I don’t think I have a snarky or sarcastic personality in person. But it is easy, especially in casual writing, to slip into a snarky mode. For 2009, I am trying to not be snarky – and that is one of the primary reasons for starting this blog – to express my opinions about things that matter to me.
Apparently, I am not the only one who has disavowed snarky writing. Like David Denby, I think snarky writing is “ruining our conversation.”
In the Rhetoric, Aristotle famously discussed the bases for argument: appeals to ethos (authority), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). Although one could consider snarkiness as a special form of “pathos”, in my mind (and I think Aristotle’s) snarkiness is not a valid form of argument.
I’m a passionate guy – passionate about everything! My writing (I hope) transmits that passion – so there is plenty of pathos here. And I hope to both sometimes speak as an authority and frequently refer to academic authorities – so there is plenty of ethos here. And of course, most important is reason, and I trust you will find no shortage of logos here.
But help me keep my resolution – if you find me slipping into snarkiness, call me on it please!