Sean Howe
January 07, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

Snark

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Denby
genre
History, Nonfiction

We gave it a C+

New Yorker film critic David Denby, in a huff about the low levels of ? discourse in the media and online, spends a third of this slight ?polemic combing through the history of Snark, from Lewis Carroll’s coinage, back to Roman poet Juvenal, and up through the newsstands of the 1980s. Then, after identifying endless examples of published attacks as either good or bad — for ”life would be intolerable without any snark at all” — he leaves us with an enervated challenge to ? ”go and commit” insulting and nasty (but ”clean”!) tirades. Alas, if there’s one thing that doesn’t inspire such vituperation, it’s well-meaning but muddled mediocrity. C+

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