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Snark [Paperback]

David Denby

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Book Description

Jan. 12 2010
• An acclaimed and thoughtful author: David Denby has been writing insightful film reviews since the 1970s. Formerly a columnist for The Atlantic and New York magazine, he has been with The New Yorker for the past decade. His nonfiction account of Western literature, Great Books , has been praised for its intelligence and breadth of scope..

• A biting polemic on the cultural tone of today: Snark tells the story of that nasty combination of snide and sarcasm that goes beyond irony and satire to just plain ugliness. Snark erupts from the mouths of politicians and pundits, from bloggers and newscasters, and from comedians too lazy to be truly funny. It’s the cheap shot that hits below the belt. It’s everywhere, and according to Denby, it’s damaging to everyone it touches. .

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Jan. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416599460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416599463
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 16.8 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,140,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[A] densely packed, thoroughly [listenable] foray into a contemporary phenomenon." ---The Boston Globe --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

David Denby has been film critic and staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998; prior to that he was film critic of New York magazine. His reviews and essays have also appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.3 out of 5 stars  95 reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mess Feb. 26 2009
By Julie H. Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I agree with other reviewers that this book is a mess. At 121 pages, one would think an editor could have easily helped, but it appears that editing is becoming another lost art.

Denby rambles, rages, and contradicts himself frequently. Yet,unlike other reviewers, I enjoyed every page.

I agree with the book's premise (though, at times, Denby doesn't seem to agree with himself). Because of this, I could put up with this short book's many flaws.

And yes, Denby is an elitist. He seems to find "snark" perfectly fine when practiced by those with enough credentials (or an English accent). Honestly, I had to laugh at this bit of hypocrisy.

I must admit I found it refreshing to read such an imperfect book of ideas. I'm leaning towards congratulating Denby for exposing his thoughts in such a free-flowing manner, warts and all.

The subject of the degradation of public discourse is one that needs to be addressed. "Snark", at least, starts the conversation. It also reads like a conversation, which is another reason I found it compelling, even as I scoffed over one point or another.

If you enjoy cocktail party debate, you may enjoy this book. If you're looking for an intellectually consistent, well researched tome, pass it by. Goodness knows, everyone else is recommending you do just that.

Myself, I had a good time with this short romp. Denby obviously enjoyed writing this, and I didn't mind spending a few hours with him in print.
40 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy writing, Lazy points Feb. 1 2009
By Brigid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The very fact that Denby would choose to "take on the snarkers" by being snarky about them undercuts his point. If he truly finds the form so distasteful why is it good enough for those he disagrees with. Additionally he doesn't seem to understand what "snark" really is. This reads like someone who doesn't get it rather than any kind of serious cultural critique. It also features some serious factual errors that serve to undercut his point even further. When coupled with the lazy sexism inherent in some of his points (any woman who writes anything mean about another woman has some form of "cat fight syndrome," it's true) it makes the book nearly unreadable.
91 of 120 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally worthless. Jan. 30 2009
By Kimba W. Lion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book is nothing more than an extension of the extreme nastiness that we had to endure during the 2008 election campaigns. While Denby tries to confuse the reader with scholarly pretensions, the book basically boils down to "people who made nasty comments I agree with are true wits; those I don't agree with are harming our culture". That's why people are saying they aren't getting a clear idea of what Denby means by "snark": he doesn't have one any better than that. Fortunately for him, he picks the correct people to praise, and so he can get favorable reviews in most of the press. For myself, I'm sorry I wasted my time with this book.

Some books are so bad, I refuse to inflict them on others by reselling them or giving them away. This book is in that category. Straight into the recycling bin.
47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Factual Errors + No Humor = General Misunderstanding Jan. 31 2009
By EllenJay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Denby had an interesting book idea, and given that I enjoy political satire and am interested in the way it was used on all sides during the last election cycle, I thought this might be a terrific read. Wrong. I'm not sure how Denby came to possess the many axes he wants to grind, but his criticisms are chockablock with factual errors. Not only did he need the services of basic fact-checking, but his own utter lack of a sense of humor means that he frequently misinterprets what he reads. If his complaint against some bloggers and media is that they attack people without reason and without careful adherence to standards of truthfulness, well... hypocrite, anyone? This is not worth your money; don't bother.
64 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laughably uninformed and pointless Jan. 30 2009
By Swami B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
David Denby futilely attempts to define 'snark' and its corrosive effect on U.S. culture, but the New Yorker critic can barely muster a succinct definition of the term without contradicting himself. If you were looking for perspective from a 'public intellectual' in the vein of Susan Sontag's 'Notes on Camp,' you will be disappointed. Denby posits that anyone who does not espouse his political opinions is somehow guilty of snarkinees. So, he's basically a cramped and frustrated spokesman for the Democratic Party. And I'm fully aware that I'm snarky.
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