Leon Wieseltier's review of Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell seems to be full of ill-founded snark -- although to be absolutely honest I can't say for sure, since I quit reading the review in disgust partway through. I don't think that Breaking the Spell is Dennett's best book, but it certainly deserves better than Wieseltier's supercilious little hit piece. (Wieseltier seems to have a penchant for these: his review of Nicholson Baker's Checkpoint (even farther from being Baker's best book than Breaking the Spell is from being Dennett's) was also a string of cheap shots, flagrant misreadings and enough splutter that you needed an umbrella to read it.) Fortunately some people have a stronger stomach than I and managed to actually finish Wieseltier's review, so that they can shoot it down with all the ferocity of Dick Cheney on a quial hunt. The best huntings of Wieseltier's snark that I've read are Brian Lieter's and P. Z. Myers's; a roundup of others is at Majikthiese. (Update: a third good hunter takes aim at Weiseltier's "digraceful and disrespectful hack job of a review" here.)
2. Fit the Second
In the meantime, for some better-aimed Snark that is less likely to up and Boojum on you, read Alex Ross's lengthy New Yorker essay on Theodore Adorno (from nearly three years ago, but I just came across it). A hilariously snarky essay that's a lot of fun to read. But I must admit I can't tell if the implication in the following three sentences is, A) intentional and meant as a joke; B) an accident of misfired prose (though I blame Adorno for sneaking up behind him and not announcing his presence, really) or C) intentional and meant seriously. I presume (A), because of the snarkiness of the rest of the essay, to say nothing of the usually careful editing of The New Yorker; but still, this is a wild trio of sentences:
Tragically, Adorno was himself a victim of the shock tactics of pop culture. In April, 1969, a group of female activists interrupted his lecture "An Introduction to Dialectical Thinking" by flashing their breasts in his face and taunting him with flowers. He died a few months later, on August 6, 1969.
"Charm it with smiles and with soap" indeed!