Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Snark & Malarkey

On the way into work this morning, my favorite leftist lunatic fringe radio station, NPR, interviewed a movie reviewer with sensitive skin. David Denby wants bloggers to quit being so mean all the time. He feels that snark is ruining the world. Denby feels so committed to the idea that snark is taking the fun out of everything that he wrote an entire book about it, which he would like for you to buy. This would make David Denby feel better about the world.

The OED defines “snark,” noun, as an imaginary animal, which shows how much David Denby knows. “To snark,” as a verb, means either to nag or to snore, depending on your context in 19th century England. One can be “snarky,” adjective, which means to scrunch up one’s face like an imaginary animal and nag someone who happens to be snoring.

In his rush to write his own book so other movie reviewers will quit calling him a wuss, David Denby assumed definitions not in evidence. I can only assume that he intends us to quit being snarky in the modern sense of the word. The modern connotation, leaving off the animals and the snoring, means “funny, witty, biting, sardonic, sarcastic, ironic, clever and only the slightest bit mean, but only towards those who really deserve it, like fancy movie reviewers who try to push their books on public airwaves.

David Denby feels offended by snark because he feels that snarky attitudes distance us from the reality of the events of our times. According to him, snarky blogs and fake news shows make us hard and uncaring, rather than all hugs and love like his people were back in the 60’s. On the contrary, a snarky blog is just the thing I need to help me feel the motivations of certain popular characters figures. For example, when reading a news story on Bristol Palin stating her opinions on abstinence, a snarky blog is just the thing I need to help me know whether to laugh or cry.

If the OED is right, and snark is an imaginary animal, let’s not let the David Denbys of the world force the poor thing into extinction. Snark deserves at least as much space on the planet as any other animal. Perhaps we could round up all the snarks for David Denby and send them up to the North Pole. They’ll be plenty of space for them up there once we’ve finished killing off all the polar bears and baby seals.

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