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‘Snarky’ journalism is all the rage now, writes Jon Friedman at Marketwatch, unsnarkily. “Thanks largely to the advent of the Internet blogs, “snarky” commentaries are sweeping the craft of journalism.” Really? Wow, that’s big news!
Snarkiness, Friedman postulates, “can be loosely defined as demonstrations of criticism, particularly when the target is the establishment, either in the government, the military, corporate America or the dreaded media.”
Friedman attributes snarkiness’ origin to Mark Twain, (he certainly was a snarky type) the Marx Brothers (sarcastic, biting, quick! but snarky?) and Charlie Chaplin (I’d call that a maybe.) Then he calls Johnny Carson snarky. Nuh uh.
He takes the requisite swipe at bloggers v. journalists: “Once, way, way back during the 20th century, journalism was measured by such quaint qualities as dogged reporting and meticulous fact-checking.”
Somehow, his article sounds more bitter than snarky. Snarky involves cleverness.
Wikipedia has a better definition: “Snark refers to a pejorative style of speech or writing. It could loosely be described as irritable or “snidely derisive”; hence, ‘snarkish’, ‘snarky’, ‘to snark at somebody’. (The Urban Dictionary refers to it as a contraction of “snide remark”.) It could less politely be described as ‘bitchy’.”