I really have to ask, because I don’t know when it happened. Really, I don’t! And I have really been amazed at how frequently I have seen it lately. So, tell me, why is it, if something becomes popular now in our social media driven world, that it seemingly also suddenly becomes cool to become angry or downright hateful towards it?
And I do not mean politics. The old saying goes that in civil company, you never discuss religion or politics, because those are things that can always become heated, and thanks to alternate perspectives there is no right and wrong. And while that is true of most things, religion and politics have always been specifically singled out because being on the “wrong” side of an issue could cause hurt feelings. But that was really where it ended. But that doesn’t seem to be the case any more.
Yes, I know there has always been a “counter culture.” For every type of music, there has always been an “alternative,” and clothing, jewlery, lifestyles, literature, have always had their proponents. And with that comes a love/hate relationship. But this goes beyond the generalities of counter culture, down to the specifics.
I am not doing such a hot job of trying to generalize this, so let me give you some examples that I have seen recently, that have irked me. Not so much because somebody likes/or disklikes something in particular, but because of the way it seems to be coming about. The first and most obvious recently is the book, Shades of Grey. The book sits, and has for some time now on many best seller lists. It became something of a sensation. And just as it did, the swell of anger seemed to begin. People hating a book, that they have not read, because they suddenly felt superior or cool to have not read it. People who “heard” the writing “was not that good.” People making fun of women that found it erotic to read a book. It was banned in 3 States and pulled from library shelves, because of what OTHERS said about it.
“It’s semi-pornographic,” said Don Walker, a spokesman for Brevard County, Fla., where the library put 19 copies of the book on the shelves then pulled the novel after reading reviews about it.
So, they “heard” this, attached titles to it like “Mommy Porn” (yet, they continue to carry Harlequin Novels which have been the “standard” for that sort of characterization for many years) and decided that that they did not want it. Â I am not even going to go into the whole book burning mentality, because that is beyond the scope here, but because it is talked about, because libraries have waiting lists for it, they decided to take the time to go out and JUDGE a book they have not read. Â It just became good to hate this book.
And while the most widely spread, it is not the only example. Â The boy band, One Direction has been skyrocketing in popularity this year, and the cries of “One Direction Sucks” has been growing equally fast. Â Why? Â I mean, sure, you have a right to not like their music. Â I am no big fan of One Direction (though my daughter is), so I do not listen to their music, and to me that is enough. Â I don’t need to create websites, or run around to every mention of the band, to explain how they suck, and the only people that listen to them are tweens, and so on and so on and so on. Â It suddenly becomes a mission it seems to some people, and the crowd mentatlity grows around it as more and more join it to express their hatred to something that is popular despite their insistence of how it “sucks.”
My last example, and the one that finally pushed me to write this post and ask what is it I am missing is this years Olympics. Â Now, I am not one of those people that stops everything to watch the Olympics every 4 years, nor am I one of those people that get a sudden burst of Patriotism and start chanting “U…S…A” at every opportunity. Â I do find it somewhat humorous that others do, but I certainly don’t criticize them for it. Â But now here comes our little counter culture popping up again, talking about how people watch events they don’t care about “because it is the Olympics,” or how the games are boring, etc. Â I saw a Â Facebook status, that because it came from somebody I normally respect ( I am not going to call this person out specifically because I am just using this statement as an example), actually shocked me into a state of, “WTF” when Â they said:
My favorite part of the Olympics is watching teenage girls get their dreams crushed in front of billions of viewers. It’s like a car wreck. I can’t turn away.
Really? Â That is your “FAVORITE” part of the Olympics? Â Then why bother watching? Â How would you feel if it was your child getting their dreams CRUSHED? Â The athletes, and their families put their lives in many cases on hold in order to get the opportunity to even compete at this level, and because you have “too many” Status items in your timeline this week about the Olympics, it is OK to get pleasure out of their notÂ attainingÂ their dream? Â Or like Conan O’Brien, you decide it is OK to make fun of an Olympic athlete because she is too heavy or not attractive enough for you, despite the fact that she has attained levels inÂ competitionÂ that you most likely never will? Â That same hateful tweet, having been retweeted over 2,000 times shows how quickly it spreads.
I just don’t get it. Â Is it the social media that enables these things to turn into such a powerful chorus of hatred so quickly? Â Does that allow it to grab a mass mob mentality so quickly? Â Are we just seeing more of it since social media makes so much more visible? Â Or, in my old age, am I just growing more intolerant of people that seem to make fun of something, for no other reason than it is popular and people seem to need to make themselves feel superior to “against the grain?” Â Or am I just off base here? Â Please tell me.