Why Snark is the Worst Game Hillary Clinton Can Play Right Now
The media is pretty set on reporting the Republican National Convention for exactly what it is: a flaming rotisserie of shitbirds.
The problem with this snarky angle being taken by the whole of the media towards the Republicans, though, is that it is so often coming from a place of absurd privilege.
It’s like laughing at a funeral.
It’s making light of someone’s coming pain.
Christ, could you imagine France making Polish jokes before the German invasion because that’s where we’re at.
For the last few weeks of this election, snark has been perhaps the only weapon in Hillary Clinton’s media campaign. Hillary doesn’t even have to speak much if at all publicly so long as her Twitter account keeps ripping off zingers. And it’s working like gangbusters because many liberal journalists on social media also want to be seen as the snarkiest. And when this snarky elephant walk gets going, the cable news joins in and suddenly we’re no longer even talking about Flint anymore because HILLARY CLINTON JUST PWND…on Twitter dot com.
Electoral innovation is dominating the news cycle for a day because of a 140 character smackdown.
Haha fuck the poor.
But let me tell you something: snark is the humor of the privileged who have the luxury of labeling themselves progressive while never worrying about their skin being in the game.
Snark is very much what Bourdieu might consider a mark of distinction, sought by elite to signal to each other that they too love status circlejerks. They can laugh when Republicans chant about deporting Muslims because they don’t have to worry about midnight door-knocking. They can laugh because it won’t be their kids at the end of that blue bullet.
Snark is a cultivated skill that comes from having the luxury of consuming the news as sport and not as its victim. It’s easier to watch the news every day when it’s not people of your own skin color getting blown up by American bombs. It’s more fun to mock the talk radio stars for being human cancer when it’s not your religion they’re asking viewers to persecute. It’s easier to write sweet #content when the person being threatened in it isn’t you.
Snark is now the fuel running the new media game because it’s the easiest way to fill up a page of writing without having to leave one’s desk, go out and do actual journalism. Why pay someone to report on actual events when you can have them spend all day writing about Elizabeth Warren’s ultimate twitter smackdown.
In terms of strategy, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is absolutely on point running a snark game because she’s feeding a sick hungry ghost. The content writes itself — MSNBC doesn’t even have to wait for a press release. Every tweet becomes a story, every story real estate for advertisers. Hillary Clinton’s snark campaign prints media money and Hillary gets free advertising.
But is snark the right response when it’s towards a man winning half the vote by threatening the wellbeing of virtually every American citizen? Right off the bat, we know his absurd economic policies will destroy the economy. If you listen to Chris Christie talk, we’re going to have about 800 times more cops all getting paid as much as software engineers to gun down Black kids for no reason. Unions will be criminalized. Everyone who cooks anything decent is getting deported. Fracking forever.
You’ll find that there’s really only a small sliver of the population that’s getting out of Trump’s reach with a snowball’s chance: rich, white people with the luxury of watching the news for sport so as to make jokes about it.
They need a hero.
I’m willing to say this is a crisis. It’s not a drill. That there are this many people willing to fucking Sieg Heil a man on live TV is that moment we agree this isn’t funny anymore.
When you sit down and ask yourself what response you wish we were getting from a leader right now, I hope you don’t say you’re wishing for more snark.
I hope you recognize that the severity of the situation warrants more than jokes.
I hope you know that these are the trials that test a hero’s mettle.
All I do anymore it seems is write on the variation of a single theme: heroism. I can’t get the subject off my mind. What makes a hero? Who will we remember as our heroes? Why would we allow ourselves to be led by anyone less than heroic?
Many people want me to think Hillary Clinton is a hero because she overcame a lot of sexist bullshit to become a millionaire while married to a public servant. I’m supposed to respect and admire this.
But I can say that Hillary Clinton’s not a idiot. I can at least say that much. I can say that she has it in her to play this game and win it.
But not if she thinks she’s going to ride this thing out on snark.
Right now, I’ll concede that having just watched two days of the Republican National Convention that those fuckbaskets are pushing every limit they think they can get away with. Laura Ingraham fucking Sieg Heiled on that stage tonight. No healthy person just fucking accidentally Sieg Heils at a political rally.
And Chris Christie spitting his machismayo salivating about locking Hillary Clinton up like he’s going to be the asshole running the camps?
This has been a festival of buffoons each taking a turn fellating Donald Trump’s fascist dogwhistle. It’s like they’re all getting on their knees playing the game of who can heil Shitler the hardest before someone figures out a way to stop it.
And you know what’s not going to stop it?
Because like I said, snark is the luxury of the privileged. It is not a universal rallying cry. It will not unionize. It is the language of the elite circlejerk.
Am I guilty of snark? Absolutely. Are you kidding?
But I would never be so stupid as to run a campaign against Shitler on snark.
Fuck, that’d be irresponsible.
That’d be like laughing at a funeral.
That’d be making light of someone’s coming pain.
It’d be saying to millions of people I’m not a hero.
It’d be saying to the dispossessed that I’ve got nothing to save them from this incoming nightmare but a jokewriter on staff.
Christ, that’d be a demonstrated failure of leadership.