This is a problem I have noticed for years. It’s something that I often reflect on, but usually let pass. Lately however it seems to have gotten increasingly worse, and of course the internet facilitates this. There is this idea that one must “hate” something. It is not enough to say watch a show, decide you don’t like it, turn it off, and then move on with your life. As a personal example. I do not like Game of Thrones. I honestly tried to like it, but ultimately could not. I watched the entire first season, even a bit of the second season. Eventually I gave up. It simply was not for me. So I stopped watching it, and moved on. The only time I discuss Game of Thrones (outside of the context of this example) is when other people are talking about it and bring me into the conversation. If you were to approach me and ask how I feel about it I would say “I don’t like it”.
I don’t tell people I hate it, because I don’t. I have not spent hours over analyzing every aspect of the show. I do not get online to go on tirades about it. I don’t insult fans of Game of Thrones for enjoying the show. I watched the show, I could not get into it, and so I stopped watching it.
This simply isn’t enough for most people however. It isn’t enough to dislike something or even just not like it and then move on to something you do enjoy. No, people want to either like something or “hate” it. Even I am guilty of this, I am not above reproach. Yet this idea of “hating” things seems to be breeding, spreading, and becoming worse.
While I believe that “haters” is over used (though that is a different discussion for a different day) it does seem apt sometimes. People seem only to be happy if they are singing the praises of something or completely spitting on it, spewing rhetoric about how horrible it is and those that enjoy it are. I see people go on long tirades about how Twitch is the worst thing that has ever happened on the internet. I see people going overboard about how movies are destroying things like comics. Certain shows are destroying TV. Certain games and those playing them are the worst people in the world.
To be fair we all do actually hate some things. There are indeed media that it is not enough to say “I dislike it”. It’s also important that if media is actually truly problematic that we say something about it. However, why do we as people have to exist in such extremes at all times? The wonderful part about media is that it’s very easy to not consume it if you don’t like it. Don’t like a movie? Leave (or turn it off). Don’t like a show? Stop watching. Don’t like a book? Close it. Don’t like a game? Play something else. Unless it has truly offended you, or done something that needs to be addressed leave it at that.
Instead we fester, we rant, and then we go further and we start to insult and attack. We must “hate” it and therefore hate those involved with it.
Perhaps my need to finally write something about this has to do with my recent journey to be less negative. Perhaps it was seeing someone on twitter calling all people that enjoy twitch a bunch of retards (which by the way stop using that word) and being offended by it (for more than one reason). Perhaps it’s that I’ve noticed when I say I dislike something that people jump to defensive mode, often assuming that I am going to be like so many others and proceed to hate on something they enjoy. Perhaps it’s all of that and so much more.
I would say that disliking something is not the same as hating it. So if it’s so easy to ignore the media you don’t like, why do we feel the need to push ourselves to hate? Stop being part of this hate age. Save your passion, your rants, and your conviction for the things that really and truly bother you and leave the rest of it alone.
And even when you DO hate something, don’t insult. If you have to say something about certain media consider instead of falling on hate rhetoric trying to actually inform people of what your problem is and why they should consider not enjoying it themselves.
I hope to distance myself from this problem in the future, to be more like those that I don’t see “hating” or doing so very rarely. I hope others might consider doing the same.
I am a writer and streamer by trade. A gamer, reader, and all around nerd by hobby ;)