Introducing Snark Week

snark-week-logo-1The idea for Snark Week came up in one of those email chains the writers of pass back and forth during the work day with story ideas and assignments. “Snark” probably isn’t the exact right word, but for our purposes here, it does rhyme with “shark.”

So don’t worry about a narrow diet of straight-up snarking for a week – after all, no reasonable person wants a fake Upper Midwest-specific transit and land use version of The Onion, right? Instead, the writers of will be spending Snark Week broadly playing around with the popular conventions of online writing, journalism and social media. Each day this week is generally divided into five sections, each familiar to daily consumers of social media:

  • Monday, Dec 1 – Meme Day
  • Tuesday, Dec 2 –  Clickbait Day
  • Wednesday, Dec 3 – Listicle Day
  • Thursday, Dec 4 – Infographics Day
  • Friday, Dec 5 – Sarcasm Day

I am not sure what Friday’s theme involve precisely, but I am sure whatever it is will be super-awesome and the kind of thing you’ll definitely want to check out like as much as possible.

So is Snark Week’s existence a grand, all-encompassing commentary on the state of online culture and it discontents? An exploration into how language and images shape our understanding of issues?

Oh god, no. We just think it’ll be funny. And, of course, we want clicks.

That said, the language of the internet pervades our everyday lives, and informs everything we see. The way we talk about issues and culture is inevitably viewed, at least partially, through the language of social media. It’s only natural to want to mess with the forms a little bit and see what happens. is a pure product of the internet, and to paraphrase Huffington Post Arts & Culture section blogger William Carlos Williams, the pure products of the internet go crazy. So let’s go crazy.

14 thoughts on “Introducing Snark Week

  1. Tom Kaiser

    Ugh x 2… This is not what the MPLS urbanist community needs to focus on. We already have a whole year of it… Also, I’m curious when snark became something fun. Snide remarks are inherently shitty, am I right?

  2. Andrea SteudelAndrea Steudel

    sneak attack LOL “I am not sure what Friday’s theme involve precisely, but I am sure whatever it is will be super-awesome and the kind of thing you’ll definitely want to check out like as much as possible.”

  3. Nick MagrinoNick Magrino

    I remember when I was, say, 11, and I watched King of the Hill because it was a cartoon that was on between The Simpsons and Futurama. Thinking about it in retrospect as an adult, I had no business laughing at any of the jokes.

    A lot of the time, the Internet is sort of like that.

  4. Doug TrummDoug Trumm

    I don’t think you’re right, Tom. Snide comments/snark are not inherently shitty and tend to be more productive than smarmy platitudes. Here’s a few quotations from Tom Scocca’s “On Smarm” to get the idea of the distinction.

    “Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of cynicism. The practice of cynicism is smarm.”

    “At some point, in a piece like this, convention calls for the admission that the complaints against snark are not entirely without merit. Fine. Some snark is harmful and rotten and stupid. Just as, to various degrees, some poems and Page-One newspaper stories and sermons and football gambling advice columns are harmful and rotten and stupid. Like every other mode, snark can sometimes be done badly or to bad purposes.”

    “Smarm, on the other hand, is never a force for good. A civilization that speaks in smarm is a civilization that has lost its ability to talk about purposes at all. It is a civilization that says “Don’t Be Evil,” rather than making sure it does not do evil.”

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