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Snark Paperback – Jan 12 2010

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Summer Clearance on Books Books That Make You Think

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Product Description


"[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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 96 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
An interesting mess Feb. 26 2009
By Julie H. Rose - Published on
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.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Shallow Feb. 1 2009
By Stop me before I type again - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Off to a bad start because he doesn't understand his subject, the "what" of current controversy. His argument -- if such it is -- is made worse because Denby simply doesn't understand how opinion is formed and expressed on the Net and elsewhere either. Mr. Denby is thereby sadly ill-suited to opine on the subject of Snark.

Maybe he should look at a recent article in his own New Yorker to see how savagely political debates have gone in this country in the past. He certainly doesn't understand the present. He should stick to media where things move more slowly.

Don't waste your money on this one.
50 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Factual Errors + No Humor = General Misunderstanding Jan. 31 2009
By EllenJay - Published on
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.
39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
we are not snarky because we agree with David Denby Jan. 30 2009
By Patricia R. Andersen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mr Denby decided who is snarky based on whether that person or organization agrees with his view of the world. His writing seems to be more about "see how cool I am" rather than making any clear definitions of "snark". People said/wrote mean things about Hilary Clinton or Ted Kennedy - that's "snark". Make fun of John McCain's age - that's "wit". Attacking any liberal is "snark" but attacking any conservative (especially a female) Mr Denby considers wit.
So if you agree with that generalization, you'll probably like this book.

One chapter stands out in my mind - the one about Maureen Dowd. The subtitle is "Wherein the most talented writer of snark in the country is called to account for her malevolence and naivete'" Isn't it "snarky" to suggest that M's Dowd's whole career has been based on writing nasty comments about politicians? He even blames M's Dowd for Al Gore's loss of the 2000 presidential election. Even the remark "no one...wants Dowd to beat her swords into knitting needles." Is that snark or just plain sexist? I'd say a bit of both.
So here's my thought - if you are a conservative or a Republican (the two don't always go hand in hand, despite what Mr Denby may think), you won't like this book. If you're liberal or a Democrat (again, they don't always go hand in hand as other people may think), you're probably like it.
Your mileage may vary.
92 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Totally worthless. Jan. 30 2009
By Kimba W. Lion - Published on
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.