I snark, therefore I am


Wasn’t it great when Taylor Swift had a pitchy performance on the Grammys? That’ll show that young woman not to write her own music and connect with millions of fans. Jerk.

It might surprise you to hear that I detest snarkiness. My wife and I currently subscribe to four magazines—The New Yorker, The Week, ESPN the Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. Of those, only Entertainment Weekly routinely lowers itself into the cesspool of snark. There’s a weekly column grading the dresses celebrities wear to events, with comments along the lines of, “Her bust line was as low as her acting ability.” Zing! You win this round, Entertainment Weekly. Dame Judi Dench will not soon recover from that burn.

If you’re still unsure on exactly what snark is, it’s basically the sarcastic, bitter tone many people in the media have adopted. It’s what makes people tune in to Limbaugh or Olbermann. It’s what allows a site such as TMZ to not only flourish, but produce a television version, as well. It’s close cousins with nihilism and apathy. Basically, it’s personal sadness projected as “clever” critiques.

You might wonder how someone could be critical of snark while maintaining a blog and comic strip, and I admit it’s an ink well at times that’s tempting to dip into. I prefer to think Professor Hobo airs on the side of satire, instead. I’m not particularly a huge fan of Kanye West, so in turn I ignore him the best I can. To illuminate him with “biting” comments seems as rude and out of place as his interruption of Taylor Swift’s award speech.

My mind was on this today because I saw a headline touting the backlash against Swift. Her Grammy performance was apparently pitchy, and her performance in the new film Valentine’s Day isn’t winning many critics as fans. There’s a certain joy I read from those making these critiques that I don’t fully understand from anyone over the age of 18. I question if maybe I’m just getting too old for this kind of stuff, or just too interesting? Oops.


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