June 15, 2010
No Commentby Arthur Smith
Though I will admit to mild frustration over the paucity of responses engendered by these semi-regular postings, I can’t complain too much, because, truthfully, I have come to loathe the “comments” sections that dangle beneath legitimate pieces on pop culture blogs like the Onion’s AV Club like extraneous, diseased limbs—full of unbelievably petty backbiting, desperate one-up-manship, and, worst of all, unrelenting “snark,” the ubiquitous, facile satirical razzing and reference-dropping that has become the lingua franca of social networking.
It’s as if armies of unemployed Daily Show writers hunker daily (hourly, minute-by-minute-ly) at their keyboards, waiting for the ideal moment to pun on a Godard movie title, quote Eastbound and Down, or, the ne plus ultra, score a “firstie” and dazzle the punters with their wit and erudition. The problem is, everybody commenting seemingly shares the same wised-up, rueful, semi-self-deprecating voice, creating and endless feedback loop of undergrad irony and Lost theories. Everyone’s hip, everyone’s funny, everyone’s familiar with the canon of pop high and low, and everyone natters on endlessly, pointlessly, filling bandwidth with smug little jokes about the National and Danny Trejo.
I always thought the worst part of any given Neil Simon work was the preternaturally quippy little kid on the sidelines, improbably worldly and ready with a zinger for any occasion. Those little wisenheimers have grown up now and devote themselves to contentiously parsing Breaking Bad online, brandishing “clever” user names like War On Oats and Doggystyle Day Afternoon (geddit, geddit?).
I’m all for informed, enthusiastic discussion of the television shows, movies, music, and books that enrich our lives…in fact, it’s an abiding passion of mine, and the reason I work here. It’s the hive-mind that gets me down, the hip homogeneity of it all…I except you dear readers of the Paley Center blogs, you few, you proud. Sound off below, if you’re reading, and let’s discuss Justified and Sarah Silverman and the Pavement reunion tour—but let’s try it without the canned snark. I want to hear your voice, not a 4th generation copy of Joel McHale’s. What do you think?
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Arthur Smith worked in a film archive and failed to earn a living as a professional musician before joining the Paley Center in 1997. He’s not bitter, but has unhealthy fixations on tweedy clothing and Marvel comics.Interests:
60s Pop Music, Comedy, Comic Books, Great and/or Terrible Movies, and Exotic Brunettes
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