Oh you need to read this review in the New York Times magazine of the new book "Snark" by David Denby, if you haven't already?! It's so well written and Adam Sternberg thinks twice as deep as I did when I heard the author on NPR. After I heard Mr. Denby I was convinced that indeed snark is ruining our conversation.
Snark “prides itself on wit, but it’s closer to a leg stuck out in a school corridor that sends some kid flying.” It’s the bitter bile coughed up by the angry defeated, “repackaging the anger as smear.” It’s the lingua franca of the bullying and the jaded, yet it threatens to choke us all, as the “gas of snark enters the air around us as a corrosive sense that cynicism is hip and everyone is vulnerable.”
I for one really dislike most of the anonymous ranting that people post in the comments of many blogs because they feel like a low down and mean spirited and opportunity to complain without thinking about the whole issue. I personally really dislike being chided, condescended to and otherwise rudely commented to by anyone — whether it's by my husband or the store clerk so I really wanted to read "Snark" ad love it. But then I read Mr. Sternbergs article changed my mind, read this excerpt. where he's wondering where all the snark came from...
I’d argue that slackers adopted irony not as a pose of hipster cynicism but as a defense against inheriting a two-faced world. When no one—from politicians to pundits—says what he actually means, irony becomes a logical self-inoculation. Similarly, snark, irony’s brat, flourishes in an age of doublespeak and idiocy that’s too rarely called out elsewhere. Snark is not a honk of blasé detachment; it’s a clarion call of frustrated outrage...When you are living in a nation awash in bullshit, it should not be surprising when people cry out, The nation is awash in bullshit! and maybe throw in an extraneous And your mother dresses you funny! It should also not be surprising, I guess, when people like Denby, ensconced on their porches, their conversations interrupted, tut-tut and tell those people to keep their voices down.
I won't go on pasting in all the brilliant retorts to the book so just go read it and enjoy the genius.
ps. I love Maureen Dowd's cynicism so when I read that Mr Denby wrote the following about her I joined the other camp! “Despite all of her larks and inventions, she’s essentially sour and without hope … she’s the most gifted writer of snark in the country.”