Before I begin
ranting discussing some of my grievances regarding Brown’s snap culture, I would like to make it clear that I have a profound appreciation for the ability of Brown students to engage in free and respectful discourse; I am in no way knocking the freedom of expression that makes dialogue at Brown so excellent.
Furthermore, it’s not that I think snapping doesn’t deserve a place in our society. Whether in jazz concerts, poetry readings, the occasional pop jam (“Fancy” is an excellent example, but you already know), or even in a big lecture or a very large seminar, the snap can be great. However, when it comes to general conversations in the Brown community, I think Paul McCartney puts it best:
The first glaring issue is the fact that there is a large contingent of students who cannot snap. The snap has become a prominent means of expression, which is a struggle for non-snappers who are unable to show approval like the rest of their peers can. It is frustrating to try to express your agreement when you’re physically incapable of doing so.
Additionally, snapping can be really distracting. For example, I’ll be trying to say something in a discussion and then, out of nowhere, I’ll get interrupted by a chorus of snaps. It might not be directly invasive, but it still has the effect of throwing me off of my train of thought. Maybe I’m not done speaking; in fact, maybe I’m about to contradict myself or illustrate why I disagree with what I just stated. But now I have to be done speaking because everyone has decided to support only what I’ve said so far. This happens both inside and outside the classroom, by the way. Imagine hearing a bunch of snaps in response to: “I’m really tired, I’m in a bad mood, and I have a headache.”
Finally, snapping feels somewhat pretentious. It resembles applause in many ways, therefore implying, to an extent, the superiority of the snapper. When you snap at something that I’ve just said, I subconsciously feel like my contributions to the conversation have been received as a performance to be adjudicated instead of a conversation to treat equally and to interact with. An “I agree” or a “you’re right” resembles an equal exchange between myself and the person to whom I’m talking, while a snap suggests that the conversation is just an appraisal of my thoughts.
So, in conclusion, snap culture at Brown has worked its way into inappropriate situations. Snapping has its place in Brunonian academia and in society at large, but when it comes to more casual conversations and even small academic discussions, the snapping needs to stop.