G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Heartiste tweeted a comment from this blog made by Billy Chav who wrote:
I’m trying to put my finger on why the Jezebel literary style is so atrocious. It’s like it’s false in every particular– pseudo-elegant phrasing (“that, my friends…”) mixed with copious squirm-worthy cursing (“bullfuckitty bullshit”), all meant only to indicate that author is wicked smart ‘n educated– way smarter than you tea party redneck business fascist– but also that she’s hella tough and could kick your ass and call you faggot (which she can do because she’s “reclaiming” the word), even though she’s only 5′ and 100lbs.
In his book, which I’ve pre-reviewed and have now completed, Ryan Holiday spends a lot of time addressing Jezebel and Gawker specifically, especially the snark which is their style. Holiday cites David Denby of the New Yorker who wrote that snark “attempts to steal someone’s mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness [with] the nasty, insidious, rug-pulling, teasing insulting which makes references to some generally understood shared prejudice or distaste.”
Holiday’s definition of “snark”: “You know when you’re dealing with snark when you attempt to respond to a comment and realize that there is nothing you can say.” Try arguing in the comments section of ManBoobz to get a taste.
Holiday gets to the fundamental starting point for snark:
There is a reason that the weak are drawn to snark while the strong simply say what they mean. Snark makes the speaker feel a strength they know deep down they do not possess. It shields their insecurity and makes the writer feel like they are in control. Snark is the ideal intellectual position. It can criticize, but it cannot be criticized.
The Right is not above using snark, but it’s mostly used in rearguard fashion. Snark is the domain of the tribal liberal. A clarion to other liberals that a particular person, company, or group is open for attack. The reason is that snark is rooted in relativism and reductionism, and – it shouldn’t need to be said – the unconstrained liberal mindset is intellectually cohesive with the strategy in a way that conservatism is fundamentally not.