Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Snark Reflex

I had fun live tweeting the Oscars this year, along with a huge percentage of my tweeps, and all the people I follow who have never heard of me and never will. Lena Dunham, for example, was very witty, as usual. She also had a sort of hall-monitor moment which struck me as rather odd. She addressed those being snarky about Anne Hathaway as “Ladies” and urged us to save our snark for those who are are not feminists/advancing “the cause.” 

Consider those of us who were at least initially puzzled by backwards necklaces properly chastised.

There are two things happening here. First, Dunham seems to be suggesting that it’s perfectly acceptable to make snide comments about people who do not share one’s political or cultural views. This is sort of a troubling idea if you really think about it.

Second, Dunham was not the only tweeter last Sunday to break in to the general merriment to chastise the “haters” and call for a more positive commentary.

Are you kidding me?

Dear Positivity Police,
When I tweeted about the fact that Kristin Stewart might reasonably have been expected to comb her hair…to present at The Academy Awards…I wasn’t under some delusion that I was being helpful. K-Stew does not care what we think—it’s sort of her thing. Also, again, to be clear, we’re talking about the freaking Oscars, people. Not grooming=tacit permission for snark.

I guess the thing is, my thinking is that it is and should be okay for the vast majority of the world who was not invited to an opulent event for shiny, wealthy people to engage in a bit of harmless commentary. We are not talking about picking on a group of insecure eighth graders here. Does every conversation have to be positive? It seems to me that it’s all too easy to carve out a little piece of the moral high ground by tossing off a tweet telling everyone to stop the hating.

I hope none of them were being hypocritical: I hope their profiles would reveal only cheerleading and supportive emoticons.  But I also think they kind of missed the point. For myself—I was not hating. I love the Oscars. I love the beautiful dresses, but I actually kind of enjoy the weird, disaster ones even more. I like the whole schmear: the bad jokes, the terrible pre-show hosts. Doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes cry watching some random person win an Oscar for Documentary Short Film—some person I’ve never heard of and a movie I’ll never see. Because there’s something really beautiful about watching someone’s dream come true.

I’m not just one thing or the other: all snark or meanness, or all sunshine and :)’s. I say, your target’s a multi-millionaire who was recently considered pretty enough to play Snow White, go ahead and obey the snark reflex. And feel free to make fun of me for crying when that guy thanked his grandma.


  1. Well said. It's great sport to make fun of the super famous.

    Hollywood needs to toughen up.

    Personally, I thought Kristen looked like she finished a twelve hour shift at SUBWAY. And Anne H's pointed boobie dress looked like a B+ from sewing class 101.

    Rock on.

  2. YES! Long shift at Subway, or a slightly shorter one running the deep fryer someplace.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't get those darts.
    Also still sort of freaked out by backwards necklaces.