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The History of Snark

Webster defines snarky as sarcastic, caustic, crotchety, snappy, impertinent, or irreverent.

Irreverent; defined as lacking proper respect or seriousness or satiric, best describes the intent of this writer.

My experience is irreverence or a lack of seriousness can get you through a lot of bad situations.

In the land before time, snarky was not a word. In the South, parents told children who pushed boundaries “don’t sass your mama.” Yankees, no more progressive in their use of verbs than southerners warned kinder to “watch your mouth.”

Adults misused their power and confused “sass” with curiosity or failed to see the creative ability of a mouthy kid. They weren’t confused; more likely clueless about how to respond to difficult queries.

Diplomacy, subtlety, are words that can morph into submissive, passive, and obedient; all unacceptable to women with an IQ higher than a boll weevil.

It was from this stage of early childhood development that a generation of women discovered “sass” or failure to watch one’s mouth brought swift resolution to undesirable situations.

The culture of snarky retorts began. Snarky is not cruel or lacking in compassion. One could almost say snarky is a public service. A snarky retort can render an offensive bully speechless.

And that is the true story of how snark began

Categories: Stuff I Probably Shouldn't Have Said

JoAnn Williams

I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.

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