Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Anti-Snark

(Channeling Andy Rooney)

You know, I don't like this thing called snark. I know it's supposed to be de rigueur (wait, would Andy have said "de rigueur"?) to be cutting, condescending and mean in everything from TV commercials to book reviews (to political sound bites to Facebook posts to normal everyday conversation), but I always think of the old idiom: "You can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar." It's served me well, anyway.

Not that I want to catch any flies, or sugar-coat anything. And not that I can't be gossipy and say something absolutely shitty about someone, particularly if they've pissed me off, but only in the company of one or two really good friends who know I'm mostly nice. I choose not to write it down and put it out in the world, because I know it's not the truth. It may be my truth, for about ten minutes, but that kind of vitriol, that speech that comes from anger or low self esteem or woundedness, damages all of us. It unravels our society, thread by thread, by making it okay to say shitty stuff. But it's not okay. So, as a writer, I choose not to put mean or negative words out into the zeitgeist (which is so full of it at this point in time, anyway, that mine would get lost. But that's not the point.)

The point is:

"A writer's job is to tell the truth." Andy Rooney said that. The truth is important, not opinion. The Internet and reality TV have brainwashed everyone into thinking their opinions are overly important and ought to be shared, loudly, in bold face. "But I have the right to free speech!" some snark might say, or "I'm just saying it's my opinion!"

And I'm saying, your opinion doesn't count. The truth counts. Tell the truth of the matter, of the situation or emotion, of your feelings about the topic, and then I'll stop complaining.

And if you find something I've written somewhere that is mean, condescending or snarky, well. As Andy said, "The average dog is a nicer person that the average person." I try my best.

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