Over at Splice Today, Russ Smith rummaged through a forgotten copy of Snark by David Denby (a 9 "on the tool meter") and suggests that Denby has come very late to a party that broke up quite some time ago:
[In the Los Angeles Times,] David L. Ulin was more charitable to the sexagenarian New Yorker film critic…than Denby deserved, I thought, but the reviewer did his duty and noted the mass of contradictions in the insufferably pretentious 128-page essay. (Denby traces "snark"-a word that seems as anachronistic today as, say Tina Brown or flipping condos in South Florida-back to Juvenal and Jonathan Swift, which simply confuses his vengeful thesis.)
In truth, the descent of "snark" may be traced to last February when the onetime hero of the airwaves Jon Stewart turned in a lackluster performance as emcee of the Oscars. In 2009, the everyday sadness and pressure of extraordinarily difficult economic conditions-now and ahead-has increasingly caused readers to eschew gratuitous nastiness. Making fun of others isn't so funny anymore: to a certain extent, everyone's in the same slowly sinking boat, and wise-guy talk isn't endearing under somber circumstances.