Denby’s fits

January 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

As a partially reformed practitioner of snark — a snippy, quippy manner of writing that has become a preferred style in Web journalism — I approached David Denby’s “Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation” with high hopes. Having penned a popular daily online gossip column for years — back when the Web was still young and finding its voice — I had mastered the snappy turn of phrase, the knowing wink, the gentle elbow poke directed my readers’ way. Yet as the tone spread wide, to sites like Gawker, TMZ, Perez Hilton (shudder), and beyond, its cadences, once so comforting, began to feel repetitive and tired, and I more or less moved on.

Was Denby, a longtime film critic for the New Yorker, going to make the case that snark is not just tiresome and played out but actually a malevolent force? It seemed so …

Review: “Snark” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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