Friday, January 23, 2009

The Computer: Snarky's Machine?

I’d like to expand on last week’s contemplation on the importance of outsiders’ comments to blog posts. The ability to participate in and perhaps shift the conversation into new directions and the notion that, as long as the original post is still accessible, no conversation is truly “finished,” offer writers and readers of blogs a sense of community and a broader epistemological opportunity than those who share other types of texts. However, there are potential pitfalls. I mentioned the potential of gravitate to blogs that conform to an already established worldview and how the comments can potentially serve to simple support that view with little attempts at challenge, negotiation, or complication. However, there is a phenomenon in tone prevalent in many blogs that can also serve to simply disrupt communication rather than participate in it: the snarky comment.

Snark, often roughly understood as a sense of snide and detached delivery, has come under fire recently in a book by New Yorker movie critic David Denby. Denby posits that the prevalence of snark that he sees in the national conversation is damaging to public conversation. He sees snark as little more than bullying, a position that has been met with supporters and detractors.

For the purposes of the class blogs, I would expect to see little evidence of snark in the comments, like in the previous quarters. Most of the students’ comments are attempts at supporting one other through the act of public writing that there is little desire to get snarky, even when there are disagreements. And this is probably a good thing. While snark—especially when it’s smart and when it’s pointing out the absurdity of another’s actions or opinions—can be strong and effective, but blog comment sections are teeming with examples of snark for snark’s sake. While they can be enjoyable to read, often they are lame and lazy attempts at engaging in some demanding and (what should be) stimulating issues.

1 comment:

KOE said...

i guess you are still writing blogs lol