Strategic Snark Reserves "Dangerously Low";
Increased Consumption Blamed
Experts report that the United States Strategic Snark Reserves have been severely depleted, and absent new discoveries of snark may run dry within three years.
"Liberal bloggers have been using snark at an exponentially expanding rate, but it's not a renewable resource" said Lawrence Peters, head researcher at the American Blog Studies Group, a liberal think tank. "Once it's gone, it's gone."
Already the shortage has had an impact. Liberal bloggers like Billmon and Josh Marshall have taken extended vacations in recent months to recover; others, like the Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum, have dramatically curtailed daily snark output. Other bloggers have suffered more severely.
"I just couldn't take it anymore," blogger Hesiod probably would have said, had this reporter bothered to contact him or any of the other people mentioned in this story. "It started out bad, even before the Bush Presidency began, and it just kept getting worse."
Hesiod's own blog, Counterspin, was shuttered recently when he experienced Total Snark Failure, known as TSF. "It was awful. I just woke up one day and... it wasn't there. Just nothing."
Blogger Billmon knows what Hesiod is facing. Billmon had an episode of TSF earlier this year. "Luckily, it was only temporary. But it hurt like hell to be shut down."
The long-term prospects for bloggers such as Hesiod are unclear. Snark-related research has been severely curtailed by the Bush administration, and new snark supplies are nearly non-existant. In the meantime, all Hesiod can do is hope.
"I mean, maybe new sources will be found. Until then, I guess my blog has to stay closed."
Anatomy of a Crisis
Snark usage among liberal bloggers reached record levels even before the Bush administration took office. "Dick Cheney conducted a nationwide search to find the most qualified Vice President for George W. Bush to run with," said one anonymous lefty blogger, currently hospitalized for Chronic Snark Fatigue. "And after the whole search, he found Dick Cheney."
"You had people like Karen Hughes standing in front of TV cameras in Florida, demanding to 'count every vote', while at the exact same time Bush lawyers were going to court to stop it from happening." said blogger Atrios. "I mean, what the hell are you supposed to do with that? And in a state run by Bush's own brother?"
Hesiod agrees that the months surrounding the start of the Bush Presidency were the hardest. "The man's name is Dick," he laughs weakly from his bed. "I knew then I was going to have to pace myself, or I'd never get through it."
Hesiod and other bloggers accuse the Bush administration of deliberately exacerbating the crisis by intentionally inflating snark usage.
"The administration is constantly coming up with publicity campaigns designed solely to bleed snark," said another anonymous blogger. "They'll introduce legislation with the most absurd titles imaginable, just to force snark usage to spike."
Atrios points to the "Healthy Forests Initiative" as one of the more egregious examples. "There's no way you can tell me that wasn't named that just to try and take out a few of the weaker liberal bloggers. They knew exactly what they were doing."
Asked whether such legislation is taking a toll on him, Atrios begrudgingly admitted "It does. I try to pretend I myself have an infinite snark supply, but I won't lie -- that was a tough few weeks. It followed soon after 'Clear Skies', and I think that for a lot of the smaller bloggers, it marked the beginning of the end."
While Atrios is among the lucky ones, for now, experts caution that the months before the next election could see the shuttering of many liberal blogs. "There simply isn't enough snark to go around, and it's only going to get worse from here," said Peters. "Some of these bloggers won't make it to the election. Their heads will pop like grapes."
Alternative Energy Sources Explored
Liberal bloggers and blogs rely much more heavily on snark than the rest of the "blogosphere", say experts, and the answer to the current crisis might be found in exploring other, more common energy sources. More rightward-leaning blogs have long ago converted to renewable energy sources; nearly all are currently self-sustaining.
Of particular interest to researchers is Being A Blowhard, a common and renewable source of power among right-leaning blogs. "If we could convert the energy of one Glenn Reynolds or Mickey Kaus to snark, our problems would be solved," one researcher said. "Obtuse Self Delusion is also promising. The question is how to convert it into snark. How do you get from an Andrew Sullivan to something that a Billmon or Hesiod can use?"
Among the most powerful renewable feul sources is Venom-Filled Hate. "But that's nearly impossible to extract. All we're getting out of our test subject is 'Arf. Arf Arf,' and that's a long way from becoming a usable long-term power source."
Researchers warn that none of thier work will be available anytime soon. "It may be that liberal bloggers may have to supplement their snark with other energy," says Peters. "Blend in a bit of these right-wing feuls, as an emergency measure. It won't run clean, and it'll stink like hell, but it may be the only way to get through the crisis."
No Relief in Sight
In the meantime, liberal bloggers cannot expect much relief. While the Bush Presidency is expected to end in January, experts warn that snark will still be needed at record-breaking rates for the foreseeable future.
"I know it won't end in January," says Atrios. "The Republican party will still be controlled by an exterminator, a guy who used to kill kittens for practice, and a guy named after a blue Muppet. And there are rumors of a new Contract With America, something about buying all gay people DVD players if they just agree to have their foreheads branded with one of the Ten Commandments."
"We have to be strong," Billmon sighs. "I don't know if we can do it or not, but we have to at least get through the election."
Hesoid, still bedridden from his own experiences, agrees. "This is too important. I gave it my all, but maybe there's someone out there with a little snark in reserve, who can take my place."
"But we can't just let the liberal blogosphere close down."
No, but really, some excellent blogs here:
Talking Points Memo
This Modern World
Washington Monthly - Political Animal