May 23, 2012

The Trouble with Snark

It seems to be a trend these days for people to be snarky.  What is snark?  It's basically a combination of "snide" and "remark."  It's a way of using sarcasm as humor.  Sometimes, it can be funny, but the problem is that sometimes it can be hurtful.  Particularly in online forums, I feel like sometimes people use snark to say things they might not say face to face, and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

I had two experiences recently that have left me feeling a little hurt, and wondering if the women who typed comments on my Facebook page would have said those same things to me in conversation.

The first happened after Easter, when I posted the following to my status:

"If your kid starts to cry and freak on the way home from an Easter party, you may be frustrated until the light goes on that there is an imbalance of the cookies and candy to real food ratio, and solve everything with a stop for chicken nuggets."

And minute later, this was the response I got from a friend:

"Chicken nuggest count as real food? LULZ!"

Okay...  I understand that everyone chooses to feed their kids differently, and I don't judge for it.  My son is only 6, and has sensory issues and different types of delays.  He only eats about 7 different foods EVER.  The chicken nuggets were breaded, yes.  But the majority of what they're made of is white meat chicken, and for a kid who barely eats, they DO count as real food.  They give him protein and nutrients.

When I read it, it a little bit made me want to cry.  Why?  Because it wasn't just a funny, witty, snarky thing to say.  It was judging me, and basically saying that if I think that's real food I am either a bad parent or stupid.  I am neither.  I take care of my children, and am offended by the idea that I'm not providing for them because I don't buy organic chicken cutlets and bake them in my oven every time I need to give them some protein.  I also talk to my kid's pediatrician and his occupational therapist and his special ed teacher about ways to try and expand his diet.

The second comment happened more recently, and was less personal, but still rubbed me the wrong way.  After the Glee episode where Bieste admited to being abused by her husband, and went back to him at the end, I posted this:

"Oh man... Glee just broke my heart a little."

I didn't go into details because I didn't want to spoil the show for anyone who hadn't watched it already.  Domestic Violence is a serious issue, and one that I have been involved in as a volunteer.  I thought they dealt with it well, and I was expressing my feelings about it.  A friend wrote:

"uh, by sucking for the last 2 seasons?"

I managed to respond just that it's not for everyone, but I still like it.  But it hurt my feelings. 

I just don't understand the urge to say something hurtful to be funny.  Both of these times, the people who posted the snarky comments could have just said nothing.  If someone else obviously likes something I don't like, I don't feel the need to walk up and tell them how much it sucks or imply that they shouldn't like it.  In both instances, the comments made me feel like I was being told I was stupid for doing something a certain way, or liking something that I like.

It's possible that these people would have said these things to my face.  But it's so much easier online to just say these things without thinking about how it could make the other person feel.  In the end, I just don't understand why the comments were neccesary.  There are situations where sarcasm and snark are appropriate - when you know someone well enough to know the comment will be well received or that it won't hurt their feelings.  But there is a line between being witty and being mean.  The blurring of that line, well, that's the trouble with snark.


Ediehope said...

Here's one: I posted a quote from Jimmy carter about the mistreatment of women by male religious leaders. I commented that I really like Jimmy Carter. Here's a comment that was posted in response: Jimmy Carter was SUCH a success, .we should ALL listen to his advice.
An unfriending has now occurred. Did I say that anyone had to agree with me? Did I somehow personally insult you by liking Jimmy Carter? Did I ask for your approval of my feelings? Why do you feel the need to mock me on my own FB page? So agressive! I don't have friends that treat me like that.

Kori said...

Oh my god, if chicken nuggets aren't real food then I am so screwed. Why the hell should you have to justify your food choices? I am sorry someone was so unfeeling.

Brooke said...

Yeah, this is why I don't usually comment on people's status.  It might sound really funny in my head, but you never know how something is going to sound in the other person's head.

Mrs4444 said...

I think the trouble lies in the fact that responding is so easy these days, making replies almost immediate. People don't think. Back in the day, you wrote a letter and let it sit a day or two before you took it to the post office, giving you time to think. 

I read a FB post or two last night by people who should have waited until they were sober; my guess is that today, they took them down.

Rachael1013 said...

Yes, MOCKING! That is the word. I don't get it.