I stole this image from Eater.com, a site that’s sometimes snarky but mostly just really useful and earnestly engaged in the topic of eating and restaurants.
I am trying not to be snarky with this blog, depending on what you think “snarky” means.
Like everything from jazz to donkey sauce, though, I suppose the more you define “snark” the further you get from understanding it. If you have to ask, you’ll never know, plus you’re a d-nozzle.
So, then. I guess anyone half-interested in reading a blog about restaurant marketing has already read up on or heard about The New York Times’ food critic Pete Wells’ so-called “takedown” of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar on Times Square.
I’d like to defend Mr. Wells against portions of the internet deeming his review “snarky,” for the same reasons I don’t want to be considered merely snarky: he was upset by something he thought wasn’t achieving the goals it set for itself.
Isn’t that how everything should be judged?
So what does an upset writer do? A writer, after all, is at constant risk of losing the reader. An upset writer tries to be entertaining.
And when an entertaining person is mad, they might get what trolls deem snarky. “Snarky” is often an accusation, usually, a way to say, “Oh, you just want people to think you’re cute—you don’t really care. And therefore you’re not eligible to engage in serious debate on the topic you’re mocking.”
And there it is. The reason I don’t want to be considered snarky. I care. So does Mr. Wells (I infer).
In the words of Kurt Vonnegut to writers everywhere:
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”
“Caring” inoculates a writer against contributing mere snark to an internet already dripping with it.
Let’s just try avoid feeling schadenfreude. That can be a little icky.