March 14, 2009

Snarky About Snark

Justin Katz

Even though he pauses to make a snarky jab at local bloggers, I generally concur with Bob Kerr's aversion (in principle, at least) to snark:

Snark is so easy, like falling into a big, cushy pile of old blankets and tattered pillows. There is the comfort of knowing that you can wrap yourself in whatever high cause you choose without the bothersome test of reason or fairness. And it is all one-way.

"Of course, snark is just words," says Denby, "and if you look at it one piece at a time it seems of piddling importance. But it's annoying as hell, the most dreadful style going, and ultimately debilitating. A future America in which too many people sound mean and silly, like small yapping dogs tied to a post …"

There's a danger, it seems to me, that an anti-snark movement would knock down such rhetorical pillars as sarcasm and unavoidable reactions as scorn, but it bears a wary eye. Twittering — the short-attention-span, generation-z spawn of blogging — strikes me as a deadly vehicle for the delivery of snarkiness.