Snarking is invective pumped up on steroids, its roid rage pitched to the eager ears of its schadenfreude audience, but with this crucial twist: it must elicit laughter at another’s expense, never their sheer annihilation. It is reminiscent of the puerile pleasure we take in the mock violence of Bugs Bunny cartoons. Yes, dynamite explodes in the Elmer Fudd’s punim, but, miraculously, the toon goes on. The dupe’s feathers are ruffled; his face blackened with an inch of soot; he’s dazed and listens to dulcet twitter of teeny birds circling overhead -- but he’s reanimated, ready to reengage his tormentor ad infinitum. It’s the Dionysian joy a gamer derives from a rigged pinball machine with the ‘game over’ feature disabled. Once he’s hooked on the game, we remove the fix and are insured a lifetime of quarters. Exemplary snarking keeps the serotonin sparking and creates an addicted audience. And yes, it sells magazines.
The short snark, or snipe, demands the kind of snarksmanship that can only be honed through malice and discipline. Here are a few of the basics:
Ready: Assume a good snarking position in order to engage targets. A good position is one where you have little to lose and your target has everything to lose. Go after the icons, the deep pockets, the smug and the arrogant. There’s nothing more redeeming than watching hypocrites fall from their high horses, or more rewarding than watching celebrities scramble to call their press agents to initiate a, too late, counterspin defense. It was hilarious to watch Kathy Lee Gifford’s pathetic attempts to wave the anti-child labor flag once she was caught with the gobs of money she earned off the backs of kids in her sweatshops. The Greeks were aware of this cathartic element 2500 years ago -- the tragic fall from hubris. Only this is comic catharsis, we substitute tears of laughter because we just threw a cream pie in the face of Oedipus. “Woe unto our kinsmen, Laius and Atreus,” spoke the Oracle at Delphi. “A custard pie upon both thy houses!”
Aim: Get your target by their short hairs before you put them in your snark’s cross hairs. Get the big picture of their latest foible against the ‘big picture’ of past screw ups. Exercise the fiery breath control. Accurately call your shot, before pulling the trigger. Do not anticipate the recoil of a slander suit and overcompensate by mincing words. In Zenspeak, you must bite the bullet to be the bullet – or switching to the classic archer metaphor, you’ve got to be the arrow to give the bloody wanker the shaft.
Fire: To fire the snark, remember the mnemonic acronym, BRASS BALLS:
1. Breathe fiery breath – every word should scorch the target
2. Relax your sphincter – don’t be a tight ass
3. Aim to please – don’t piss around the bowl, piss in it
4. Squeeze the sarcasm as if it were JLO’s booty
5. Shoot to thrill – sometimes you only get one shot
6. Bust the targets balls – as Sun Tzu wrote, ‘cut off the balls and the head soon follows’
7. Assume an innocent look -- ‘Nigga puleeze, I wasn’t even near the accident’
8. Look behind you
9. Look behind you again. Guess what -- you’re the next target!
10.Scram -- in Sopranos-speak, ‘drop the snarkshooter, grab the cannoli, and get the fuck out of de joint’. Capish!
In live interviews, use mano a mano snarking. Deploy the pugilist’s repertoire of artful combinations to take down your opponent. Draw him in with your taunt, gibe with your left, sneer with your right, and then floor him with a mean upper cut to the body of his oeuvre. If your style is mixed martial arts, substitute the upper cut to a swift kick to the cojones. If your target sits high on his perch, sucker punch the fool. As Mr. T so eloquently put it: “Uppity nigga had no bidnit bein’ on a perch in the first place! Now eat yo’ greens.”
Your snarking style must be flexible like Jeet Kune Do, ‘The Way of the Intercepting Fist’. “Be like water making its way through cracks,” said Master Bruce Lee. “Empty you mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water in the cup, it becomes the cup.” The snark immediately becomes truth once it is printed, blogged, televised or twittered. Your target is forthwith stunned and on the defensive because there are plenty of cracks for water to make its way through, starting with the crack of his ass.
Snarks, unlike mere insults, must pass this critical litmus test: they must be embellished in rhetoric, deficient in evidence, and delivered with a straight face. The target’s outrage is what you’re aiming for if he’s foolish enough to take the snark bait.
EMBELLISHED IN RHETORIC: The snark must be witty, cogent and demands the compelling semblance of truth. Here’s just an ‘A-list’ of rhetorical devices in your arsenal:
Alliteration – Your target is not simply ‘fat’, but preferably ‘a fumbling, fat fuck’
Anadiplosis (‘doubling back’) – (Insert politician’s name) is thrice the people’s servant: a servant of graft, a servant of kickbacks, a servant of corporate payola.
Anaphora (the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases) – X did not just suck the President’s cock. X tea bagged the President. X dirty Sanchezed the President. X rusty tromboned the leader of the free world!
Anastrophe (transposition) - Turn the prosaic ‘motherfucking cocksucker’ into the more poetic ‘cocksucking motherfucker’.
Antistrophe (repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses) – Her acting sucks – without question. Her singing sucks – without question. She should be dragged back to the barn from whence she came and summarily shot – without question.
Antithesis (opposition) – His early work is a reflection of mediocrity, his latter work mediocrity itself.
Aporia (expression of feigned doubt) – When the CEO of AIG doled out $165 in executive bonuses, he asked himself, “Am I doing the right thing?” He then boarded his private Learjet NXT and kicked back with a triple martini, a lemon twist and two olives. No, make that one olive. Two, he felt, was excessive.
Archaism (obsolete form) – As in, ‘Methinks the gangsta bitch protests too much’. ‘Gangsta bitch’ is, of course, archaic, having been replaced by ‘female wigger’.
Asyndeton (lack of conjunctions between subordinate clauses) – We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the recovery of Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua’s diamond studded collar.
DEFICIENT IN EVIDENCE: Note, we said ‘compelling semblance of truth’ above. If we were trafficking in naked truth, our snark would stagger into the minefield of high minded journalism, Shavian witticism, or, Heaven forbid, Woodwardian muckraking. We’ll have no part of those Pulitzer Prize polemics here! This is a tabloid, not a Congressional disclosure.
DELIVERED WITH A STRAIGHT FACE: Snarking is not about ta-ta-ta-timing. No 3 Stooges’ faces or Chaplinesque pratfalls. Snarking is in the written word, not in the shtick. Pretend you are John Cleese in Fawlty Towers -- or, at least, Stephen Colbert. The straight face is the Archimedean lever than lifts any deficiencies in evidence the celestial sphere of truthiness.
We all know that it is the categorical imperative of the American media to inflate celebrity, fashion, and all 15-minute trends until, backed up on its own crap, they blow up in a pyrotechnic display, raining ash to regenerate the earth. This is a time honored tradition that goes back to the fanfare and pageantry of virgin sacrifice. Virginity, by its essence, is a transient state that begs elimination. ‘Celebrity’ is virginity before the deflowering; it is the Coliseum packed with debauched pay-per-view spectators waiting for those buff Gladiators to draw first hymeneal blood. Snarking is a modern day fertility ritual that has the power to transform innocent virgins into knocked up sluts. It is a rite de passage that marks a change of social status from worthy-of-worship innocence to worthy-of-disdain commonness. If the snarking is aims it scope at the pillars of establishment, the ritual takes on the schwerpunct of taking out the old world order to bring in the new – it is Sampson, the underdog, bringing down the Temple of the Philistines or, similarly, the nebbish Mets taking down the invincible Yankees. Who let the dogs out? We did. Hey, you got a problem with that?
SNARKING EXAMPLES FOR BEGINNERS
GIBE MODERATE SNARK EXTREME SNARK
fat light bends around her you need a satellite to photograph her humongous ass
gay fabulous fudge-packer butt pirate of the Caribbean waving his Jolly Roger
ugly her shadow quit if her face caught fire it would be put with a fork
tight on the dollar menu he's so tight if he swallowed coal he’d shit diamonds
nasty brings crabs to beach he has to creep up on bathwater in the dark
short poses for trophies you can see his feet on his driver’s license photo
hairy could be a Chia pet makes Chewbacca look like Seal
old owes Jesus five bucks her birth certificate was written in hieroglyphics
dumb hit by a parked car got stabbed by a Buddhist monk in a shoot out
Poets make lousy friends because eventually they’ll skewer you with their poison pen; their insulting writ of relentless invective and opprobrious apoplectic venom. The naked foist of un-allayed aggression as art-form whereby the vitriol of familiarity slices like a knife and digs in like a dagger. The very nature of chumminess turns adversarial. Like acid in the eyes the sneering contemptible retch could cobble out words with a disgustingly exquisite though execrable precision. A quirk, an idiosyncrasy, a malevolent adherence so committed to unmitigated truth that it is as a fist to the face, a shocking starkness of incivility justified by a requisite expedience hastened by the anxious need to blow one off forthwith. He was a veritable torrent of abject invectives.
the suns burning rays
scorched the paddocks with their
The web is like a tinderbox,
It only takes a spark,
A comment, an opinion,
An off the cuff remark.
Someone makes a statement,
Another takes offence,
Neither side is backing down,
Let battle now commence!
Reason is abandoned,
Abusive mud is hurled,
Torrents of expletives,
Flames engulf the world.
From warriors unseen,
Packets filled with poison,
Polluting every screen.
Spectators gather round the spat,
And watch as war is fought,
But eventually they drift away,
'Cos frankly ...life's too short.
Estranged ensemble orchestration onerous
Intangible instinct intrigue impetus
Cortex vortex vertex fastuous
Somatalogy cognition equilibrist meatus
Vertigo vestige vexation covetous
Haberdashery hauberk harangue inspection
Mystical silhouette sojourn direction
Perpetrate propinquity harbinger rejection
Fastuous fortuity forum election
Chiaroscuro chicanery gossamer convection
Metaphysical mystique’s rive declensions
Paphian kitsch kithe abstentions
Paltry panderings rife contentions
Horologist hackamore lapidary inventions
Soliloquous covertures manifest intentions
Noumenal nonce exsertion illuminate
Apropos ipso-facto aspersion relegate
Clairaudience taciturn subversion denigrate
Larceny lecher coercion expurgate
Bawdy lewd beatitudes exonerate
Perpetude parameter incorporeity pervasions
Terminus thrall’s anathema correlations
Exegesis peroration imputation iterations
Ideational peripherals intimate evasions
Vituperative verve’s temerarious elations
Psychic reverie subterfuge decision
Astral projection transience derision
Exserted proximity phantasm incision
Machismo machinations elicit precision
Heredity heritage heresy revision
Edacious intransigent gamut phallus
Indispensably puissant barratry malice
Invariably imperative metaphor talus
Aorist actuator pseudopodia chalice
Altruistic egalitarian segregant palace
Allocution incursive objectify ostensible
Enamor allude ingratiation inimical
Infatuation allure emendation rhetorical
Cursive nonce raconteur allegorical
Amorous endear sycophant categorical
Inherently endemic anachronism political
Emendation propensity opulently diabolical
Surreptitious ethnicity epigraphy mimetical
Pompously bombastic flagrant inimical
Doughty nuance intrepidly maniacal
Obliquity euphenics intrados expound
Subjunctive ancillary subordinates confound
Ethereal euthenics ubiquity propound
Subservient adversarial repartee profound
Meritorious monocracy mendacity astound
Insidiously sinister incumbency abuse
Obstreperous imperatives obdurately retuse
Ominous omnipotent avarice deduce
Trajectory faction commensurately obtuse
Cornucopia critique sequesterously abstruse
Tyrannical ulterior ultimatum purvey
Adjunct conjunction conjecture portray
Evocative emulation connivance convey
Fulminate fuscous futurity relay
Cephalic phantasmagoria protuberant assay
Acuity educement propensity gesticulation
Preternatural proclivity tactile articulation
Eidetic mnemonics scenario prestidigitation
Transcendental accession ascentional avocation
Derisive subjective subordinance rumination
Apriori arbitration apostrophe sagacious
Predilection predication apomixis bodacious
Wonder lust itinerary transitively tenacious
Intrinsic affinity succinctly salacious
Prophylaxis protocol invasively ostentatious
Hypercritically mitigational dialectics felicity
Surreal serendipity dharma propensity
Supplicant sever hypotaxis intensity
Monogamously autonomic ostracism eccentricity
Evolutionally metamorphic rendition complicity
Insipidly vapid invective flatulence
Intangible ratification interdiction corpulence
Exigent viscid visceral virulence
Eradicably mingy minion truculence
Fortuitous refraction remission opulence
Ephemeral effulgence effluent projection
Accidence ambience acoustics confection
Recondite esoteric prosaics detection
Epistemology epithet equities correction
Erudite effusion existentialize affection
Arduous ardent amore egressed
Corporeal essence enigmatism caressed
Adrenergic analeptic fatidics confessed
A posteriori cartography tropism molest
Anaclitic analgesia anacrusis suppressed
Irascible audacity compunction astute
Rejuvenate remission remonstrance compute
Nocturnal emission repose dilute
Rendezvous rectitude recital refute
Remunerate resonant retort impute
Agnate nous monad prerogative
Suborn impedance numinous imperative
Adumbrate intimate obfuscation evocative
Extrapolation excursion incursion intuitive
Invective prognostication prosthesis demonstrative
Retrospect innate residuals compete
Reliquiae requiem anecdotically surfeit
Aesthetic aphorism geomancy effete
Brusque macabre dementia replete
Perspicacious perseverance personification complete
Avaricious aegis vagary incite
Colloquialism jargon ideational delight
Prurient adage vernaculars insight
Apex crux axis matrix excite
Affluent opaque quintessential bight knight
Dichotomous epilogue :
Intuitive inherency , anachronism transpositional cogitations accrue
Torturously portentous intrinsically pervasive transitivities ensue
Consternating transient , verbose barratry verbiage brew
Viably salient venially mendacious veracities construe
Endemically aggressive encroachments , latent magniloquence review
Tenaciously intrepid divinatory futurity venerations imbue
Probitous aversion nominalism propensity derivations eschew
Intrinsically auspicious tortuously invasive transitivities blue
Anachronism transpositional , intuitive inherency cogitations ; adieu
Haberdashery hauberk harbinger harangue equilibrist , harpy harsh hast severities .
Inane inert inertia innate , juxtaposition maenad ethos affinities .
Putrid quasi queasy pathos , emanate imminent perdition acerbities .
Agnate aggregate anathema android amalgamated , predication contract .
Glutton paradoxical dichotomy greaves , gauntlets gamut catalyst abstract .
Ambidextrous amatory prelude amaze , analeptic adrenergic analgesia analytics extract .
Clairaudience clairvoyant omnipresence presage , omnipotent omnificent omniscience .
Pantheism parapet paradigm intuition , prognosticating prosthesis prediction .
Prolific profusity profundity prosaics , nimbus nimiety nitty gritty , intrados rubato .
Venerable divinatory deity deify veneration , delineate demagoguery ecstasy , agonist agog .
Dream gleam cream seam beam team , serene ravine green gene careen , obscene
Empiricise the existentialisms in the demagoguery of godhead aspiration .
Corporeal anaclitic apex inveterate embezzlement extroversion , acuitous alacrity extortion .
Extraneous extemporaneous , ominous phenomena portrayal spontaneous synchronous , aorist actuator .
Endergonicaly protensive integration extrapolation interpolations investiture elicits .
Scenario synopsis synthesis syncopation , harmony rhymes rhythm .
Synchronous transition transposition interlude , summerialy derivational cognition .
Irkness ire aerie altruism allegorical , autonomous avarice oscillating ostracism .
Pandemonium obdurate temerity impunity , impending preponderance onus , numinous illuminisms quintessential frolic .
Amorous ardent argent arduous enamor endear , plenary putschist volatile phatic .
Conveyor controvert deft mesmeric deification deist dissertation .
Drastic premise portent pervasive embellish , elusive enhance enchant , engender
Perpetuation euphenic euthenics , exude emote concoct recalcitrance regalia , irrefragable preternatural ne plus ultra prurient .
Vernaculars opulent myriad , aesthetic stratagem venial vexatious , astral projection conjurous levity apothegms .
Incite epistemological illuminisms , accoutrements umbrage ultraism incognito trajectory extant .
Scandalous scavenger squalid anomalous punitive , heuristic manumission exigency .
Ostensible proclivity prodigious querulous , rambunctious repertoire rigmarole scenic schism sooth .
Ascribe arsenal crucial critical , abhorrent abstinence blatancy berserk , alacritous celerity brogue .
Ceremonial chicanery dynamism fealty , indefatigable incontrovertible ingenuity ingratiate inimical impugn .
Innovate integrity intricate invective convolution , licentious metaphor convection obeisance .
Splurgeness spry sporadic sprawl , spurious staunch succinct stymie tacit , tirade treatise vehement escapade tedium .
Probitous irascibly veracious audacity mendacity gumption .
Paphian peccavi preternatural proclivity gesticulation articulation prestidigitation .
Fantastication fantasia fabulist façade , glimmer glisten translucent refulgence .
Subliminally subjunctive nostalgic allusion analogies eidetic’s mnemonics .
Metaphysical mystique’s evolutionally metamorphic futurity fatidics .
Adroit agile nimble tactile acuity prescience capacity intrigue .
Unadulteratedly fornicatious fabrications , portentous ethereal etiquette .
Nose agnate somatalogy morphology metamorphics , cognition epistemology pragmatics.
Ontological ontogeny causality exigency integumence equivocal .
Innocuous noumenal verity nonce affectation intentions .
Adumbrate intimate obfuscate preterite rendition intimidate .
Logistical tactician spatiotemporal terrestrial equestrian telemetries , physicality’s terrene traverse tellurian terrain .
Vaunt ness verve’s lucidly illusive , intrepid yare’s predilection predication .
Apriori aposteriori apostrophe shards shroud , innately inert inherency interstitial endemics .
Irkness ire Zen , graffiti mantra mantis , diminutive minutia iotas inductive interpolation asperities .
Hypercritically mitigational dialectics hypotaxis .
Vituperatively vociferous eerie strident irrefragable orotund sonorous felicities .
Diacritical diction dharma apomixis .
Chutzpah panache spontaneous generation complicity , gambit alluvium aloof succor .
Demarcate mirador bartizan panorama , stalwart bastion bulwark tableau , dexterous gargoyle disguise gimmick camouflage .
Decipher coercible coalesce corrupt costume counselor chameleon charlatan chaperone entourage .
Cryptic evocative emulation scenarios siren skeptic , cynical demonic gremlin greaves curtilage .
Zesty zingy zippy zeal zenithal azimuth elaborate elliptical empathy endeavor entity entice .
Clambering clamorous clangor strategic systematic propagate prolific , wield wile treatise expose’ .
Aural auspice austerity axiom conscribe , perplex beleaguer beggary , coax cacophony clout , concatenate chronology .
Erumpent erudition evident evil evert , extol fervor flinty florid , fructify impromptu innuendo junctural .
Kinetic supremacy temporize tractive fluent , precious precess predetermined predatory predicament , gyro gyre .
Horizon hornswoggle huckster , hokey hoot ornery honkies .
Horologist hackamore relative rationality .
Decorum dastardly dazzle deceit , demolish demur , annihilate denigrate .
Armature arcade doughty , panacea parallax serendipity servant serenade .
Personification of sartorial perfection , picturesque visage of spectral grace .
Cosmic enigma rational relativity .
Housebreak huckster squabble brash , hovel huff .
Ghastly gruesome grotesque grisly groaty gnarly grotto grouch compunction .
Caustic cavernous celibate catatonic phonics , apex crux axis matrix cortex cephalic .
Blasphemous farcical fugueness and estranged ensemble orchestration acoustics .
Rendition: various assorted forms of related stranger weirdness .
Conjugation coercion junction function , adjunct conjunction conjecture .
Concoct deontology ontogeny , ontological enclitic osteopathy .
Anticipate angary amentia , tiercel theocracy .
Phrenic sensorium sentiment paragon tangible .
Covert aspersion avidity , coherent avid avarice , allegory allocate amatory prelude annex annul.
Tantamount telepathy tantalize talisman talesman , prerogative presumptive judicature .
Subpoena parameter perimeter peripherals prophylaxis protocol .
Real deal seal , sail bail , bailiff rakeness rail .
Yoni yore yare , leeward lecher leer lingam , menagerie melee hyperbolic milieu thesis , métier quintessential fulham .
Dangle wrangle mangle jangle tangle angle .
Hysterically delirious zany nertsy bonkers bluster boggle .
Gyrate , austere askance obliquely , aspire assail askew .
Cosmic origins metamorphosis implosion contractions revision , blond entropy catalyst .
Cataclysm catastrophe holocaust trauma , inefficacy ineffable expiate .
Chaos cognizant conceive dialectic dictates in extremis extremity meld nuance .
Cryptic cipher circuit citadel clairvoyant sequitur .
Cajole fictitious fiery finesse , invoke fulmination gouts clout , curtilage endeavor iterative itinerary .
Ersatz fiat fulcrum fulgurous indemnify indigenous infernal infidel iniquitous .
Electroacoustics ciphony Electra complex lore , occipital ubiquity synch .
Psychosomatic psycokinesis cybernetics , penumbral platitude platonic proxy photics .
Assimilate stigma perspicacious , astute asunder atman pulchritudinous .
Decadent arrogant pompously bombastic blatant flagrant chaparral .
Diabolically maniacal dementia brusque macabre abruptness .
Swarthy beastly antithetical anathema bestiality belligerent , savvy irate berserkness tirade .
Ulterior aghast agitator incongruous dire , perdurable peremptory primacy arbitrate zealot.
Cantankerously sorcerous insidiously sinister alchemizing cauldron , pernicious visceral pathogenic , virulence truculence .
Ideational hideously horrible horrendously heinous ghastly abysmal abjection .
Perpetuity pervade rampart ransack oblation erogenous scarp lambent actuarial arbitrage .
Exserted protuberant pseudopodia actuator , odious aorist militantly mercenary .
Wingspread wiry wiseacre wherewithal rapacity , implicit important juxtaposition .
Machismo equilibrist machinations , kinesiology kleptomaniac knell physique .
Ribaldry rigmarole rhubarb , risqué rive rollick .
Demeanor kamikaze kerf , megalomania misanthropies modus operandi genocidal xenophobic .
Heredity heritage heresy legacy , pseudonym multifarious nefarious nemesis .
Sepulcher stratagem pantheism parapet paradigm , psychosis neophyte , paragon proselyte .
Pilferous wheedling finagler , plunderous pillaging usurper , longevous loquacity lottery .
Rhapsody rhetoric rote raconteur newfangled nocturnal nonchalant sycophant .
Morose morsel moribund , lurid luscious lyricism lucidity lucrative .
Creative cleaver crafty cunning furtive sneaky stealthy connive .
Aphorism euphemism hegira to xanadu carousing maurader syllogism .
Swell surge flow flux craw crux , virago monad chaos character charisma .
Heuristic cavalier humeral , meager demonstrative anarchy iconoclasm , apropos ergo ipso-facto .
Plenary plenipotentiary omniscience presage , omnipotent directive ubiquity emanations .
Nous agnate ontological ontogeny , exegesis peroration .
Abeyance , exotically erotic quixotic ecstatically emphatic fanatic .
Orchestration rendition unicorn railway mainsail , awry askew askance .
Canny cogent fecund erudite sagacious sequacious conjuring mentality introjection conjugation coercions .
Avant-garde temporal abstract , scenario synopsis eclectic synectics .
Synaptic syntax syndrome aspersion , quagmire quandary poshly plush .
Physicality chink pictorial , picturesque glyph , debauchery deviant profane kinky vicarious assertion exorbitance .
Mystical silhouette sojourn consortium sabbat conclave liaison , soiree tryst rendezvous symposium excursion compendium .
Incarnate cephalic phantasmagoria proximity parameter phantasm epitomize transitive transcendental syntactic semantics .
Resplendent radiant ephemeral effulgence translucent incandescent luster effluence , reflectively refractive azure opulence effusion .
Contentious pretentiously extravagant eccentric intransigent pedantic antics .
Guidon guile homogenous hovering imagination immaturity , exogamy incorporeity ideologies .
Pique poignant piquant puissant quiescence , obstreperously abstruse vagary plausibility’s cause .
Vivid intangible impetus instinct intrigue , livid lurid allusion .
Autonomous preterite discrepancy amendment emendations , transcendent accession ascensionals in absentia expurgation exculpation .