The Correct Response

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Evil

Real evil, the kind we all actually do and conspire in, always cloaks itself in the pleasing garments of laughter. The most unctuous flattery is ironic, but no less acceptable for being so. The really cruel boss, willing to wound but fearing to strike, dresses up his most withering rebukes as little jokes. Laughter, for from being the sound of innocent pleasure, is often an aggressive affirmation of membership of a clique, the loud cackles a sign to outsiders that they are not part of whatever is going on.