MOMENT | Snark is the New Black

Photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus* from SNL by Alan Singer, 1983.

Is it me or has anyone else been feeling that the Internet has gotten even more negative than its usual cranky self? Here are a few recent observations: The ALS ice bucket challenge goes viral, raises millions and millions to fight a horrible disease, and yet Slate runs a pious story that points out a lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research (as if). 13 year old Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, and so many ugly comments come out, including a guy on Twitter with 91,000 followers who said: Mo'ne Davis will get knocked up by one of her teammates within the next 3 years. It gets favorited 141 times, retweeted 72 times. An award-winning unbelievably talented chef (who happens to be a nice person and decent human being) starts a jam company out of the trunk of her car, then grows to open an incredibly successful restaurant in a gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood and McSweeny's tears it down with satire that is so farfetched it's comical. I recently went to a movie and noticed two guys next to us laughing hysterically at all the parts I was. By chance, we all ended up at the same restaurant afterwards and they said hi and asked if I liked the movie. I said (thinking it was obvious by our collective guttural reactions), "Yeah, I loved it, you?" His response, "No. We did not care for it."

Has it become so incredibly out of vogue to just earnestly like something good? Sorry for the after school special tone, but this is all making me depressed. I'm guilty for my share (and more) of eye rolls, so I'm very much saying this to myself as well, but I think it's worth stating that it's not easy to open a restaurant, be a girl in the Little League World Series, start a magazine, produce a movie that makes you laugh for an hour and a half, put out an album, or start something that the world cares about. It is easy, however, to craft a snarky tweet or a nasty comment with almost complete anonymity. No we shouldn't be robotic in praise, and yes criticism is a sign you've "arrived", but I feel like we're starting to create a culture that praises the hate of art more than the actual creation of art.

*Julia Louis-Dreyfus is awesome.

Update: The New York Times also covered this topic (with more research and reporting, obviously) just this weekend. Thanks for the tip, Lite + Cycle!