David Denby to the Interwebs: Get Off My Lawn

David Denby, the less readable of the New Yorker’s film critics, has had it just about up to here with your snarky tone. His new book is called Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation, though apparently Denby’s notion of conversation can be summed up as: he talks, we listen.

From Reason’s writeup on the book:

In just over 100 pages, alongside the first-name references to his famous friends and descriptions of his high-class meals, Denby attacks the online boobeoise who, he argues, have altered the tone of debate by supplanting thoughtful conversation with snide and indiscriminant denunciations of the “douchebags” with whom they disagree. “In a media society,” he writes, “snark is an easy way of seeming smart.”

Later in the article we encounter Denby’s curious prediction that Obama’s election will somehow lead to a cranking down of the national snark-o-meter:

The best he [Denby] can offer is the hope that Obama’s election will tone down the shrill and excitable corners of the Internet: “Whatever else the rise of Barack Obama means, it certainly suggests that…the college-educated…have become eager to reject shallow cynicism and to embrace hope in the public sphere—and…to take power and change the tone of public discourse.”

Given the insane caterwauling currently emanating from the more shrill and excitable corners of the Internet, one wonders if Denby has actually spent any time on-line since January 20.

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