Can you explain this phrase "You are dead to us. We hope you fail", please? It looks like sarcasm. Is it OK for colleague farewell? Is "We hope you fail" a good wish and why?

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    I suppose it might be used sarcastically, within a group highly prone to sarcasm, but normally it would be interpreted as an insult -- saying that all communications between parties will be cut off, and expressing a wish for bad luck. – Hot Licks Apr 5 '18 at 20:07
  • Very different from "break a leg" that actors wish each other in good humour, because the superstition is not to say "good luck". – Weather Vane Apr 5 '18 at 20:19
  • I've heard this only as an expression of parents who separate themselves completely from a child, when they no longer wish to be associated in any way. Ostracism. Expulsion from the family. – Xanne Apr 5 '18 at 20:59
  • me thinks it means what is says – lbf Apr 5 '18 at 21:18

Are you familiar with the concept of a "roast"? I didn't know whether this was culture-specific, and I see now that, according to Wikipedia, it's an American thing. It's a tradition of insulting people or wishing them ill as a way of honoring them or wishing them good luck. The TV channel "Comedy Central" sometimes hosts a "celebrity roast" where someone from the entertainment industry is "honored" by colleague after colleague from throughout the person's career taking them microphone and saying the most horrible things about the honoree. Years ago, the entertainer Dean Martin was known for hosting these.

The implication is that the honoree knows that they are so well loved that it is safe to take the insults all in a spirit of fun and knowing that nobody means what they've said seriously.

  • But insults at a roast are generally not of the nature of those in the original question. – Hot Licks Apr 5 '18 at 21:35
  • I don't know, I don't have a list of every insult ever spoken at a roast. Does it alter the general point about couching good wishes in insults being an existing phenomenon? – Green Grasso Holm Apr 5 '18 at 21:51
  • Insults at a roast are not generally of the "I hate you" nature, but more along the lines of implying "you're ugly", "you're stupid", "your taste in music stinks", etc. – Hot Licks Apr 5 '18 at 22:13

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