Something I will never understand is the strange obsession people have with hating things that don’t matter. Why on earth does everyone care if the Twilight books are popular? Does the fact that Justin Bieber or One Direction is popular at the moment really anger you? I never thought I’d ever be writing about any of this stuff, but something happened the other day that made me realize how toxic this pop-culture hatred can be. People will go out of their way to mention how much they hate these things, even when there is no reason to do so.
I understand that making fun of terrible things can be entertaining. My favorite TV show is Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and the entire premise of that show is making fun of bad movies. I get the appeal. What I don’t get is why people take what should be poking innocent fun and turn it into malicious hatred. Remember when Rebecca Black was popular for that terrible Friday song? It was so bad that it was funny, and for a while I had fun occasionally listening to it and laughing along. At the end of the day though I knew that it was just some young tween girl making a silly youtube video. The sad part of this story is that this girl was cyber bullied to the point of receiving death threats just because she made a lame song. That is just taking things way to far!
So what is my point? My point is everyone’s angry, but no one seems to be angry about the right things.
I remember back around Christmas time I was wearing a purple shirt at a social event. I only remember this because a little kid, probably around five years old, came up to me and with as much spite as a five-year old can muster he said:
“Purple is a gay color!”
Now keep in mind this is a very small child. I might have been bothered if this had come from someone with a little more developed social skills, but kids say stupid things all the time. I got down on his level and I told him:
“Purple is my favorite color. Why do you think purple makes me gay?”
I was pretty certain that this child didn’t actually know what “gay” meant. I’m sure he had heard some homophobic language somewhere (tv, parents, friends, who knows) and had just learned to associate purple with “gay” and “gay” with something undesirable.
“Justin Bieber likes purple, and he’s gay,” was the response I got.
I thought this was pretty funny at the time. I don’t know an awful lot about Justin Bieber, but thanks to this little kid I know that he apparently really likes the color purple. If nothing else I can say that I like Bieber’s sense of color coordination. Fashion aside, I realized that this kid had gotten it into his head from somewhere that anything associated with Justin Bieber was “gay”, even going so far as to negatively associate colors with him. I wasn’t mad at this as much as I was amused. I was enjoying my conversation with what has to be the cutest hater in the world.
“Why do you not like Justin Bieber?” was my response.
I was honestly curious to see what this little guy was going to say. Celebrity gossip rarely enters my sphere of consciousness, and I was interested to see what this little guy was going to say.
“He’s gay.” squeaked the tiny voice.
“Why don’t you like gay people.” I asked.
The little guy got confused by this. He knew he was supposed to hate Justin Bieber and he knew he was supposed to hate gay people, but he didn’t know why? I stress again that this kid was around five years old. At this age he’s pretty much only capable of being selfish and regurgitating things he’s heard from grown ups or TV. I’m not blaming him or priding myself on outwitting a five-year old. The conversation faded after that, the kid had lost interest in me and I really didn’t care to attempt an intellectual discussion with someone who was probably still learning how to count.
The point I’m bringing up here is that hatred can spread very quickly without us knowing it and the vast majority of the time hatred is aimed at very stupid things that don’t matter at all. I think there must be some part of human nature that makes us secretly love to hate things. Maybe it’s a rival sports team, a crappy band, a celebrity, a political view, a religion (or non-religion), another nationality, another race, the neighbor across the street… you get the idea. People kind of like hating things. We’re tribalistic like that.
I’m not here to say that hatred is bad in and of itself. What I am saying is that I often find myself wondering what this world could be like if we really hated things that deserve hatred. What if instead of every other facebook status, tweet, youtube video, hating on some pop culture trend they instead focused on hating human trafficking and exploitation? I’m aware that from time to time some “Kony 2012” type of thing will get social media attention, but that is always quickly phased out within a month or two by the return of pop-culture bashing. But what if we really and truly devoted our hatred towards doing something about world hunger for instance? I’m not talking about world hunger month, I’m talking about a people who really and truly hate the fact that people are going hungry. What if the world voiced their hatred for the slave trade as much as they voiced their hatred for the next tween sensation?
I really wish I saw more hatred aimed at this:
I truly believe that hatred can come out of love. People that hate bad music, do so because they love good music. People that hate bad books do so because they love good books. People that hate sin do so because they love God. If we really do care about the suffering and oppressed of this world then I suggest we stop getting angry over fickle things and start get angry about injustice and cruelty. Let’s aim our anger at a desire to see a better world, rather than just trying to get better music on the radio.
Righteous anger is an extension of Godly love, so evaluate what makes you angry. What do you spend your time hating? Is it sin in your life? Is it injustice? Is it cruelty?
Is it worth it?
Want to get angry about something that matters: