My absolute least-favorite trend in journalism: the oversnark

There’s a time and a place for wit. LOADS of times and places, in fact. I adore wit. My devotion to it, I believe, is what leads me to respond to all the wrong men on OkCupid while the nicer, slightly less clever guys who would probably make excellent boyfriends are doomed to perish in my rejected file. (That was conceited. They probably won’t perish. They’ll probably be just fine without me. Good luck to you, nice witless fellows!)

Where were we? Right. Wit. I usually like it. But one place I could do without it is in my news reporting, when I’m not really dying for an invisible yuk-yuk elbow jab.

Plenty of places are guilty of the oversnark. My eyes roll a lot when I read Jezebel, for example — and I enjoy (and have written for) Jezebel. And though I spend every morning with the gang over at the Today show, I nearly had an aneurysm last week when, while former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson was speaking, they flashed the following hed: “Former senator goes gangnam for fiscal cliff action.”  I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Look:

fiscal cliff

Anyway, here’s the example that’s setting me off right now, from New York magazine online:


Maa. Like, really? It’s not even offensive, it’s just dumb. I adore New York magazine. Other than the two mags I work for, New York is the only print publication I read religiously. So I’m speaking as a fan. An irritated fan. Not every post needs to end with a smirk. Sometimes a post can just end. Save your smirks, writers. Save ’em for a rainy day! You’re hurting your writing. Stop trying to be so clever, everybody. I promise we’ll be okay.

All right. Rant over.