Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Boys' Book Club Reads David Denby's "Snark"

David Denby is primarily known for his (non-snarky?) New Yorker film reviews ("At times, the movie sounds like two excited mattresses making love in an echo chamber": Denby, Dark Knight review), but he's also written several books, including a passionate defense of the "white male canon" called Great Books and now a 100+ page treatise called Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining our Conversation, in which he defines snark as an ever-expanding form of "invective" that is "low, teasing, snide, condescending, knowing," and is pervasive in on-line forums such as Facebook and increasingly replacing cogent criticism in our national discourse. In his work, Denby categorizes the "9 Principles of Snark," among them "indifference to the truth."

Richard: "Hipsters cannot function without employing all 9 Principles of Snark, sometimes at once. But is the LC snarky? Or would Denby give us a pass in that he claims to fully support "nasty comedy," "incessant profanity," and "any form of satire."

Chip: "Wow, Denby defends the canon and attacks America's increasingly low standards of public discourse? I may have found my cultural soul-mate."

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