Posted by GPP on August 25, 2003
In Reply to: What is a smarta*s? posted by sphinx on August 25, 2003
: : : : : : : : W:My political science class has been teaching me about the history of women in the US.
: : : : : : : : M:Sounds interesting. Learn any new recipes?
: : : : : : : : W:No that funny actually. Did you realize up until the 1850's, women didn't have equal rights to men?
: : : : : : : : M:Sorry, I wouldn't have made that joke if I had realized it was such a recent issue.
: : : : : : : : (What are recipes here? Why it is a joke?)
: : : : : : : The man was saying that all that women have accomplished worthy of history books is to create recipes. Then he made a remark that the 1850s were recent.
: : : : : If he had realized it was a recent issue, why it became the reason he won't make that joke?
: : : : He was being a smarta*s since obviously the 1850s aren't recent.
: : : The man is, as ESC says, being a smarta*s; he's making two separate jokes on the same theme. A recipe being a guide for cooking a dish to eat, the first is his implication that there's little to learn about the history of women in the US other than updating their cooking skills with new recipes. Also as ESC says, obviously the 1850s aren't recent. (In fact, while women did gain important property rights in the mid-19th C, they didn't obtain the US federal right to vote until 1920.)
: : We have a problem here with the threads diverging. In answer to your question "why his final comment ignored the past 150 years of American history?", the man is using IRONY (together with a hint of SARCASM, which is a slightly different concept) as the basis for his second joke. He understood perfectly well that the 1850s could not be considered "recent". His implication here is, "What have women accomplished in the past 150 years other than learning new recipes?"
Substitute the letter 's' for the asterisk. You can find a definition at http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=smart-ass, but they spell it with a hyphen.