Sunday, December 25, 2005

When David Lee Roth meets a snarky NYT reporter ...

Down with Snark has the rundown, with this terrific conclusion: "If Ms. Finn wants to include snarky little put downs in every other paragraph of her written output, she should resign her post and get a blog. That's what the internet is for. There should be a line between actual journalism and the claptrap that I write. That line, if it ever existed, is eroding. We will miss it if it disappears."


I'm not sure I can extrapolate the .444 percentage that Michael comes up with here. Some of these comments may or may not be snarky. But to me, that's actually worse. Finn sounds like the kid in the Simpsons Homerpalooza episode who can no longer tell if he's being sarcastic.

The funny thing is that one reason Roth may be pretty good on the radio is that he can deliver more than snark. His naivete left the building a long time ago, but he sees genuine humor in situations. If you were to be trapped on the Titanic as it sunk with one guy, he'd probably be that guy. He'd do his best to make you laugh about things as you plunged into the icy Atlantic, and he wouldn't be telling some tired joke about buying the captain some glasses or asking if the shipbuilders made the hull out of tin foil.

The conceit -- actually, make that one conceit -- of today's snark peddlers is the assumption that anyone who's no longer doing the thing that made him famous has become a loser. Put them in front of A Christmas Story, and they'll guess that the kid who plays Ralphie is probably flipping burgers somewhere. (The reality: Peter Billingsley is a successful producer. The VH1 crowd might not want to piss him off.)

But the biggest problem here isn't just that Finn deals in snark. The problem is that supposedly elite papers think this is how they should broaden their appeal. The Times isn't alone -- The Washington Post is turning over more and more of its sports page to kids whose idea of analysis is "Yeah. Jake Delhomme. He's great." (Well, is he?)

The curious trend in the media today is that we keep adopting the worst aspects of other media. Fox took the worst aspects of CNN and blew them out, and CNN copied the fuzzy copy of itself. Now papers are taking the worst aspects of blogging.

Resolution for 2006: Find a new industry.

No comments: