I am on day five of a constant headache (sinus infection, maybe) and I am feeling a little snarky. "Snarky," according to the Wiktionary, is an adjective meaning:
I've been thinking a lot about the difference between snarkiness and humor lately.
Wiktionary defines humor as:1. Something funny, e.g. a joke, satire, or parody.
He treated the sensitive subject with enough humor that no one was offended.
2. Four fluids (blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm) that were believed to control the health and mood of the human body
3. A mood, especially a bad mood. He was in a particularly vile humor that afternoon.
4. Either of the two regions of liquid within the eyeball, the aqueous humour and vitreous humour.
(I'm really only concerned with the first definition for this post, although, as we all know, I have intimate knowledge of the last one.)
(Also, as I read a little further about the etymology of the word, it said this: From Middle English < Old French humor < Latin humor, correctly umor (“‘moisture’”) < humere, correctly umere (“‘to be moist’”).
(Which made me laugh.)
(BUT I DIGRESS. )
Anyway, look, the basic definition of humor is "something funny" and the basic definition of snarkiness is "something snide."
It seems like there's this epidemic of people confusing the two on the Internet, and I find that my Twitter, Facebook and Blog Reader are all filled with The Snark.
It makes me tired, the Snark. I mean, there is already so much negativity out there. So many people using the pseudo-anonymity of the Internet to take crass and irrelevant pot-shots at other people simply because they hold differing views. So many people taking evidence of common human frailty (weight gain or aging or momentary bad judgment) to say something snide and soul-crushing under the guise of being funny.
Well, it's NOT funny.
There is a difference.
I've been thinking about the things that make me laugh: the earnestness of babies, of puppies, of Dave Barry --there's no smirk there. No Snark.
Even when Dave is TRYING to be sort of snarky, he's really just funny. "Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing." See, he's TRYING to make fun of golfers, but it's not in an "I'm cooler than the people about whom I snark" way and therefore, it is FUNNY. We all already know that Dave has hideous clothing himself. It's been established.
Same with this one: "Guys are simple... women are not simple and they always assume that men must be just as complicated as they are, only way more mysterious. The whole point is guys are not thinking much. They are just what they appear to be. Tragically." See, we know Dave is a GUY, so this is funny.
"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear." Funny to anyone who has every ridden with a dog in a car.
"Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby. This is also true of religion, although you will not find me saying so in print."
(I want to grow up to be Dave Barry.)
See, I think true humor is INCLUSIVE and based on shared experiences. Snarkiness that is trying to be funny is usually aimed at making someone else feel bad --for the way they dress or eat or vote or whatever.
I want to start a new Anti-Snark Movement. Because, People, we are killing our collective good nature under the guise of a smirk. If something someone writes makes you smirk, it's usually not funny, it's usually MEAN.
(In the words of the immortal Dave: "I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care.")
So, first of all I think we need a button. Anyone out there who can design an Anti-Snark button? I would volunteer except, well, that requires more knowledge than I possess of the inner workings of computer design stuff. (And I already have a headache.)
And then we need a regular feature on an Anti-Snark Rock Star (TM). THIS I am qualified to do and I am going to do this on Tuesdays because Tuesdays are typically hard for everyone. There is just something so TUESDAY about them --we need to take them back. I propose we begin with visiting a new (to me) blog I've just discovered. MurrMurrs is the blog of Murr Brewster. It's sort of a literary blog--sort of like what Mark Twain would be writing if he were alive and blogging today.
Enjoy, and tell her she's an Anti-Snark Rock Star.
Here, laugh at the baby dancing --it's FUNNY: