Monday, February 02, 2009

Is that snarky enough for you?

Are you suffering from snarkiness envy? Have you ever read a "snarky post" or a "snarky comment" and wondered how they did it? Are you curious to find out whether you have what it takes to be "snarky"? Well, guess what... there is actually an entire book on snarkiness, by David Denby entitled Snark - It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation.

To be honest, I am not so sure it is worth paying real money for this book, but at least it was fun to leaf through at the bookstore. OTOH, for only $11 (for a hardcover!), it may be worthwhile merely for entertainment -- it's actually cheaper than buying a ticket in a movie theater here in New York City. If you are suspicious about its amusement value, let me give you just one example: it has an entire chapter on... Maureen Dowd (NY Times columnist.) Not to be missed!

From the book description on Amazon:

What is snark? You recognize it when you see it -- a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true. Snark attempts to steal someone's mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness.


In this highly entertaining essay, Denby traces the history of snark through the ages, starting with its invention as personal insult in the drinking clubs of ancient Athens, tracking its development all the way to the age of the Internet, where it has become the sole purpose and style of many media, political, and celebrity Web sites. Snark releases the anguish of the dispossessed, envious, and frightened; it flows when a dying class of the powerful struggles to keep the barbarians outside the gates, or, alternately, when those outsiders want to take over the halls of the powerful and expel the office-holders.

Disclaimer: I will (or at least should) receive a very modest commission if you buy this book after clicking on the Amazon link above.

Oh, and one other thing... I do not want to see even a single snarky comment on this blog post. Snarky comments will be deleted! Just kidding. Who in there right mind would be commenting on a post like this anyway!

-- Jack Krupansky


At 3:44 PM EST , Blogger Mo MoDo said...

I'll bite. Speaking truth to power is a time honored role and Maureen Dowd does it well. Denby defines 'snark' so narrowly that only people and blogs he hates qualify.

If he were a better writer, he wouldn't need to pick on Dowd for being funnier than he is, even when he isn't meaning to be.

How was that for snarky?

I decontextualize Maureen Dowd twice a week on this blog.


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