Thursday, January 19, 2017

Snark not, lest ye be gamma

Ivan Throne cites an insightful tweetstorm by ClarkHat and draws some pertinent conclusions.
Snark is more dreadful than men realize.

Snark arises from bitterness. That bitterness is the product of resentment, and that resentment in turn is spawned from internal recognition of comparative weakness.

Do not be weak. Harden yourself, my brothers. Do not be resentful of weakness. It is curable.

Weakness arises in the mind and in the heart. It comes from refusal to accept reality. It comes from refusal to put in the work required to advance and grow. It comes from despair applied to the demand for cultivation, and refusal to delay gratification in preference for instantaneous appearance of victory rather than the true achievement of the apex predator: the human being.

The world was dark when I arrived. I did not make it dark. Nor did you.

But it is what it is.
Read the whole thing. It explains how three generations of sitcom programming have taught boys to rely upon snark rather than proper rhetoric and cultivate weakness and victimhood rather than strength and the will to overcome.


Trust said...

Back in the gamma days of my youth, my big gamma tell was constantly saying "just kidding." I'd play off things as a joke, but it was really underlying animosity coupled with being too cowardly to stand by my words.

Dexter said...

Snark is what nerds say about jocks behind their backs because they know that if they said it to the jocks faces they'd get their asses beat.

liberranter said...

Snark arises from bitterness. That bitterness is the product of resentment, and that resentment in turn is spawned from internal recognition of comparative weakness.

This is why snark is women's default weapon in conversations with men. It is the only one they have in their arsenal that can be wielded against logic and fact.

lowercaseb said...

I never thought there was such a thing as a good punch in the balls, but Ivan's post (and Clarkhat's tweetstorm) is. Although it hurts like hell, it pointedly reminds you that you have a set.

As risk of becoming a "me" post...I used to work in comedy. Like Clarkhat said, snark was mistaken for wit for the longest time...and the refinement of that snark was the goal.

Needless to say...relearning your instincts at 50 is a painful thing, but the payoff is worth it once you start crafting stuff that works. Snark is a shortcut and it does not age well on paper (unless you are writing gay which case it is timeless. Cringe inducing, but at least you are being true to the character.)

Anonymous said...

Good analysis. Ivan is an inspiring writer. Buy his book. It is mandatory reading. Reading it a second time now.

Anonymous said...

"I had a mentor / boss who gave me a performance review. 'You say what you mean and you mean what you say.'

That was it. Complete review. Took 4 seconds.

He coupled it with the biggest raise he was able to give.

I learned something that day.

i'm ... not sure i've ever worked for anyone who did not punish me for this.

Nate Winchester said...

Snark is also the brain's defense against terribly stupid movies.

And books.

Bad stories in general.

Austin Ballast said...

Can anyone provide a couple of good examples of the difference between snark and sarcasm or rhetoric, in the same situation?

Anonymous said...

That is a tough one to describe because it has to do with personality. Snark is gamma and defensive. Sarcasm stings because it is usually true at its source or it wouldn't be effective. If you witness it, you can immediately distinguish between the two because the snark brings contempt and the Sarcasm often brings a laugh.

lowercaseb said...

Another way to distinguish snark is that snark comes from with an air of superiority...It is an attempt at status climbing...

Austin Ballast said...

Some scenarios would still be helpful for at least some of us. I can be quite sarcastic at times, but I am trying to judge if that really is sarcasm or just snark. I can see arguments for either and other dynamics in the situation can play a role.

It does sound like the same statement could be either, depending on other factors.

I will just add this to the list of things I would like to see, right next to clear examples of rhetoric and dialectic in the same situation (along with whining or whatever else would be worth noting). Some situational examples would be a good project.

I would work on them myself, but I am not sure of the exact points, so that may not be the ideal approach.

Anonymous said...

Difficult to create a scenario for you, but ruthlessly analyze your motive and you will have the answer. When unsure, stay silent. It is almost always admirable to be reserved and controlled. Sign of maturity. I have had to put a lot of effort into it myself. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

And read Ivan's book. I said that above, but it is worth repeating.

Harambe said...

All I know is that those tiny exploding insect things in Half Life 1 are called Snarks

Terrific said...

Nothing can substitute for true superiority. Weak men are offended while strong men kick your ass.

If you're not sure how to respond to a verbal attack, imagine if the same thing had been said to someone you admire as a strong man. How would they react?

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