Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate

I recently read an amazing article by Meghan Daum at The Believer examining the exploding phenomenon of the hater. It stuck with me, and I’ve been working it around in the back of my mind.

Then I read a blog post at a very popular and informative publishing blog by a woman who’s recently become a hater. Most haters only have the ability to comment and tear apart something else, but sometimes they create original content.

I remember the first time this blogger drank the haterade. Getting the same question from a bunch of thick-headed writer friends, she flipped and wrote an angry post. She seemed genuinely nervous about it. Then I’m guessing it got a ton of hits, and got a ton of positive feedback of the “Set ‘em straight give ‘em hell!” sort, because basically every post since has had a healthy dose of hate in it. Meaning, you do it her way or you’re an idiot and she wants to hit you.

Hey, I’ve hit people for a living (as a bouncer) and for fun (as a kickboxer). I have no problem with people who enjoy hitting people. But I can also identify them, and in this case it helped me spot a fake hater.

Likewise, I’m not against those who pose their opinion in very black-and-white fashion. My very favorite publishing industry blog is Nick Mamatas’, who seems to be unable to write an essay without every other sentence being flame bait. The fun part is watching him effortlessly back it all up such that most sane people don’t even attempt an argument with him.

But unless you’re particularly awesome with your aggressive stance, what happens isn’t that you convince more people. Instead, you invoke the response “Haters gonna hate.”

I liked this writer’s blog. It’s one of the most informative publishing industry blogs I’ve ever read, and I always thought she was a sharp shooter even before the silly ranting. Before the ranting, I took her opinions seriously. Now, I’m immediately set against the hostility. My wife has seen this tendency in me in public, and calls it “getting all puffy.” She regularly tells me not to get puffy when someone bumps into us or are otherwise rude.

So anyway, feeling antagonized, I go into a combative mindset. That’s fine, but I also become dismissive, because if one thing is constant, it’s that haters are gonna hate. They don’t need a valid reason, and you can’t spend your energy considering what they say or arguing with them, because it’s endless.

I mean, even death and taxes are avoidable if you’re rich enough. But no matter what, haters gonna hate.

I don’t remember where, but I recently read an analysis of how the “haters gonna hate” mentality can keep people from critically examining a valid opinion. But I’m not going to filter the sludge of hate to find the rare valuable opinion, so my takeaway from that is don’t be a hater if you want to transmit information. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just want to rant and even piss people off. But if you want to convince people, other approaches might be better.

I’m gonna be CRAZY busy for the next bit. I’m hoping this blog and StreamingHorror.net don’t fall completely by the wayside for the next two months, but I can’t say for sure. So don’t count me out if you don’t hear from me!

Paper editions are out!

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