The Ethics of Snark in Comments Sections

The Ethics of Snark in Comments Sections

Snark attempts to steal someone’s mojo, erase her cool, annihilate her effectiveness with the nasty, insidious, rug-pulling, teasing insult, which makes reference to some generally understood shared prejudice or distaste.”

–David Denby: Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation

I have a guilty displeasure: reading the comments section of Chicago’s online newspaper DNA Info. The comments following any article regarding Chicago Public Schools get my goat, as they’d get the goat of any CPS teacher. The Peanut Gallery giddily rips apart the intelligence of teachers and students alike, unaware of any reality that goes on inside the schools.

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Sky Ferreira–is she more than a racy photo?

Sky Ferreira–is she more than a racy photo?

Ladies, what the fuck. We are (Lord willing) mere months away from finally having the first woman president. National female voices like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appear stronger than ever. At the same time, personality journalism appears to be gazing longingly backwards toward an era full of Playboy bunnies and Stepford wives.

from AV Club’s July 8th article “Stop jizzing all over journalism”

I’m often made fun of for my loyalty to early 90s musicians, but I feel grateful for being a teenager during an era of rebellious empowerment. The female musicians of that era taught me more than how to write a song–they introduced the struggles and triumphs women face in society. Through their coarse and direct lyrics, musicians such as Polly Jean Harvey, Kim Gordon, and the women of L7 allowed my malleable teenage brain to resist the “jocko-homo” persuasions of my peers and instead understand and empathize.

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Mark Hughes’ story: We went from being good samaritans to suspects

Mark Hughes’ story: We went from being good samaritans to suspects

So, the pair left the gun—and Mark’s shirt, which the police refused to give back—and walked away. They were never read their Miranda rights, though both were detained. They were interrogated even after both invoked the right to counsel. They walked away to jeers from policemen. And when they asked that the police take down the tweet, or at least correct it, they were declined.

from “Falsely Accused, Dallas ‘Suspect’ Now Fears for His Life” Time Magazine, July 9, 2016

Like most of us around the country, I watched the Dallas shooting rampage unfold live on television and Twitter. And like most Americans, I had one question on my mind: Who did this? I wanted a face to match to the carnage, a gender, a race, a motivation. Much like in Orlando less than a month before, I couldn’t put a narrative to the story without an identified attacker.

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The ethics of filming a fist fight

The ethics of filming a fist fight

It’s not the beatdowns themselves that make World Star so disturbing; it’s how they get there. We are all videographers now, and bystanders now do the work of media outlets, and for free.

from “World Star Hip-hop: making a bankable brand out of brutality”

The Guardian, October 18, 2012

I could imagine the adrenaline rush if it happened to me–one minute, I’m casually enjoying an outdoor concert, filming a clip of my favorite song, when two rows ahead of me, a scuffle breaks out. I’ve always had two eyes, but now I have three–the eye of the camera. I know I won’t look away from the fight, but will I turn the camera off? Could I consciously will myself to ignore the action?

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