I’m old enough to have some context on the notion of snark in the mainstream world. I’m old enough that I remember staying up way past my bedtime in the late 1970s to see the Not Ready For Primetime Players do their thing on SNL. A little bit later, it was David Letterman’s Late Night that was the center of the snarky world. About the same time, Spy Magazine was picking on Donald Trump and everyone cool seemed have an inside joke they could all chuckle about.
Then things changed.
The 1990s came and, well, things weren’t very snarky. There was the wildcat site Suck, but that was a flash in the pan as the Internet began to go mainstream. People were too fat and sassy and the only snark in mainstream was stuff like the comedy troupe The State. But for about a decade, there wasn’t much snark.
Then, about 2003-2004, Gawker popped up and snark came back in force. Unfortunately, Gawker started off snarky and ended up, well, just fucking mean. But it definitely served a snarky purpose and even went so far as to write really long pieces about snark / smarm that everyone talked about for a few days.
I would say the closest thing we have to mainstream snark is, well, Twitter. We have a kind of peer-to-peer snark now. What’s really ironic is Gawker died just about the time Trump rose to power. Gawker probably — if it had kept it scruples about it — could have been a major player in the Trump Era. New York Magazine and The Daily Beast occasionally attempt to claim the Gawker snark throne, to varying degrees of success. And a lot of the writers of Gawker have endup in plum write gigs across the media world, so its snarky legacy lives on in its own way.
And, honestly, I don’t see a Website devoted to snarky content ever popping up again. It just costs too much money to start a Website now. So unless something extremely unexpected happens…snark is dead. Long live snark.