Saturday, August 04, 2012

And Now a Friendly Word About Hate

Let the Hate Games begin!  But first, a word from the FBI:


or the longest time, I thought Facebook was alone in being a hater magnet.  The volume and vapidity of the hate that throbs on its pages is definitely not for the weak of spirit.  It takes a tough hide to slide past what total strangers are saying about you, each other, and anyone and anything else that can possibly be a target…or does it?  Throttle down your engines a smidge by asking yourself why you care.

In the interest of research, I tried a few other social networking sites.  You don’t need to think very hard to guess what I found.  Discussion groups diminished in size on every site until they included only the handful of head-nodders who agreed with the original poster’s original stand on the original factoid under discussion.  I was run off one discussion forum (ah, the vitriol would have burned my hide in the real world!)  for suggesting that helping each other out without expecting payback was an okay thing to do.  It was a discussion on mentoring on a board for professionals.  Uh…

I decided to try to find out what was behind all the anger.  In part, that led to the article linked above.  It also led to a quick trip through the DSM V and back to the DSM IV-R which still tags the crazies in ways I remember from grad school so I could find them more easily.

Some of the causation was pretty obvious.  Some posters are legitimately peeved about having been personally damaged by another party, and they chose the Interwebs as a place to share their upset with the world.  In bygone days, all of that would have taken place on the party line or over the back fence, and we would have called it “gossip”.  Miss Lucy found out her gardener was cutting roses in someone else’s yard?  Oh, my!  Say it isn’t so…but give me a minute to spread it around first.  Most of the posts of that type are unintelligible to anyone who wasn't there when the dog got kicked, the reputation got besmirched, or the boyfriend strayed.

Others showed the standard hate reaction that is based, as much strong emotion is, in fear.  Xenophobia isn’t just for space aliens, you know.  As a species, we learned early on that being too open to contact with strangers could cost us dearly.  Our caves, our dead animal carcass, our mate, our offspring, and our best hunk of rock tied to a stick could all be gone in a heartbeat.  And we could be dead, to boot!  So arose secret passwords and t-shirts with team logos on them.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that many of the animals we have domesticated and chosen as food were able to get past that fear reaction within their own species without turning to the forest version of the Internet?  No haters there; just critters trying to get through their days, and we're eating them.  Irony?

But, I digress.

Some of the hate comes from psycho-social developmental issues.  There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Narcissistic Personality Disorder to spice up a discussion on anything requiring value judgments.  Narcissists are always—always—right.  The rest of us are just too stupid to notice.  The Passive-Aggressives befuddle and then withdraw, luring their prey into screwing with their own heads.  When you read a comment in which the author seems to be arguing with himself, you can bet the fine hand of a P-A type is behind it.  The Paranoids are sure everyone out there is hanging on their every word and they hate that even more than they hate whatever conspiracy theory is being discussed.

The file linked at the top of this post is really interesting. First, it’s interesting in that it’s the FBI’s take on the types of haters out there and how to deal with them. That part should help you act less impaired when someone with the blue jacket with "FBI" emblazoned on the back is eying you up.  Second, it’s interesting in its descriptions of those folks.  You really should read it.   You might be in there somewhere, and it will only heighten your next paranoid-passive-aggressive-narcissistic-psychotic episode if you don’t check right now to see.  

There you have it; Haters in a nutshell (appropriate, yes?).  Everyone hates someone.  It’s de rigueur to hate the government and all employees thereof.  Next come people from other countries (who doesn’t hate them some good ol’ Chinese on a Friday night?), followed closely by those with different religious affiliations.  Parochial Schoolers hate Public Schoolers who hate Home Schoolers who hate dropouts.  Dressage riders don’t seem to hate very many people, but who can work up a good snit when you’re dressed like the guy on the cover of The New Yorker?  Show riders and trail riders butt heads.  English vs. Western, breed aficionados squaring off with whips drawn, rescuers vs people who don't want their horses anymore….

It goes on and on.  

My advice on all of this is 1) don’t hate something if you can simply avoid it instead, and 2) if you have to hate, don’t hate another hater; hate the act of blanket,  knee-jerk hating.  Be specific.  Know what it is you hate and why.  I know exactly why I hate tripe.  Can you say that about the things that raise your blood pressure?  

Spend your time in productive efforts to undo some of the anger around you.  It’s possible (really, it is) to explain to someone where their facts are faulty without actually punching them physically or verbally.  Documentation (that’s legitimate documentation without any wiki anywhere to be found) is readily available and tends to make conversations take on an air of intelligence.  The fine art of discussion seems to have morphed into one big computer role-playing game.  If whatever you’re busy hating isn’t actually causing you damage, then why are you expending all that energy on it?  Are you making a difference or just trotting out your monkey brain for a quick tour of the area?  Why not just take a break and go outside?  

Oh, wait.  That will just give you time to hate the weather, the neighbors, the way the lawn is turning brown, the faces your horse is making at you....  Never mind.

We’ll never all get along, but we can certainly do a better job of simply being human than we’re doing right now.  I'd like to suggest we get on that.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Funny, I was just on FB this morning for a very short period of time and found myself pretty burned out on all the blah blah blah.
I like the way you think! :)