Thursday, January 10, 2008

On Snark

I think Annie of Anniemiz presents a decent discussion of public 'snark' and I'd like to address a few of the points that she makes. She asks what it is that expressing such an opinion adds to the discussion or what it actually achieves and offers some ideas.

Yes, it does inform the authors that their work stinks. But, from what I read, the authors should already have known that (more on that later). Whether or not this is helpful in terms of their philosophy (of which, I maintain there was littler or none anyway), depends on what exactly was the problem. If someone has made a genuine effort, but simply wasn't very good, I probably would have included them - and I would not have spoken to them that way. If, as I found, you are dealing with people who think that any passing fancy or opinion counts as philosophy, then being humbled can be very helpful - I should know, I've been there.

It is somewhat satisfying to make such comments, but as Annie well knows, only for a short time. And I concede it probably has not improved me. But it certainly wasn't easier to say it rather than not.

I agree also that public 'snark' can detract from the evaluation of it's subject. But since I didn't include publicly name the targets, that clearly was not my intention.

I had two aims: I wanted to send a clear message to those people that not only what they submitted was unacceptable, it evidenced a level of laziness and arrogance that I took to be an expression of contempt for the Carnival and for the practice of Philosophy itself, and that I would not let it go unanswered. I like to think that if Socrates was alive and hosting he would be at least as rude.
Secondly, I wanted to provoke a discussion regarding the expression of such attitudes, as it is something of a point of contention.

I think maybe I could have used less snark, but I won't settle for no snark at all.

No comments: