David Denby

Snark – noun

Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)

But just what is snark?

We all think we recognize snark when we see it – it’s a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that’s spreading through the media. Its practitioners think it’s funny, but it isn’t big and it certainly isn’t clever. So where did it all go wrong? What happened to the black comedy, the clever irony and the pinpoint satire we once admired and how did they turn into a charmless and witless way of speaking?

Inspired by Lewis Carroll, the New Yorker critic and bestselling author David Denby takes on the snarkers. In this sharp and witty polemic, he identifies the nine principles of snark and traces its history from its invention as personal insult in the drinking clubs of ancient Athens, through such diverse proponents as Alexander Pope, Private Eye and Tom Wolfe to its arrival in the age of the Internet, where it has become the sole purpose and style of many media, political and celebrity websites.

By highlighting what has gone wrong in America, Denby gives us a manifesto for a snark-free way of communicating in the future.

'Snark is an important, defining work and an extremely satisfying read as well' John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Read more about Snark at

Genre: Non-Fiction
ISBN: 978033053951701
Published: 17/12/2010

David Denby

David Denby

David Denby is a film critic for the New Yorker, and author of Great Books. He is not a humorless kill-joy, quite the opposite. He loves wit, righteous indignation and genuine satire. He cherishes spoof, lampoon and burlesque. He gives brilliant and hilarious examples of satire and he encourages the dangerous and challenging basis of humour. His style is cool and clever -- and, in dissecting the history and philosophy of snark, he proves he is a decent man with a mission.

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