Quote of the Day

But beyond humor that misses, with some audiences or with all, what characterizes snark? Two things, I think. One is that it is an appeal to emotion – it is a statement with a particular affect, and the affect is an appeal to an attitude in which both writer and reader participate, but they participate in an exclusionary way. This is what makes it a branch of irony. Instead of arguing to everyone on the basis of shared reason so that, at least in principle, everyone could be included in the shared sentiment, snark depends upon exclusion. It is a refusal to offer a public argument, with the possibility of reasoned inclusion, and instead depends upon prior shared views that merely exclude because snark does not make an attempt to persuade. It is ‘affectively exclusionary’ in the language of moral psychology.
Two, because snark depends upon a prior shared commitment, it is a form of question-begging argument. Not precisely a form of argument, because it is about affect, not reason. So, more precisely, snark is the affective cognate of a question-begging argument, in which the sentiment of the conclusion assumes the sentiment of the premise. It assumes that one already shares the attitudes necessary to … share the attitudes.

Kenneth Anderson

3 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. “Satire is cheek. It is the revenge of those who cannot really comprehend the world or cope with it”–Pamela Hansford Johnson

    “…people who are both cynical and unworldly, which is one of my least favorite combinations+–C P Snow

    “Explosions of temper do not necessarily ruin a general’s reputation or influence with his troops; it is almost expected of them (“the privileged irascibility of senior officers,” someone has written), and it is not always resented, sometimes even admired, except by those immediately concerned. But sarcasm is always resented and seldom forgiven”–Field Marshal Lord Wavell

  2. Snark keeps like-minded people returning to a blog and probably draws new ones in through word-of-mouth.

    As an enticement to uncommitted folks to join in with us, it’s an utter failure. But, it was never intended to be otherwise.

Comments are closed.