Links For December 12, 2013

On Smarm – Tom Scocca runs down snark’s positivity-forcing, criticism-policing mirror:

What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves. Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can’t everyone just be nicer?

…but as the article progresses into a litany of personal hangups, snark/smarm looks less like a rhetorical axis and more like a slapfight.

Why, the whole idea of selling out was a terrible, bitter lie, told by “wimps” to justify their wimpiness. That was a peculiar position to take if you had just lived through the ’90s, as Eggers had, a decade that saw Disney eat Miramax and Creed sell more copies of its first two albums than Nirvana had sold of Bleach and Nevermind. But again, Eggers wasn’t making a point. He was taking an attitude. He was naming an enemy.

Can't We All Just Get Along? Oh, Right. No. – Maria Bustillos, as usual, straightens things out:

Civility is that gift, of the benefit of the doubt that we should have, if we are to have the sharpest, most critical sense of ourselves, the very thing I believe Scocca is calling for. Because he is not just calling against, he’s calling for. For awareness and respect for the truth, if we can find it, and ultimately, for respect for one another.


Glitch in the Afterlife – Glitch might be getting almost as much coverage a year after closing as it did when it was up.


The Minecraft Cell: Biology Meets Game-Based Learning — Notes on integrating Minecraft (specifically MinecraftEdu) into a ninth-grade class at Quest to Learn.


New Cibo Matto! Yay!