Two strands of class discussion come together in this review of David Denby's book, Snark. Walter Kirn wrote a great review/critique of the book in the New York Times Book Review this week. Kirn raises the question of whether allowing irresponsible and reckless powers to proceed without being ridiculed and laughed at is, in the end, in worse taste than any tacky joke, cheap-shot chuckle or ill-considered dismissal. It's worth noting that The Believer, the magazine that published the Q and A with Steven Soderbergh, was started in part with a mission to combat snark. It's also worth noting that the battle against snark has been going on for years and years, now, as can be seen from this old story on The Believer from The New York Observer. You can read The Believer's opening salvo against snark from back in 2003, right here. All of this comes together in the discussion of these Q and A's because many of these interviews touch on questions of taste, decorum, artistic honesty and protocal. Because the interview subjects -- a comedian and two film directors -- all work in the media, the questions seemed naturally to gravitate toward issues of how best to represent truth and reality, without distorting everything through the lens of self-consciousness or unnatural abreviations and abridgement.
Our discussion of Q and A's will be enhanced if any of you can read this story about Deborah Solomon's interview and editing techniques from the New York Press. There was a whole mini-flap about this issue, and the Times ended up changing the text that runs with her popular interviews each week as a result.