Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Age of Snarkery

The Age of Snarkery

gasped Mr. Peniston.
—Edith Wharton,
The House of Mirth

“Snarkery”—what is it?

According to Edith Wharton, it’s scandal.

The Gilded Age dreaded scandal worse than disease.

Nothing could be worse—than gossip and idle talk about TPTB who dreaded the possibility that tacky snarkery was getting to close to the truth.

Snarkery is discussing the Forbidden Fruit and who’s nibbling it lately.

Snarkery is what the inherited mercantile fortunes are doing with their real estate, their millions and their fading Gilded Age has-been dreams of Empire.

Snarkery is more than just gossip and rumors; it’s more than just an ornamental preoccupation about the haves by the have-nots.

Snark rules—now just like it always has.

Snarkery is the lie that tells the truth, the gossip that reveals the crudities and vulgarities of American society.

Snarkery is the empty vessel into which each generation pours new decadence.

Snarkery is the glue that holds the House of Cards together.

Snarkery is what keeps minds and mouths shut—until a boy in the crowd naively shouts out the unspeakable: “The King has no clothes!!! He’s buck-naked!!!”

Snarkery is the lack of Olympian detachment portrayed by TPTB who crush any “whistleblower” who dares deviate from the “vintage” silence.

Snarkery is the mask that each Age of Innocence wears—only to have it stripped away when the clock strikes midnight and the coach turns into a pumpkin.

Snarkery is the lack of belief in old vintage wines—too rare to be savored by the younger generation.

Snarkery studies the system—that nurtures the Fall of The Age of Innocence, swallowing up whole classes and spitting them out.

Snarkery is a snapshot—with Gerty Farish in a “horrid little place” with “no maid” and “queer” things to eat.

Snarkery is the style—that Gerty adapts with louche tableaux vivant sideshows, to survive the cut-throat realities of the gilded world, a way to milk the upper classes with titillating risqué scenes from antiquity and contemporary art like Reynold’s “Mrs. Lloyd.”

Snarkery is the motif in all of Wharton’s novels—from The House of Mirth to her final unfinished novel, The Gay Buccaneers.

Snarkery is the literary interface between Old New York v. New New York, i.e. the usual nouveau riches invaders…

Snarkery is the struggle between patriarchal control of all wealth by men v. the powerful wives who got them there.

Snarkery is the partial apprehension of American society prized by certain writers, journalists and old print media—usurped by the Blogosphere.

Snarkery is the act of being a cosmopolitan, perceptive connoisseur—and throwing pearls before swine.

Snarkery has no value in itself—and actually has a curious inertia that often is self-defeating.

Snarkery is decadent—always finding itself declining just as fast or faster than TDPTB (The Decadent People That Be).

Snarkery is a school for scandal—specializing in blackmail for aspiring malcontent writers and failed social climbers.

Snarkery is the art of The Purloined Letter—and how it is to be used, abused, lost or found.

Snarkery exists—on the social “out-skirts” of TPTB, whether rising or falling.

Snarkery gets the attention of the privileged class—since they’re the ones that have the most to lose.

Snarkery is currency—continuously fluctuating with the value of those on the way up, those at the top and those on the way down.

Snarkery is Monte Carlo—where old money and new money brush shoulders knowingly.

Snarkery is the Riviera—where American yachts once mingled and Euro-aristocrats who knew the best restaurants.

Snarking is ambivalent—confident in confidences and compromising them as soon as possible.

Snarkery is like gardening—preparing the ground, sowing the seeds and slaving away to harvest the gossip.

Snarkery is flighty—because, at heart, it despises the things it knows.

Snarkery is a bridge game in Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Snarkery is Norma Desmond—descending the staircase after shooting William Holden, her snarky scriptwriter.

Snarkery is—Waldo Lydecker in the bathtub snarking away.

Snarkery is—Margo Channing tightening up her seatbelt.

Snarkery is—Hope Emerson sizing up the “new fish.”

Snarkery is the dialog—in Edith Wharton’s short story ”After Holbein” about Anson Warley “a relic from the old regime” and Evelina Jasper, an aging and senile “hostess,” during a last banquet conversation between the two old mummies.

Snarkery loves—to reveal ambitious soul-climbing hack and stupid conniving conspirators.

Snarkery loves—to spice up dull and plain marriages.

Snarkery loves it—when a man sends his son to woo his old mistress—getting some snarky vicarious satisfaction.

Snarkery loves—the gaieties and vanities of Newport, Manhattan, LA, SF and the Beltway if only to snark it.

Snarkery loves—to juxtapose grandeur, idleness and frivolity because the idle-rich are more pictorial and interesting than a society “hard at work.”

Snarkery loves—large summer homes, oil wells, private jets, offshore banking, flower-bordered terraces, tennis courts, casinos, Las Vegas. Also back alleys, gutters and sewers.

Snarkery—despises millionaires and billionaires but like anybody it can be bribed.

Snarkery—after it’s all said and done: have a nice day.

Snarkery—reports on war, greed, ignorance, stupidity and vulgarity: what else is new?

Snarkery—prefers individual choice and growth: what’s that?

Snarkery—gets nostalgic for long drives at night on the autobahn in a big black Mercedes.

Snarkery—gets nostalgic for the Beltway: the Island of the Lotus Eaters.

Snarkery—is being afraid of the perils of prolixity.

Snarkery—is wearying the intelligentsia already bored to death.

Snarkery—knows that snarkery is only transitory.

Snarkery—is tacky memoir itself lying thru its teeth.

Snarkery—is Henry James at The Mont trying to forget what happened at the Jolly Corner.

Snarkery—is forgetting slowly all the elaborated literary divagations and disquisitions on the art of fiction by all the previous Snarkette queens.

Snarkery—is Wharton visiting Stein in Paris.

Snarkery—is being able to translate The Golden Bowl into The Porcelain Pissoir.

Snarkery—is evoking the Faubourg Sant-Germain without Proust’s queenly flaming faggot foppery.

Snarkery—is resisting correct seating order knowing it’s important but failing to comprehend how critical an issue it could be.

Snarkery—is being flummoxed by the facts for a little bit.

Snarkery—is having an alternate to Plant 9 From Outer Space.

Snarkery—is using a ghost story to tell a living story.

Snarkery—is authorship: something between the black arts and interviewing Elvis Presley at the local 7-Eleven.

Snarkery—is writing: for the snark of it.

Snarkery remains—as long as people are snarky.

Snarkery is baroque—richly ornamental and extravagant.

Snarkery is twisty—like Bernini’s columns.

Snarkery loves—the “Grotesque Renaissance.”

Snarkery—is a sign of deplorable political and moral decline.

Snarkery—is style de parade: dishing studied decorum and manners in favor of personal Snarkology.

Snarkery—is a snarky breeze sweeping thru the window from the local sewage disposal plant.

Snarkery—is usually about personal insults and demeaning derogatory dishes, although tack lofty dystopian pronunciamentos worm their way into the Snarkosphere occasionally.

Snarkery—is sympathetic to those who hate architectural exuberance; so much for Barberini Palace, Fountains of Triton, Trevi Fountain and the Bridge of Sant Angelo.

Snarkery is—teatro d’acqua or water theater; words spurt and flow like spouting Atlas fountains, down thru sculptured balustrades, grottos with Boss Cupids, maybe a snarky boy doing a snarky baroque novel.

Snarkery is bravura—usually just the opposite tho.

Snarkery is baroque travel writing—discursive, irregular,
irrational; also spontaneous, improvisational, cynical.

1 comment:

  1. *

    OOOOOh, Puget,

    This is hard-hitting and funny snark.

    Thanks for posting this.



So snark me!