Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Review

Monday, August 25, 2014

Snark: I Sneer, Therefore I Am

Here's a summary of David Denby's book on the topic from Huffington Post:

Denby attempts to give snark both its due in history and a proper definition. He gives two historical examples: revenge-minded classical poets like Juvenal, and recent smirking-society magazines like Private Eye and Spy. He identifies (and rips) two main snarkers by name: Tom Wolfe and Maureen Dowd, to whom he dedicates the penultimate chapter, a woman whose political poison pen is betrayed by what he describes as an utter failure to believe in, or advocate, any actual kind of policy. A satirist has to believe in something in order to satirize: things couldn't be so bad as to deserve satire unless the satirist had conviction that they ought to be much better. Snark is usually agnostic. It believes in nothing other than the worthlessness of its target.

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