james on snark

Clive James gives his two cents on “snarky” reviews (the most recent example of which is arguably Laura Miller’s review of Chuck Palahniuk’s Diary.) He offers something that, human nature being what I is, I think every writer should consider: “When you say a man writes badly, you are trying to hurt him. When you say it in words better than his, you have succeeded. It would be better to admit this fact, and admit that all adverse reviews are snarks to some degree, than to indulge the sentimental wish that malice might be debarred from the literary world.” Via Publishers’ Marketplace online newsletter.