And we — well, “me,” actually — are fucking exhausted. Let me tell you something: Vegas, as it turns out, will take it out of you. Although, if you are ever looking to get yourself super-weirded out, I do have some helpful hints! Like: Read Dostoevsky in a casino, whilst ladies wander around in black lace underpants serving drinks to gamblers at nine in the morning. Or: Ponder what it means for the state of modern political discourse that Nancy Pelosi is speaking in an establishment where a mechanical boat filled with Chippendales regularly descends from the ceiling to the tune of “Single Ladies.” Bonus points if you are attending a convention for online activists and the book you’ve chosen is “The Possessed,” which is apparently about how youthful activism will inevitably descend into murder, pedophilia, suicide, and learning all too late that it might not have been a good idea to dramatically throw money at the dude who’s offering to knock off your disabled wife for cash. But! I am back now. And no-one was assassinated, bankrupted, suicided (although it turns out I myself am all too vulnerable to the charms of indoor, air-conditioned, building-sanctioned smoking) or killed by a convict for being someone’s total bummer of a secret wife. So, success!
“But Sady,” you ask, “what did you do on the plane ride back? Other than count the hours until you could fill your lungs with sweet, sweet cigarette once again?” Well, my friends, it turns out I wrote a bit for Comment is Free! And you can find it here:
“Snark” is one of those fundamentally goofy internet neologisms that we could try to fight, but are better-off just learning to work with. The word denotes mean humour: sarcasm, venom, the art of the put-down. Mostly, it’s an attitude. Snark is the kids at the back of the class, heckling the substitute teacher; it’s the voice of people who feel stifled, talked down to, or left out; the tool of people who have discovered that honing in on the weaknesses of those in power, exposing them publicly (if only to their own circle of friends), and reducing them to figures of fun (if only in their own minds), makes them feel a little less helpless.
Of course, it’s a powerful tool in political writing. But like most sources of political power, it should be regarded with some healthy distrust, especially by those who feel called to use it.
And now, I have reached my limit for typing the word “snark” in 2010. But you should read the rest of the piece! Enjoy. Or don’t, whatever. Because now, for the fifth time today, I am going back to sleep.