Today, the term Snark stands for an attitude or expression of mocking irreverence and sarcasm (Merriam-Webster). Urbandictionary.com defines it as a combination of “snide” and “remark”. Sarcastic comment(s). That might neither be the portmanteau word nor the meaning which C. L. Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) had in mind.
C. L. Dodgson’s definition is different. The Snark
※ has a meagre and hollow, but crisp taste,
※ gets up late,
※ is slow in taking a jest,
※ likes simplicity (e.g. the design of bathing-machines),
※ is ambitious.
If your Snark just is a Snark, then:
※ Fetch it home by all means.
※ You may serve it with greens.
※ It’s handy for striking a light.
If, however, your Snark is a Boojum, then you are in trouble:
※ You will softly and suddenly vanish away
※ and never be met with again!
Important: Common Snarks do no manner of harm, but some are Boojums.
As long as they are just Snarks, they probably won’t make good populists.
For Dodgson, I think, Snark stood (also) for a still civilized controversy. Today we might need such a controversy in order to understand what populism stands for. However, in these times the effects of populism probably would turn also the controversy about populism into a Boojum. Populists, as we experience them today, thrive on toxic disputes.
Once upon a time, populism may have been an approach of politicians to really listen to people and to try hard to fulfill their wishes and to lead them at the same time. That is not easy:
To some people it takes more time to find that out.
Politicians with bells and tweets are paying respect to people, don’t they? (I don’t know whether populism ever really worked like that. But, admittedly, some politicians are not Boojums.) Today’s populism, however, does harm to us. People feel respected, but in reality they are beeing made fun of, yet so silently that they don’t really notice it. The means to make them feel better are to make others feel worse and let them vanish away. That’s what Boojum torned Starks do.