Snark is not funny.

snark_definition
Credit: The Urban Dictionary.

Snark. It sounds nasty. It even has the word “narc” in it. Maybe the spelling should be changed to “snarc.” It also closely resembles the term “shark.” What do sharks do? They are predators out for blood, and they can kill.

I think snark should be added as a 23rd way you can identify destructive narcissists online (see CZBZ’s awesome article about the 22 indicators of destructive narcissism).

I’m not talking here about humor. Humor lubricates social interactions and makes you laugh. It may poke fun, but when it does, it’s lighthearted ribbing. It doesn’t tear down or destroy. Having a good sense of humor is a great thing. It’s good to be able to take a joke at your expense too, as long as it’s lighthearted and you know the person means no harm. Friends rib each other all the time, and it shouldn’t be taken personally.

I’m talking here about mean-spirited snark. You know, the “I’m so cool/mighty/smart/right and you’re a worthless loser/idiot/lunatic/minion of Satan” kind of condescending “wittiness” that makes you feel like the most lowly piece of pond scum in the lake. You find yourself wondering whether the jokesters are really joking (and you’re just being too sensitive) or are just plain mean. Well, they’re actually both. They are trying to confuse you, control you, make you doubt yourself, and tear you down–all in the name of “fun.” Snark is not fun. It’s nasty and mean. It’s not a social lubricant-it’s a weapon.

snark_warning

Snark is a form of bullying. It’s usually is participated in by several people at one time against one person. It’s a favorite tool of narcissists, trolls and bullies, who want to appear as if they’re not attacking you, when really, they are. They are showing their “superiority” over you. A narcissist will not apologize or take responsibility for their cruelty. If you object, you will be told you’re “too sensitive,” have no sense of humor, or misunderstood what they said. You may be told YOU are responsible for your NORMAL reaction to their attack.

I would like to give an example of what snark is. One of the bloggers who targeted me after I wrote that controversial article they objected to wrote a post that copied mine word for word but replaced some of the words. The intended effect of the post was to compare me to Hitler. The post was removed by the author after I suggested I might have a case for plagiarism. I took screenshots of it, but I’ll spare you. I also don’t want to identify the blogger and thereby stir up the pot again. Of course, the blogger’s excuse was that it was a joke and I overreacted. The sycophants chimed in.

Comparing me to Hitler by using my own words against me and twisting them around and replacing some of them is not funny. It’s mean-spirited and nasty. It’s something a narcissist would do.

A person with a true and honest sense of humor would not laugh at something like that. They would be horrified.

snarky_woman

The Internet is full of snark. Sometimes snark is okay. If the snark is directed at a public figure, an institution, or someone most people perceive as an enemy (such as Osama bin Laden, Charles Manson, or Jodi Arias) then I say fine. It can be funny to laugh about the things that frighten us, even if the humor is dark or mean spirited. I have a whole page dedicated to jokes about narcissists. The intention isn’t to demonize narcissists per se, but to make them appear less frightening and thereby remove some of their power over us. It doesn’t target individuals–it targets a destructive way of being in the world. If you take offense to it, then you’re probably a narcissist yourself. But no one is calling you one personally.

Snark should stop there. It’s never okay to target an individual (who isn’t a public figure) just because you disagree with an opinion of theirs or don’t like them personally. If you dislike someone, it’s best to ignore them (or simply tell them you disagree with them) without attempting to tear them down through belittling “humor”, which is a form of gaslighting. Making someone question their reality or feel bad about themselves, or attributing evil motives to them when you don’t know their story doesn’t make you look cool. Intelligent people with a shred of empathy won’t be laughing. Using snark against someone you dislike or don’t agree with says a lot more about the perpetrator than it does about the target.

Objecting to snark directed against you isn’t overreacting. It’s normal. A non-narcissist will never target a person they dislike or disagree with using snark. They will disconnect from that person or explain in a civil manner why what you said offended them and leave it at that. They won’t start a hate campaign using “humor” against you. They won’t use others as flying monkeys to gang up on you.

ETA: a word about the flying monkeys.
Flying monkeys of the snark perpetrator may not be narcissists themselves. They could be friends or supporters of the narcissist who started the smear/snark campaign. They could fear the wrath of the narcissist should they not cooperate. They might perceive the narcissist as the real victim (because they were already friends with them in the first place or the narc is very glib and convincing). Or they just could dislike the target for their own reasons–maybe they don’t like the fact the victim’s blog uses a Times Roman font instead of Helvetica. Maybe they hate the fact you run ads or sometimes write about furries.

All this doesn’t mean what the sycophants and flying monkeys are doing is right. If they’re not narcissists, they probably feel some guilt about joining a hate campaign to victimize someone, but they also could be so brainwashed they’ve come to believe the target deserves the attacks on them.

13 thoughts on “Snark is not funny.

  1. Didn’t that hateful parody of your post also have sick “snuff” pictures on it? I never clicked on the link because I don’t ever want to read his words again, but I thought some of your commenters mentioned there being some really sick photos. If that were the case, I don’t see how anyone in their right mind can claim it was just a joke and you were too sensitive.

    Anyway… snark is all about narcissistic bullying, in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good points. I can get quite snarky sometimes, but I try not to be mean about it. Some other words that go with snark are satire, sarcasm, being jaded, cynical, and misanthropic. Molly Ivins once wrote a great rule about it, she said “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s a good point . Snark directedat the powerful (public figures or the famous, usually) is fine–it’s when it’s directed at the powerless (most normal people) that it’s evil.

      I can be snarky too, but I try not to be too mean about it and try to never target individuals or gang up on them (though I have been guilty of it in the past).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I loved listening to Molly Ivins who leveled the playing field with amazing snarks that made me laugh out loud (and feel better)! I’m so glad you mentioned this, insanitybytes. Many people don’t grasp the relevance of power differentials, like the media’s “talking heads” making fun of the homeless, the disenfranchised, and yea: women. There’s a much bigger risk in “kicking up”, isn’t there? It’s not only vulgar to “kick down”, it’s cowardly.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve unfortunately picked up a lot of snark from my narcissist mother, especially when I am deeply wounded by what others have to say about me personally. While I agree with you that the majority of mean spirited people who use snark to display their superiority are intentionally being abusive and malicious, I think sometimes it can also be a learned behavior or defense mechanism picked up by those who have endured it. Reading your article really gave me some food for thought. I’ll definitely have to work on my snark, thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • KitKat, I think you made a good point. It can be a defense mechanism. I’ve used it against my own narcissists. Give ’em a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.

      Sometimes the perpetrator’s supporters and friends can become flying monkeys and join in the bullying behavior–they may not themselves be narcissists but are joining in because they fear or admire the narcissist (or just dislike the target).

      I think the ones who START a hate campaign based on snark are usually narcissists though.
      I’m glad my article made you think.

      Like

  4. I have been accused of being snarky and I am always baffled. But online misunderstandings are more common, even NTs get misread. Someone once stuck words in my mouth so I told her “excuse me, I never said she couldn’t say she had three kids so don’t put words in my mouth” and she accused me of being snarky but perhaps she was gaslighting. What I write is what I exactly say, nothing in between and it annoys me when people don’t take what i say exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooooh! I just HATE it when people put words in my mouth, and say I said things I never said– or attribute bad or evil intentions to what I say. They know nothing about me or what my motives might have been. They don’t know or care about my story.

      For example, my supposed “narc sympathy” is partly due to having a daughter who may have NPD (yes, she was diagnosed with BPD but I am not so sure sometimes). No parent can suddenly turn on or not want a child to get well even if that child may be a narcissist. Because of that, I am researching ways non-malignant narcissists can be treated or cured. I do not think my daughter is a malignant narcissist, if she is one at all.
      But people are going to believe what they want, even if the evidence against it is right in their face.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a nice addition to my 22 Signs, LO. I probably didn’t think of “snark” because I’m quite fond of the practice myself. Just ask my ex. ha! (But only after I was powerless over my destiny). At that point, a good snark could fire me up and get me moving again. But there’s a limit beyond which I’d never go because I have a conscience and just can’t be too mean-spirited and sleep at night.

    One of my favorite bloggers considers herself a Snark Expert, “kicking down” what she calls New Wage Gurus. That’s different…as insanitybytes pointed out—she is taking on powerful people. I’ve never seen her “snark” about victims, the people who were hurt and taken advantage of.

    I haven’t read the article you’re referring to but I know how hurtful it is to be targeted. People told me to “get a thicker skin” and I said, “You’re counseling the wrong person!” How convenient for people to criticize the person WHO OBJECTS TO BEING MISTREATED, in essence telling the victim to get a thicker skin! How about the person doing the mistreating getting a thicker skin? Their thin skin was the problem in the first place.

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