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What is Snarking? Snarking (aka using snarky comments, or snark) is all over the internet. But what is snarking?

Snarking, simply put, won’t ever appear on LALATE NEWS. Snarking lives in those sites that breath and eat snide comments, insults, jabs, dissing. It’s all the same beast.

And in truth, it’s not new. In fact, the word snark is not a creation in 2009. LALATE can remember the use of the word snarky widespread at least 1/2 a decade ago.

But now, it’s heading from the net to the bookstores in a new book called “Snark” by David Denby of the New Yorker: “The Internet did not invent sarcasm, or the porous back fence where our gossiping parents gathered, or the tenderly merciful tabloids; but it provides universal distribution of what had earlier reached a limited number of eyes and ears. In brief, the knowing group has been enlarged to an enormous audience that enjoys cruelty as a blood sport.”

Now if this was a snarky website, the next line would probably be a diss on Denby as to why such an obvious book is being written about a trend that arguably is 16 months away from going out of style. Instead, here’s a description of his book located here that LALATE would rather say sounds like a great read and something you should consider taking a look at.

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 sharp and witty polemic, New Yorker critic and bestselling author David Denby takes on the snarkers, naming the nine principles of snark — the standard techniques its practitioners use to poison their arrows. Snarkers like to think they are deploying wit, but mostly they are exposing the seethe and snarl of an unhappy country, releasing bad feeling but little laughter.

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. Snark was behind the London-based magazine Private Eye, launched amid the dying embers of the British empire in 1961; it was also central to the career-hungry, New York-based magazine Spy. It has flourished over the years in the works of everyone from the startling Roman poet Juvenal to Alexander Pope to Tom Wolfe to a million commenters snarling at other people behind handles. Thanks to the grand dame of snark, it has a prominent place twice a week on the opinion page of the New York Times.

Denby has fun snarking the snarkers, expelling the bums and promoting the true wits, but he is also making a serious point: the Internet has put snark on steroids. In politics, snark means the lowest, most insinuating and insulting side can win. For the young, a savage piece of gossip could ruin a reputation and possibly a future career. And for all of us, snark just sucks the humor out of life. Denby defends the right of any of us to be cruel, but shows us how the real pros pull it off. Snark, he says, is for the amateurs.

“Snark is for amateurs”. Amen to that.

1 Comment

  1. Joel

    December 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    That is not all MacArthur had to say.

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