Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

23 February 2009

Mo money, no problems

I just got back from a check-up at Magee -- it went very well, thanks; got to visit the people who put me back together and took a cab all by myself and everything! -- so I'm not going to get all high-and-mighty preacherlike about the owners of the Inky and Daily News going all bankrupt and all. I grew up with those papers, and I love those papers. Besides, I really don't think you can argue that this spells the end of 'em. (Besides, pre-accident, I was loving the days I spent at
Instead, I'm gonna reference a book review I read in the Sunday Inquirer, that came from the L.A. Times, about the New Yorker's David Denby's latest book, Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation. Because, quite frankly, I agree with the premise that untrained bloggers who fancy themselves journalists are too prone to throw an insult at something to pretend they understand the intricacies rather than taking time to, well, understand the intricacies.
Oh, and they're snot-nosed bitches who I wouldn't want to have a conversation with anyway. So there.

Snark aspires to make a counterargument: that the culture of mean, as exemplified by Gawker, TMZ, and Perez Hilton, is not just idiotic, but also a dehumanizing force.
"We are in a shaky moment," Denby writes, "a moment of transition, and I think it's reasonable to ask: What are we doing to ourselves? What kind of journalistic culture do we want? . . . What kind of national conversation?"
These are excellent questions, the kind any thinking person ought to be asking as the top-down authority of traditional media yields to the fluidity of the electronic frontier. What makes this new paradigm so exciting, after all, is what also makes it so unsettling: that we can respond to anything instantaneously, almost without thinking, Twittering and posting and YouTubing in an endless monologue, like Joyce's stream of consciousness run amok.
"The trouble with today's snarky pipsqueaks who break off a sentence or two, or who write a couple of mean paragraphs," Denby notes, in a snarky aside of his own, "is that they don't go far enough; they don't have a coherent view of life. Spinning around in the media from moment to moment, they don't stand for anything, push for anything; they're mere opportunists without dedication, and they don't win any victories."

In other words, the righteous are on Lily Allen's side. And on Randy "The Ram" Robinson's, the real Best Actor to the non-commies among us.


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