On Snark Throughout The AgesAugust 30, 2012 - Author: newscoma - Comments are closed
Snark throughout the ages has transformed itself. I was talking to my friend Steve Ross about Jackson Baker’s column on the Akin/Carr issue and I must give JB credit, he slashed subtly with a million paper cuts at Carr exquisitely trying to get him to own up to what he said.
There was a southern genteel manner in which he did it.
Snark isn’t new and goes back forever. One thing that Ross and I discussed was how Oscar Wilde was a master of it as was Mark Twain, who was more blunt with an American sort of grit where Wilde mocked you.
From Wilde: Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.
And here’s one from Mark Twain: In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Snark has changed throughout the decades and centuries. We moved through the populist humor of Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce who was harsh, vulgar and many times right and then into the man who made an art form of dissecting political commentary in digestable bite size snippets who continues to be missed.
That man was George Carlin.
When I read JB’s article, his snark was subtle and dead on he proved his point. He didn’t take a stick to it, which is why Ross and I discussed it. JB gave Carr a generous pass but he also didn’t let him get away with anything either.
It’s a reminder that you can make your point without taking an ax to someone.