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Snark Kindle Edition

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Length: 145 pages
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] densely packed, thoroughly [listenable] foray into a contemporary phenomenon." ---The Boston Globe

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

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Julie H. Rose on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stop me before I type again on February 1, 2009
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.
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92 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Kimba W. Lion VINE VOICE on January 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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56 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Theodora777 on January 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Who's snarkier than a film critic, or any person whose bread and butter comes from tearing down what others have created? I expected better. However, if you're looking for a coherent definition of snark, you won't find it here. You won't really find coherent here, period. The most surreal moment was probably when the author, who clearly has no love for conservatives and Republicans, not only tried to tear into Wonkette, the top snarky progressive blog, but made such severe factual errors in doing so that they completely undermined whatever point he was trying to make (in case you read this, Denby, the Wonkette post about Chelsea Clinton that led to your brilliant observation that the snark was motivated by the "young woman" author's jealousy of Chelsea Clinton? It was written by a man; two of the three Wonkette editors are male. But nice sexist stereotyping anyway.). V. glad I read this in B&N and didn't pay for it.
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65 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Swami B on January 30, 2009
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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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful By S. Cox on January 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What a senseless piece of garbage. Since when does proving that one is out of touch garner a book deal? At its best, Snark is uninformed and off-the-mark. At its worst, it is baseless and malicious. Since fact-checking and proper editing were apparently disregarded, maybe Denby should have just gotten a blog.
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50 of 65 people found the following review helpful By EllenJay on January 31, 2009
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.
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