my money on.’”

However, this list was put together back in 2003. That would be my “sophomore in high school and trying not to allow my voice to squeak while talking to girls” phase.  The kinks have been worked out in that category (no jokes, please).  So I am sure that some killer, top-notch, downright blasphemous backhanded compliments (Or as I like to call them, KTNDRBBHC’s) have been uttered in the seven years since.

My mission for you, Carroll News faithful, is to get out there and compliment somebody today, extra points if it’s backhanded.  The way I see it, the sweetness of the compliment and the bittersweet feeling of the burn will offset and the world will remain right.  As long as it’s in good fun, though.  Insults are the devil’s poetry. 

So take your best shot John Carroll. I can take a KTNDRBBHC as well as the next cartoonist-turned-writer. I know, I know. “How about you just stick to drawing cartoons, Hinkel.”