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The Shallowest of Conterarguments by TheDrifterWithin

Sometime ago, I went to Maracanã with my family to watch a football match of my team, Flamengo. If this name sounds familiar to foreigners, it's because Flamengo is the most popular football club in Brazil, and also the world. With 33 million supporters, Flamengo is a force to be foreknown, and it has supporters wherever there are Brazilians. The club itself is living in a drought in these last years: with a title here and a title there, its glories now days are far away from matching the achievements that leaded to such a massive fandom. Nevertheless, as massive as it is, there is naturally a lot of haters: people who contest the club's very history and glories, who hate the team and its fans, who despite anything that is so much so associated with Flamengo. They don't seem to have this hatred for any other team in Brazil, not even to other closest rivals. In fact, there is even a saying that those who don't love Flamengo hate it. A saying that isn't so far away from the truth. As you can see, there is a reason for this: visibility. The more visual something is, the bigger are the chances of this something being hated. It's a logical conclusion: something that is big will have its share of haters. If it is indeed good or bad is not the question, but just the fact that something is everywhere, overexposed and/or overreferenced can make it annoying to some people. And this feeling of annoyance may grow into hatred, as exemplified by Christopher Nolan, "Frozen", The Beatles, Michael Bay, "Forrest Gump", "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic", "Five Nights at Freddy's", "Game of Thrones", Pewdiepie, "Minecraft" and Comic Sans.



People say it's one of the prices to pay when you are popular, even if it isn't fair: to deal with the haters, to deal with that minority (or not-so-minority) that can't stand you or your popularity. For another example, here's one of the most up-voted definitions to Steve Jobs in Urban Dictionary, which is edited by common people in the internet. Upon his death, he was mourned as one of the greatest names of his generation, a visionary. But as people started to revisit his story, reports like this started to take flight in the internet:

An evil bastard and CEO of Apple Computers. Bill Gates is in the process of giving 85% of his fortunate to charity. Linus Torvalds single-handedly invented Linux, and made it free and open-source. Jobs has done neither of these things. When Jobs' own company, NeXt, failed miserably, he returned to Apple as CEO. At the time, several other companies were manufacturing MacOS-compatible computers; Jobs revoked their licenses. He also put the kibosh on a project to develop a PC-compatible version of MacOS, the result of both of these actions being that if you want to use MacOS, you have to buy a Mac. If it wasn't for Steve Jobs, more people would use MacOS because they wouldn't have to spend lots of money on a computer they can't modify and isn't compatible with lots of peripherals.

If I had a Death Note, I would write 'Steve Jobs - death by diarrhoea' in it.

Felix Clay from Cracked best summarized this feeling:

Ever notice how much more hatred something gets as its popularity grows? And how if it gets really popular, it seems like everyone in the world turns against it, which sort of makes no sense at all? Why the hell does that happen? (...) Nickelback is, without a doubt, the most popular hated band in the world. No band can claim as many non-fans while still being this popular. It boggles the mind. If literally everyone in the world is to be believed, no one has really listened to a Nickelback song except on the radio by accident as they scrambled to change the channel. And yet they sold 12 million singles off their second album, and 9 million ringtones. Who the f*ck are those people? Who made that album triple platinum? So we have to accept that not only is Nickelback a well-liked band, they're incredibly well-liked.

It is true and we know it. Did people even hate Chris Kyle before he made his book? In fact, did people even know who he was before Bradley Cooper played him?



Before we can go further on, I would like to say that the term "hater" that I'm using here is not in the sense of "prejudicial" or "bigoted", like the one mentioned by Aleks Krotoski in The Guardian, or the ones Bill Maher addressed in Twitter. But in the sense of someone who expresses great discontentedness with something for some reason on the media, without race-oriented reasons (that would appear to be, that is). Some haters can be very eloquent with their hate, level-minded and even prone to intelligent discussions, in such level they hardily look like haters. Others, however, are quite rude, and while they still don't fall into the category of a "troll", they can be very close-minded and even irrational towards anyone with a different view. Those are the ones more prone to horrible things like harassment and cyberbulling. But "hating" truly is a umbrella term, and not all ramifications of hate are necessarily bad: these cases are "extremist" haters. And I want to focus on common haters.

Some would dismiss these haters as sad, sad people, who need to be ignored and just seek for attention: something much more characteristic of a troll than properly a hater. But the point I want to make here is that it's very easy to be part of this group, and that sometimes, we do it without even knowing so. In my view, there are several different factors that lead us to hate something in such manner that we would like to outspokenly express it to others (something I'm not proud to admit I did here in DA with things like "Titanic", "Saving Private Ryan", "Pan's Labyrinth" and the Nostalgia Critic). In my dissertation about "Forrest Gump", I declared that one of such factors is when something is praised without deserving, regardless of its true quality. And maybe this is the reason a perennial favourite like "Forrest Gump" has such a notorious hate-community, even if still a minority. Personally, I try to have a non-immediate judgement of matters. As I try to understand the reasons something gets hated by a group of people - be it a majority or a minority -, I see some people might hate it because they thought the praise or exposure it got was undeserving, rather than by the work itself. I used to see this in Metacritic all the time: users scoring a zero to the film and declaring "it's not that it's bad". It was something else that brought this hatred, an "exterior" reason (and make no mistakes: its their right). "The Hurt Locker" is a film that became a primordial example of this feeling: several people got angry with it for not being "what they were expecting" from what they saw in the media and reviews. This leads to the sense they were tricked, and they have this feeling of anger, of revolt on their minds, against not only to the media, but also to the very film it elected. Not everyone shallows such hype: they rebel against it. They rebel against the "symbol of media" as a way to rebel against the media itself... and they do it without knowing so.

"Family Guy" is a big, massively popular cartoon for Fox, and like "The Simpsons", it's a serial that maintains its popularity despite its decrease in quality. Its approach to audacious comedy may be indeed hard hitting, but not necessarily funny: I've always liked to imagine that there are jokes Seth MacFarlane and his team adopt much more to pass an image of boldness than to actually hit our funny bones. Naturally, for its popularity, it has many fans, but there is this minority that hates it with all their straight. Many would be ready to dismiss these people as "sissies that can't take a joke" or even "jealous". But when you see the nature of "Family Guy", it seems logical that there would be many haters. In that sense, this minority is justified. But what I went to discover is that any hater can be justified: we are all in our rights to hate, love or hold indifference towards anything, with or without a reason, fair or not. It's just that something like "Family Guy" being hated makes more sense to the popular consciousness than someone like Gandhi being hated.

In the world of entertainment, few figures are as hated and popular than Kim Kardashian and her family: the stars of reality television show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", their show has been accused of doing nothing but to celebrate the "empty culture" that America will reference and cheer while supposedly forgetting about true art. And the argument I'm going to make for Kim Kardashian is the same I made for Michael Bay before here in DA: the real bad news is when we assimilate such shallowness as part of what we constitute as "greatness", instead of "just fun". Once people get their kicks from it without actually absolving it as an example of true greatness, we don't need to worry about, for there is a consensus that keeps it from doing any real damage (which, to be fair, I don't think it can apply to all cultures). But some people love to throw jabs at Bay and Kardashian: they love to hate them, even because - as I said here in DA about controversies - hate can be something of a drug, something you enjoy doing. Deep down, people like to hate things, even if they don't know about it, and Bay and Kim are massively easy targets... like, you literally can't miss them. They have this idea that their hate is "righteous"... and justifiable. But when I look upon Kim, I don't find her to be vile or repulsive. I just don't find her hateful. I'm indifferent over her: whoever wants to watch her, watch her. You're not going to become more intelligent or smart - let alone "right" - because you hate her, given what she does.



When it comes to politics, few figures can be more hated than The Man. Specially if his is The Man of the most powerful nation in the world: the President of the United States. Figures in power can't help but to be hated: people like to imagine such figures as holders of power, and that any rebel yell of the little man is pointless against their power. George W. Bush is the most hated American president I have ever seem in my whole life: while Barack Obama's detractors are vocal and in-your-face, George's haters are so usual and so all-around that it would seem actually ill-advised to apologise for what he has done. It seems like the norm to hate George, and that criticizing Obama is reduced to "right-wing whine", which demerits people who genuinely have valid criticisms of his presidency but are caught in between mindless hatred. The difference between the hatred that both presidents receive is that George is hated for his actions, while Obama is hated for what he represents: the quintessential liberal democrat. For sure that many of the haters are secret (or not so secret) racists, but many genuinely hate Obama for this idea that he represents the "wrong side" in power.

In my last post, I talked about religion and, naturally, its opposition. You have to understand the nature of religion: it is, in most of its cases, about introducing a set of morals and answers that cannot be contested, with the promise that there is a loving figure waiting for you in the other side. You can't say a word, because those are the words by God. And God - as the most powerful figure in the universe - can't be contested in any way. This leaded to an intellectual revolt, and some people started to go on their own ways: their non-religion is actually sacred for them. They are proud for their situation, and they look to religion with indifference... or hatred. Probably nothing in our contemporaneous world is more visual than organized religions, and the hate that they get is based on how such religions became business, opposing to rationality and pandering to easy answers, avoiding intellectual evolution. But one thing that I have noticed is that some religions - like Catholicism - are evolving with modern times, becoming closer with modern mindsets. Some hardcore non-theists respect and even love Pope Francis, given how he wants to approximate Catholicism to the rest of the world. Specially when he speaks against Global Warming and people's indifference towards it. Attitudes like such help to bring religions closer to the 21st century societies, but to some people, religions will always be the enemy, no matter how sugar-coated with modern concepts they are.

In pop culture, it's very easy to hate those popular musicians of our day and age who are famous basically for being products, rather than for their talents. Clear examples of that are the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Those are celebrities from the pop world who are more famous for, well, being famous than for their sound. So much so that we don't even talk about their music when we talk about them: we talk about their appeal. However, I've always imagined myself to be indifferent in relation to such acts: if I like good music and other people don't, why to waste my time telling others what to like? Most of these people are just going to grow out of such musicians, like internet memes that got old. However, this power to ignore seems to be beyond some emotive people, who engage in quests in YouTube to shame fans of such acts. In their minds, they are making a favour to the world of music, like righteous (keyboard) warriors in a quest to get the world free of smut, passionate and fearless (it makes me think about how their social lives might be). But what these bravest warriors don't seem to understand is that good music is not going to die because of some mediocre acts. This is something that I've been saying for a long time: to suggest music is going to succumb because of such artists is to suggest music is weak in the first place, and it needs such defenders... which is a ridiculous line of thought. Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are not going to be erased because of the Pussycat Dolls... if anything, one's awfulness will only point out the greatness of the other. About such musicians of our day and age, I like to form a theory that I call "the Nickelback Theory", which is when some people brand something as hateful, and many other people - with little experience with such acts or no real opinions over them - start to enact on such feelings in order to "fit in" with the rest, not to be seem as stupid. I'm indifferent over many of these musicians, and ultimately, so is many of the people who proclaim their hatred over them in the internet: they don't hate them because of a genuine emotion, but because that's a trend.



I've also been saying this of Michael Bay: the ultimate target to those who want to hate someone in order to prove something about themselves. He's yet another very powerful example of someone being hated for supposedly representing some sort of cultural poison. A long time ago - 2012 to be precise -, I've said that if we all understand what people like Bay does, cinema will never be in danger. It is true that the quality of cinema is not as strong as it was in the 70's, but this is not so much Bay's fault as it is from this idea that films in general - even Oscar-bait - don't have to be all perfect to be embraced as modern masterpieces. It people perceived what Bay - and the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber - does as good, instead of just pleasant for certain crowds, THEN I would agree that this is wrong. Once we have our general concept of "goodness" and "quality" distorted, then we can considerer that a threat to culture. Nevertheless, the outspoken hate that Bay gets, although covered with a coat of righteousness, feels silly to say the least, since these people do not take such facts into full consideration before pushing their opinions, such as the difference between "quality" and "enjoyment". They can't accept his movies are so popular, even if (again) "Revenge of the Fallen" is not going to destroy great films that have been made.

But make no mistakes: even genuine greatness has haters. I have seen them actually. I'm a "Blade Runner" fan, so you can know I've seen a lot of hate and disapproval towards that too, like someone saying it's overrated, and someone else replying "oh, thank you!". The idea behind this particular kind of hate - the "it's overrated!" kind of hate - is that everyone is wrong, that everybody got it wrong. They profess their hate or disapproval like some sort of badge of bravery, imagining themselves not as trolls, but people who "don't blindly follow conventions and can think for themselves": a genuine right of theirs (and don't get me started on Christopher Nolan). The thing however is that generally speaking, when you have classic acts that endure through time, it's because they reached a level of reference that spawns from generations. This can be a certificate of genuine greatness, a proof this is indeed deserving of being referenced. It's not like the movies and bands from our day and age that win tons of awards and are soon forgotten to make way for the next big thing, as we live in a time when genuinely great and enduring arts only come forwards sporadically (and again: this is not Michael Bay's fault). But that is not to say perennial approval is an infallible synonymous of greatness, as some great acts can be forgotten for not getting the promotion they deserved, for being too much associated with one hit (Australian band The Church and the great Swiss duos Double and Yello) or due to their humble beginnings without being properly noticed by the mainstream (I immediately think of Thin Lizzy). Also, some classic movies or bands may get more praise than what their merits are, and history can be forgiving of their flaws due to their general values.

I'll finish this essay where I began: we all are in our right to hate and to love, and things that are popular are decidedly more prone to be hated than anything that is not so popular. The Rule 19 of the Internet even states that "the more you hate it, the stronger it gets". In fact, something that is incredibly hated can't help but to be incredibly popular, as I'm pretty aware more people in the world know who Adolf Hitler was over Carl Sagan. And sometimes, we are part of a group of haters without realizing it: we may even picture ourselves as "truthers", as people who are now perceived as wrong or even jealous, but that will be taken into serious consideration in the future, like the people who were opposing "Ordinary People" winning Best Picture over "Raging Bull" back in 1980. But we rarely picture ourselves as "haters" in the internet sense of the world, for this would be a prejudicial, bad, and impolite word, even if accurate. Some people like to go for the word "ranters", for this is a less loaded word, when it's basically the same.



Hating is part of human nature, even if it can be irrational.

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TheDrifterWithin
Brazil
I'm a graduate in Cinema and I enjoy writing screenplays, editing and taking pictures of unique moments. I also do some mediocre drawings. I like studding economical and political subjects, drifting across my city, and keeping up with my football team Flamengo.

My favourite visual artists
Norman Rockwell; M.C. Escher; Roy Lichtenstein; Andy Warhol; Stephen Wiltshire; Bob Ross; S. Neil Fujita; Maitena Burundarena; Shepard Fairey; Will Eisner; Scott Adams; Bill Watterson; Tim Kreider; Frank Miller; Charles Schulz; Robert Crumb; Marjane Satrapi; Banksy; Lauren Child; Jamie Hewlett; Eddie Campbell; Philippe Chappuis; Hergé.

My favourite films
Blade Runner; Midnight Cowboy; Brazil; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Apocalypse Now; Spirited Away; Akira; Toy Story; Babe; Das Boot; All About My Mother; Y Tu Mama Tambien; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; The Sting; The Matrix; Taxi Driver; Manhattan; Reservoir Dogs; The Wild Bunch; Lawrence of Arabia; Koyaanisqatsi; The Big Lebowski; Chariots of Fire; Young Frankenstein; Amélie; Gandhi; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Three Colours: Blue; Mad Max 2; The Exorcist.

My favourite albums
-2Pacalypse Now - 2Pac
-Angel Dust - Faith No More
-Autobahn - Kraftwerk
-Avalon - Roxy Music
-Black Widow - Lalo Schifrin
-Billion Dollar Babies - Alice Cooper
-Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary - Vangelis
-Breakfast in America - Supertramp
-A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio
-Chill Out - Black Uhuru
-Combat Rock - The Clash
-Debut - Björk
-Dirty Mind - Prince
-Discipline - King Crimson
-Discovery - Daft Punk
-The Doors - The Doors
-From Chaos - 311
-From Here to Eternity - Giorgio Moroder
-Give Me The Night - George Benson
-Heyday - The Church
-The Hurting - Tears For Fears
-I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
-Incesticide - Nirvana
-Innervisions - Stevie Wonder
-Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy
-Kill 'Em All - Metallica
-Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
-Let My Children Hear Music - Charles Mingus
-Look Sharp! - Joe Jackson
-Marquee Moon - Television
-Moon Safari - Air
-The Music From Peter Gunn - Henry Mancini
-Natty Dread - Bob Marley & The Whalers
-Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols
-Nouvelle Vague - Nouvelle Vague
-Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
-Offramp - Pat Metheny Group
-Oxygène - Jean Michel Jarre
-Paranoid - Black Sabbath
-The Piper at The Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd
-Play Deep - The Outfield
-Please Please Me - The Beatles
-Porgy and Bess - Miles Davis
-Pretty Hate Machine - Nine Inch Nails
-Pyromania - Def Leppard
-Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
-Ramones - Ramones
-Rocks - Aerosmith
-Selected Ambient Works 85-92 - Aphex Twin
-Stink - The Replacements
-Street Songs - Rick James
-Super Trouper - ABBA
-Swordfishtrombones - Tom Waits
-Tango in The Night - Fleetwood Mac
-Taxi Driver - Bernard Hermann
-Ten - Pearl Jam
-Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division
-Violator - Depeche Mode
-The Voice - Bobby McFerrin
-You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic - Ian Hunter
-Zenyatta Mondatta - The Police

My favourite TV shows
Married With Children; Spitting Image; Step by Step; Full House; South Park; Courage, The Cowardly Dog; Regular Show; Gravity Falls; Flight of The Conchords; Top Gear; True Detective; Seinfeld; Oz; The Wire; Real Time With Bill Maher; Cosmos: A Personal Voyage; The Decalogue; Boston Public; Moonlighting; Will & Grace; Fraiser; The Nanny; Punky Brewster.

My favourite books
The Little Prince; Animal Farm; 1984; The Lord of The Rings; The Jungle; The Jungle Book; From Hell; Watchmen; Fight Club; In Cold Blood; Sex, Drugs & Magick.

My favourite authors
George Orwell; Rudyard Kipling; J.R.R. Tolkien; Robert Anton Wilson; Humberto Fontova; Sam Harris; Truman Capote; Philip K. Dick; Eric Hobsbawm; George Bernard Shaw; Alan Moore.

My favourite games
Team Fortress 2; SimCity 4; Hotline Miami; Half-Life; Max Payne; Grand Thief Auto: San Andreas; Limbo; Flight Simulator X; Borderlands 2; Forza Horizon 2; Need For Speed Underground 2; L.A. Noire; BioShock Infinite; Dead Space; Banjo-Tooie; Mirror's Edge; Euro Truck Simulator 2; Brothers; Batman: Arkham City.

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:iconamanda4quah:
amanda4quah Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you for joining the Top Gear Fan Club :) We look forward to seeing your works!
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:iconthedrifterwithin:
TheDrifterWithin Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015
Don't mention it: you're welcome.
:D
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:iconfitzoblong:
FitzOblong Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
Thanks for the :+fav: . :icondweebdanceplz:
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:iconthedrifterwithin:
TheDrifterWithin Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
You're welcome, Fitz.
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:iconallentowndarkwater:
AllentownDarkWater Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
There is a God in Heaven after all! Sorry, I wanted to leave a comment on your journal entry, but the comments were disabled. I HATE the Nostalgia Critic too. He's so annoying and more than half of what he bashes doesn't deserve it! And another thing I hate is when people who do like him read my posts about how I don't like him and attack me and say shit like I have no right to say negative things about him. I hate Spoony and Linkara too. You sir are okay in my book! :)
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