…In this particular election cycle of 2016, Twitter seems to dominate much more than before, and of course it is tailor-made for the strengths of Donald Trump. He has developed snarky one-liner put-downs and bragging to a fine art, and Twitter gives him the perfect platform for that, with a ready-made potential audience of many millions who are drawn to the game.
Other candidates also are Twitter users—I’d say that, in this day and age, they must be—but Trump is a natural. I don’t know how many of all the candidates’ tweets are self-generated or if they use specially-trained Twitter assistants (with the candidates having the right of final approval of tweets, of course), but Twitter has been a very active factor in this election, more so than ever before.
Although this post focuses on Twitter, it’s not only Twitter. I’ve noticed over and over—on blogs, on television, in comments, in life—that snark has become the dominant conversational style, the coin of the realm these days. And the phenomenon is only growing.
Nearly everything is irony or mockery, coming from what appears to be a very deep public cynicism, fed in turn by the constant cynicism and mockery. No one is really laudable any more. Elect a narcissistic con man? Why not? They’re all narcissistic con men, so let’s back the conny-ist and most narcissistic con man of all. And let’s laugh about it, and taunt the opposition. Integrity is for suckers, and only saps would believe that anyone smart has it. Except, paradoxically, the snarky, who show the depth of their integrity by the depth of their mocking cynicism.
You might say in response that their cynicism is deserved: we’ve been betrayed by everyone, in government especially, Republicans and Democrats, they’re all lying thieves, yada yada yada. I’m not at all sure it’s that much worse than it used to be. But even if it is, it’s certainly not everyone, and what I see is an incessant, petulant, nit-picky fault-finding on the part of a public that rejects good (or good enough) people in public life for one mistake, one bad judgment, one intemperate remark, and tars them as forever beyond the pale…
Read the whole thing.