Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The delights of snark
Snark often irritates me. But every now and then a moment of snark delivers ineffable delight in the midst of teeth-grinding vexation. Such a moment is especially satisfying when the snark is in response to snark I don't find in the least amusing.
The new issue of the American Book Review has a review of Stanley Fish's new book, Save the World on Your Own Time. A snarky title if I've ever heard one. Jeffrey R. Di Leo first very properly reviews the book on its own, rather narrow terms. Having done that, he lets in the world. And finally, he offers his appropriate judicious conclusion that although Save the World on Your Own Time contains "many entertaining provocations from one of academe's most outspoken members," following the book's imperatives "may worsen rather than improve the problems of higher education." Yes, yes, of course, I'm thinking as I read this, my annoyance with Fish's snark not abated a jot. But then comes the review's last sentence:
If you must read this book, do it on university time, not your own.
Touche, Mr. Fish. And now I can move on from the review of your snarky title with a smile on my face and my eyebrows at peace.