Former CP Staffer Tom Scocca tells the smarmy bastards to fuck off
Finally. Over a decade after the supposed “death of irony” in the Twin Towers and the ascendency of brand-thinking, there is something of a manifesto, penned by former CP staffer Tom Scocca at Gawker, against the ever-widening influence of smarm, which he defines as “an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.”
The incredibly long piece blasts away at Dave Eggers (“It is also no accident that Dave Eggers is full of shit”), David Denby, Malcolm Gladwell, Ari Fleischer, Romney, Obama, Bloomberg, Lieberman (“Joe Lieberman! If you would know smarm, look to Joe Lieberman”), Niall Ferguson, J.P. Morgan, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, David Sedaris, and, best of all, Tom Peters, the evil motherfucker who wrote “A Brand Called You.”
“When you hear a voice say ‘Everyone’s a critic,’ listen for the echo: Everyone’s a publicist.”
Please, if you fancy yourself some kind of branding guru or want to spread the gospel of a renaissance by “amplifying the good stuff,” read this and then shut the fuck up forever.
Scocca’s piece got us all nostalgic and so we went through the archives and found some of his best pieces for City Paper, like this gem on Joey Ramone; or this on Sleazefest; or this one on pit beef. All of these pieces are characterized by the same argumentative brilliance and astute perception found in the Smarm piece.
[Illustration Tony Millionaire]