It is. I like being snarky. Snarky is funny. Who doesn't like to laugh?
But, and you thinking people could smell this but coming, snark can be problematic particularly for people of faith, people who take their faith seriously, people who want others to come to the faith.
That, apparently, is the message Calah Alexander is selling:
That’s not fair, said I to myself. I’m almost always cordial and friendly. I’ve tried really hard to be patient and not divisive or heated. And if you’re talking about that Michael Voris thing, that doesn’t count. Come on! He deserved it! Plus, sometimes a girl just needs to rant, you know?
No, said my stupid, honest, irritatingly square conscience. You don’t need to rant. You just want to. And fine, go and do it in a closet or something. But don’t do it in an online platform that reaches thousands of people a week. All you are doing is causing scandal and tarnishing the name of Patheos, not to mention the name of Christ whom you claim to represent to all in an inter-faith forum. That’s to all, yo. Even Michael Voris.
I hate my conscience. Being snarky is fun! I love snark. I love me some Bloggess and some Electric Venom. I love to write snark. A wise editor once told me never to be snarky. That is advice I hold fast to sometimes and try my best to ignore other times. It’s just that snark is so much fun. And people eat it up. They love it. Just like I love it.
Until it’s turned on me. I’ve been the target of some pretty snarky blog posts, comments, and entire forum threads. It’s not fun to be snarked at. But it’s even worse when they’re right. It’s worse because it takes twice as much time to get yourself to admit that yes, you’ve been a total asshat, because you’re so hurt and angry about the asshats who are laughing snarkily at you.
I was exhilarated when I published that Michael Voris post. It was so much fun to write. The words came easily. I enjoyed myself tremendously. I felt some conscience-twinging before I put it up so I passed around the Catholic Patheosi to get reactions. Then I mostly ignored the negative ones and published it. It was a solid post, I told myself. Maybe not the most charitable, but a post, and I didn’t have any more time to blog that day. Whatever. I can’t be charitable all the time, you know, I told the Ogre.Sometimes I just have to tell it like it is.
In the post, I couched my rant in terms of “this is really a public service announcement, you know, just so that non-Catholics don’t think we’re really this deranged.” That was completely disingenuous, and not even cleverly so. It was a weak excuse to foam at the mouth, throw someone under the bus, and stir up a hornet’s nest. I don’t actually know if that was a consciously-formed intention, but I sure did refresh the combox gleefully that afternoon. I was even disappointed that there weren’t more angry commenters.
I’m sure that Michael Voris didn’t see that post, but if he had, it would have had the same effect as walking up to him on the street and spitting in his face.I made no coherent argument. There was no true concern and not the slightest hint of charity. I do think he was wrong. The video did upset me. The mature, charitable,Christian thing to do would have been to write a post laying out an argument, pointing out errors, and attempting to open up a dialogue. Instead, I laid on the virtual floor and kicked and screamed like my toddler sometimes does. She gets sent to time-out for that, and has to come back and apologize.
So this is is me, coming back and apologizing. In no way did anything I wrote in that post contribute to fruitful dialogue in this virtual reality. I do think that video is wrong on so many levels, but throwing a public hissy fit about it only caused more division, strife, and anger-the very things I was upset about Michael Voris doing.
You may need to read the whole thing for context but Calah's post has me wondering.
Is snarking under attack? Is it always wrong to be... well... a snarkass?
There's a person I now read regularly who I consider to be a premiere snarkass. I don't think you can get much more snarky than the snark that comes from Mark Shea's keyboard.
Snarky Mark is constantly challenging my premises, constantly making me rethink what I think instictively, constantly allowing me to see a perspective I've not seen before. His snarkassedness pisses me off in the moment but... I keep going back and when I do, I see something in a new light, I see something freshly, and, I believe (more times reluctantly) that I'm becoming the Catholic I'm supposed to become.
Of course, the risk is that I'll begin to see Mark, who is after all a human and thus flawed, as the end all for all things Catholic. Yet, the more I read Mark, the more I see that he's keenly aware of that risk and communicates it regularly. And besides, thankfully, I don't always come around to his way of thinking. Heh.
Anyway, all this to say that though I appreciate Calah's caveats, I do think there's a place for snarkasses.
And that, to this snarkass, offers some hope.