Off the Media

Snark and Smarm — the Metier of an Empty Generation

It doesn’t shock me that after a slow and growing backlash against snark and vitriol online, some of its worst purveyors would try to move the target.

Apparently, smarm is now the problem.

Many have already responded to this–from the New Yorker to the New York Times to Esquire — so I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with more insider-y, self-indulgent media analysis. And it doesn’t matter whether you call it “snark or Smarm, in the end, it’s all the same bullshit. Read More

Books

A Heartbreaking Work of Subpar Genius: Dave Eggers’s Dystopian Tech Novel Misses the Point

Remainder-table-level Orwell.

After a decade and a half of the Internet wreaking havoc on the way we live our lives, the literary world has decided it’s time to tackle its influence. Hard on the heels of Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon’s take on Silicon Alley’s first tech boom, we have The Circle, a patched-together dystopian fantasy by Dave Eggers, who is quite clearly very worried about the pernicious influence of Facebook and its ilk.

Many, many words have already been devoted to the ways Mr. Eggers misunderstands Silicon Valley, and they’re justified. The novel reads like it’s cobbled together from what Mr. Eggers has overheard in the bars, coffee shops and parks of San Francisco. He’s nailed the sound of the tech world’s delusions of grandeur, but he doesn’t see them for the delusions they usually are. Read More

Belles-lettres

Dave Eggers Says He’s Never Even Heard of That Facebook Memoir, What Are You Talking About?

At issue.

Coming soon to an indie bookstore near you: The Circle, Dave Eggers’ take on Silicon Valley. The book’s launch has gotten off to a bumpy start, though, as Kate Losse claims that it’s basically a novelization of The Boy Kings, her memoir of her time at Facebook. Well, today Mr. Eggers finally piped up in his own defense in a statement to TechCrunch. (One imagines him dispatching an assistant to research these “tech blogs.”)

He says he’s never even heard of Ms. Losse’s book, much less appropriated her story for his own purposes:  Read More