Why Colonel Sartoris?

Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Introducing a New Word: "SNARKIRAZZI"

Pronunciation: \ˌsnär-kə-ˈrät-(ˌ)sē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian, a portmanteau of "snarky" and Paparazzi, surname of a gossip a photographer in the film La Dolce Vita (1959)
Date: 2013
1. A growing class of young, well-educated, politically liberal, usually self-described "progressive," bloggers who rely on conceited, dismissive, and belittling sarcasm in their writing to express conclusions or opinions formed without knowledge of relevant facts and without exposure to or consideration of any justification or rationale for that which they criticize.

2. People who read such writing or who speak or think in a similar manner.

Yeah, it's "a thing," so I made a word for it. I have long railed against East Coast elitism in the press and among "educated" people my age, so I figured I would come up with a word for those acolytes of elitism, those sacerdotes of snark.

The best example is Gawker. Smart people write for it, people who can turn an effective phrase and bulls-eye shoot the tone and impression they aim for. But it's annoying. Their authors try to outdo themselves in snark (not the eponymous creature of Lewis Carroll's poem, but the snot-nosed, vitriolic put-downs that today pass for wit) with every post, every report, every "article" that gets written. They write without facts and without having considered other points of view. And they spout disgust for people who disagree with them.

I understand that people think differently; they do not. I try to start with the premise that other people probably have a rationale for doing the things they do and that I should try to understand it before criticizing it. Snarkirazzi, in contrast, start with the premise that they are the smartest, coolest on the block and whatever they don't understand after a nano-second glance must be idiotic and thus ripe and proper fodder for mockery.

It wouldn't bother me so much if so many people didn't subscribe to this way of thinking and ape it. I am afraid, however, that people my age do. I realize that Gawker is not the New Republic, but that does not bother me. What bothers me is that few people my age know the New Republic/The Nation/whatever and understand the value that thoughtfulness and reason have in political news.

We talk about my generation's discontent with the current partisan gamesmanship that passes for statesmanship in Washington--the 2008 Obama campaign encapsulates that sentiment. But this gamesmanship, failure to compromise, and a literal inability to talk to or understand the other side is being trained into us and reinforced by sites and news outlets like Gawker.

They are educated enough to write better, and we are educated enough to read better. Way better than what we're fed by the snarkirazzi.

No comments:

Post a Comment