The Problem With Snark

is that it’s one of those obnoxious words that’s both ubiquitous and lacking a commonly agreed upon definition. We understand that it’s related to irony, sarcasm and satire, but mostly it just embodies what the person using the word doesn’t like about those things. If you don’t like The Daily Show, then Jon Stewart is a snark artist. If you don’t like Gawker (and lord knows I don’t), then Nick Denton is to snark what Saudi princes are to oil. Like with the term “hipster,” we all claim to “know it when we see it,” but try getting someone to explain what the hell it is.

Now we’ve got to put up with a new front in the snark-or-no-snark debate, with the release of David Denby’s masterpiece of stern, Lee Siegel wannabe finger-wagging. The troops are getting marshalled; on the one side, there’s Denby and his platoon of thin-lipped boarding school matrons. But fight on the other side and you’re suddenly defending the likes of the aforementioned Nick Denton and–ugh–Maureen Dowd. It’s hard to feel too invested in a battle when mostly you just wish both sides would murder each other and leave the rest of us in peace.

And therein lies the third, better way: Everyone just stop using that fucking word. We’ve got other, much more precise words to describe the same thing, and those words haven’t been beaten to death by people who couldn’t be bothered to use language that means something.

Besides, it’s just plain fucking ugly. Say it aloud: snark. After blogging long enough, you get to having heard it so many goddamn times that frequent repetition can cause uncontrollable shudders of disgust. Using it to describe anything isn’t just vacuous, it’s an act of violence against the English language. So thank you, Headmaster Denby, for the plague of chin-scratching snark manifestos that you have just unleashed upon the world’s newspapers and magazines.

The next time I hear this word spoken, I will HURT AN ANIMAL.


One Response

  1. Sarcasm is common problem of boarding school, to deal with it one must become bold and strong. Overall boarding school rocks.

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