Saturday, December 7, 2013

drop everything and read this fanfuckingtastic essay

What is this defining feature of our times? What is snark reacting to? 

It is reacting to smarm. 

What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.

Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can't everyone just be nicer?

The most significant explicator of the niceness rule—the loudest Thumper of all, the true prophetic voice of anti-negativity—is neither the cartoon rabbit nor the publicists' group nor Julavits, nor even David Denby. It is The Believer's founder and impresario, Dave Eggers. If there is a defining document of contemporary literary smarm, it is an interview Eggers did via email with the Harvard Advocate in 2000, in which a college student had the poor manners to ask the literary celebrity about "selling out." 

(BONUS: includes a sarcastic description of David Denby agonizing over my dead satirical boyfriend Juvenal. "Thanks, Dave. Big of you, there. Juvenal needed it." //swoons)