Delivered well, and in the right context, I think snarky jokes are funny.
I’ve loved almost every character Janeane Garofalo has ever played, and her portrayal of Heather in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion really kills me. Her sarcastic, snarky charm always spoke to me, as it did to most vaguely feminist, not-yet-world-weary liberal young people growing up in the 90s. But to me, Janeane is a pro at snark, someone you watch from afar and laugh to yourself at the truth in her observations. We need people like Janeane in the media to keep us on our toes and provide some sort of comedic relief from the, at times, overwhelmingly shitty state of the world.
Through the years of listening to snarky jokes in the media, we’ve somehow created amateur snark monsters among the regular people in our real lives, and we’re constantly infiltrated with biting remark after remark until we start to think that everything we say or create is an utter piece of shit. And in a world that so desperately needs more intelligent, encouraging things said and more beautiful, confident things created, this is problem.
I’m sick of snarky jokes in my everyday life, from the people I encounter on a daily basis. I’m sick of using pale, obvious attempts at humor to discuss the things that make us uncomfortable, to point out and criticize the moments of honesty in art, in writing, in life in general. It’s a growing trend in the way we, as young people, speak, and I’m just so tired of it.
I’ve taken numerous new friends to yoga classes and listened as said friends continually pointed out how “zen” we were being, giggled at the instructor’s mantras, made Portlandia references and sarcastically suggested hitting up the juice bar next door after class. I’ve cringed at snarky comments about the new artisan cocktail bar that just opened, bit my tongue when an acquaintance posted a poem or a song on social media and other acquaintances tore it apart (or criticized him or her for posting it in the first place). The saddest part of it all is that most of these comments are prompted by someone else’s attempt to create something new and beautiful, whether it be a love song or a great handmade drink.
If we realize how ridiculous it is to constantly suppress any sign of vulnerability and snarkily critique everything, we’ll have way more time to feel the deep stretch in that Child’s Pose, slowly sip and enjoy that locally sourced Whiskey Sour, and maybe even congratulate that friend for having the guts to share his or her art. Sure, there are a whole slew of things in life that are embarrassing, overly emotional, trendy or unacceptable due to some other world-weary social standard, but these things are often the most enjoyable. The coolest people I know don’t care at all about looking cool, and they know how to appreciate a little snark without using it as a crutch.