Welcome to the first installment of Cyber Street Fighter, where the famous street fighters of old teach you how to Internet correctly. Today’s lesson will be on Roasting. Who better to teach it than the master of dem flames himself, Dhlalsim? No one. Take your shoes off at the door, step into the dojo, and let go of your earthly desires as class is now in session.
Ah, yes welcome friend. I am Dhalsim and this is the art of roasting. Now make no mistake — roasting is an art. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, roasting is the evolution of the game titled the dozens. The objective is simple: you sling insults back and forth until one person gives up. Also note that if you get upset, you lose. If you don’t respond in an timely manner, you lose. You gotta be quick, witty, sharp with the execution in person, but even more so if we are talking about being online. Especially if we are talking about Twitter. If you’re engaging in a roast you need to make sure you’ve got a solid stance.
Notice the fingers! Constantly moving, constantly ready for the drag. The hands are ready to be thrown via mobile phone from this upright stance position. The legs are bending giving you support for whatever heat your opponent may throw back towards you. This is where your brace yourself for what’s coming and get ready to dish it back out as well.
A key element in roasting is movement — you can’t keep roasting someone by only focusing on one specific thing the entire time. You want to stick and move. Focusing on someone’s superficial appearance is the equivalent to boxing’s jab. It can be quick, precise, and set up for a heavier blow, however if you are only focusing on “the jab” without having a strong quip to stagger them then you’re only going to be leaving yourself open for attack. If you don’t have any haymakers then you really shouldn’t be engaging in the roast to begin with.
*Bison walks in and bows to Dhalsim*
*bows* Boooooooi, you walkin’ in here lookin’ like you straight outta the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation video, dressed like a chauffeur to a reality TV Star, dressed like every doorman in an 80’s movie, and why your hands stay open with your fingers crunched, breh? It’s been 20 years and I still can’t tell if you got arthritis or imagining yourself jackin’ off two Mooses.
Time! Alright, thanks Bison. Notice how I hit attacked Bison superficially, zero’d in on it, and then switched over to the more physical attributes. Sticking and moving is important as it keeps you on your toes and your opponent off of their game. When you master the technique it should look something like this…
Roasting takes creativity above all things. It’s a mixture of being creative and exaggerating that makes it entertaining and engaging for everyone. Now there are levels to this roasting shit, physics even, if you will. It’s good to keep things lighthearted when you’re joking with friends, but especially with mixed company online. You can be roasting a favorite character, ship, or show of theirs because you disagree with it or whatever, but you’re still being respectful with the heat. That situation should closely resemble this:
However there are numerous instances that may require you to come at someone with the flames. I’m not going to name all the scenarios, but I will say when giving someone the flames you gotta realize that it may shut shit down or create a backdraft. You gotta be ready for the consequences because flames are usually accompanied by receipts. So make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and then give’em that fiyaaaaaaaaah!
There are many forms of roasting that can be good-natured but that also prepare you to be quick with the defensive humor to protect yourself as well. The problem occurs when folks that don’t know how to roast or joke around attempt and come at it completely wrong. If you’re roasting someone, or a topic even, and your go-to joke is racial, misogynistic, or homophobic stereotypes, then you are doing it wrong. This approach brings nothing to the table and really just displays the lack of creativity, diversity, or imagination you have in this game. If you’re taking an easy shortcut to hurt or dismiss then this isn’t the arena for you. Very few people have the finesse to flip race, gender, and similar topics into a positive social commentary while at the same time merkin’ their opponent.
This is truly a skill that some are born with, some learn, and that some sadly just don’t get. Roasting requires a person to know how far they can go with someone or something. If it’s a public figure that said something problematic then you get to use your abilities at their peak, but you should also understand that you may be the one-in-a-million person that the figure, or their fans, responds to. Or there may be others that disagree with your stance against ignorance (trust me, those folks are out there) so you have to be ready with your facts and creativity because once you slap that meat on the grill and kick up the propane, there ain’t no going back. Roasting is at its best when it’s fighting the problematic or punching up.