Monday, October 24, 2011

Snark -- Not!

  A recent issue of the Romance Writers Report from RWA® advised writers to check their electronic footprint by doing a search for their own names.   Since this exercise seemed like a good opportunity to procrastinate, I typed my name into Google and awaited results.  As expected, I turned up my own web-page, my local chapter of RWA and even a mention of this blog.  What came as a pleasant surprise was a compliment from another blog that I'd never seen before.  What came back like a bad penny was a snarky review I received five years ago for one of my historical romances. (sigh)
  A few days later, I watched an episode of "Harry's Law" on television.  In the story, a seventeen year old girl, C, is accused of homicide in the death of a classmate, D.  Now, D had committed suicide but the prosecution contended that C had contributed to D's death because of cyber bullying.  It turned out that C had a blog where she attacked D over and over and even incited their classmates to join in the bullying.
    Apart from the legal question, what I found shocking in this story was the prevalence of nastiness in cyber-space.  There is even a recognized sub-genre called "snark blog."   It has its own definition on urban dictionary.
     Readers are supposed to find these mean, cruel, cynical remarks, directed against real people, funny.  We are supposed to laugh when others are skewered with flip, ugly words.  The blogger who can invent a new insult or develop a new victim, attracts a following.  And the victim can be anyone -- redheads, youngest children, those whose name beings with Q.  There is no purpose to these rants, other than to build self-esteem in the blogger, with no regard for the consequences to the hapless target.  The criticisms are not "earned," there is no intent to produce a change in behaviour, to enlighten or inform.  A snark blog is merely a random act of mental cruelty.  Often the blogger hides behind a pseudonym.
     So, given these two experiences of snark, I want to extend a heart-felt thank you to my fellow bloggers on this page and to our readers for keeping a snark-free zone.
May we contine to extol acts of mindless generosity and random kindness.

Visit me at
where never is heard a discouraging word. :-)


  1. Thank you for this thoughtful blog post, Alice. I echo your sentiments, and also appreciate ICFW being a snark0free zone.

  2. Alice, such a good reminder that we're here to help support each other (on earth and in this group). I think snarky is often a sign of insecurity--those who feel they need to look superior to someone else.

  3. I agree, Donna. I think destructive criticism is always intended to bolster the critiquer rather than help the critiqee.