Sunday, March 08, 2009

Snark Attack

I'm all for sarcasm or snark, as its called on the blogs. Lord knows I've been known to indulge in a bit of snark myself on occasion (OK, maybe more than occasionally).

However, Maureen Dowd is swimming in it. Drowning, in fact. The problem is that its seem to have become the only stroke she knows. Her latest piece, Should Michelle Cover Up?, is a smorgasbord of snark. Starting from the mistaken premise that she is a "journalist" (lets try columnist or pundit), she jumps from a riff on Obama's treatment of the new British prime minister to a critique of Michele Obama's attire and physical appearance.

Although it is almost difficult to tell (if you can actually make it to the end of the column), Dowd in fact ends on a positive note regarding Michelle Obama. The problem is that it's buried in all the unnecessary snark:

She ignored that talk, thank heavens. I love the designer-to-J. Crew glamour. Combined with her workaday visits to soup kitchens, inner-city schools and meetings with military families, Michelle’s flare is our depression’s answer to Ginger Rogers gliding around in feathers and lamé.

Her arms, and her complete confidence in her skin, are a reminder that Americans can do anything if they put their minds to it. Unlike Hillary, who chafed at the loathed job of first lady, and Laura, who for long stretches disappeared into the helpmeet role, Michelle has soared every day, expanding the job to show us what can be accomplished by a generous spirit, a confident nature and a well-disciplined body.

I also have no doubt she can talk cap-and-trade with ease and panache.
I think someone needs to buy her a copy of David Denby's book, Snark. He must have had Dowd in mind when he wrote the book, which describes Snark:
What is snark? You recognize it when you see it -- a tone of teasing, snide, undermining abuse, nasty and knowing, that is spreading like pinkeye through the media and threatening to take over how Americans converse with each other and what they can count on as true. Snark attempts to steal someone's mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness.
Describing Dowd's column, Booman Tribune puts it so aptly: "I have no words."

And, I suppose I'm being snarky about the whole thing.


boukman70 said...

Actually, I listened to an article with Denby where he especially pointed out Dowd. I haven't read the book, but I can only imagine that he takes her to task.

I agree, the woman rides a one-trick pony called "Snark," and her schtick is getting kinda old. Was she actually a journalist at one time?

Susan said...

I tried on my sleeveless mother-of-the-bride dress yesterday and hubby asked,"Does it come with a jacket?" In fact, it does. And, for me, it should. So I also have noticed Michelle Obama's liking for sleeveless outfits. She looks pretty good. But I agree that this observation should be the end of the story. Keep on snarkin', Judi.

JudiPhilly said...


I saw Denby on Letterman, but didn't recall him mentioning Dowd (he did note that Jon Stewart was an example of good snark). Yes, Dowd was a journalist, but is only one today in her own mind. To the rest of us, she's the Snark Queen.

P.S. Checked out your blog. Love your writing style. May pick up one of your books.

Susan: There is a time & a season for all things, including sleeveless.

boukman70 said...

Thanks. I'm glad you like.

I think the interview I heard was on "Fresh Air," but I'm not sure. It was definitely some NPRish show.