We Live in a Culture of Hate – And If You “Hate” a Celebrity… You are Part of the Problem

taylor-swift-2014-grammy-awards

I’ve been thinking this for awhile now, I think a lot of it is amplified by the internet and social media assisting people in becoming meaner or more opinionated than they would be face to face, but I’m not entirely sure.  What I am becoming more and more certain of though, is that I feel as though we are living in a culture of hate – particularly in the U.S.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still many good, wonderful people – but I think even some of the best people fall prey to this attitude our society has adopted though, especially when it comes to things we see or read on the internet… and how we subsequently react to them by voicing our opinions on liking or disliking people we really know nothing at all about, and have never even met. 

In other words, instead of treating them with the kindness we generally show strangers we would meet in person, we (as Gwyneth Paltrow – a woman who is seriously hated – said) “dehumanize” people online.  Its bullying plain and simple, and it is something we should be trying to move away from in society.  Paltrow was right.  And guess what?  Because she said that it is dehumanizing like men who engage in war have to do to their enemies, she was criticized and torn apart even more for the fact that she chose to mention war – how dare she!!!! 

For people who understood what she meant, that its the same kind of dehumanization that allows for people to view others as “non-human,” we totally got it.  For others, who just wanted something else to be angry and spew hatred at, the message of bullying and dehumanization was lost in translation.

 

I read a comment this morning that Taylor Swift wrote, herself, on a fan’s facebook page who was dealing with bullying at her school… this is not the first time she’s done something like this, she is genuinely someone who loves and cares about people she’s NEVER EVEN MET, something a lot of us nobodies could learn a lot from.

Many people hate Taylor Swift… and I literally mean many many people hate this young woman.  They might mask it with saying that they really just “don’t like her,” or that they “hate her voice,” but the ugly, dehumanizing comments and carefully gilded over negative “opinions” don’t pass.

Its one thing when a public figure does something reprehensible – something that truly points to their having bad character – that you decide you don’t like about them, and its another when we just decide to hate strangers for trivial reasons.

Taylor’s comment:

 

Reading this made me so sad because I love seeing you in your videos and photos being so happy and wide eyed, like the world isn’t as harsh and unfair as it actually is. I hate thinking about your pretty face covered in tears, but I know why you’re crying because I’ve been in your place. This isn’t a high school thing or an age thing. It’s a people thing. A life thing. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t end or change. People cut other people down for entertainment, amusement, out of jealousy, because of something broken inside them. Or for no reason at all.

It’s just what they do, and you’re a target because you live your life loudly and boldly. You’re bright and joyful and so many people are cynical. They won’t understand you and they won’t understand me. But the only way they win is if your tears turn to stone and make you bitter like them. It’s okay to ask why. It’s okay to wonder how you could try so hard and still get stomped all over. Just don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song.

You’re going into high school this week and this is your chance to push the reset button on how much value you give the opinion of these kids, most of whom have NO idea who they are. I’m so proud of you and protective of you because you DO. If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.

Every time someone picks on me, I’ll think of you in the hopes that every time someone picks on you, you’ll think of me… and how we have this thread that connects us. Let them keep living in the darkness and we’ll keep walking in the sunlight.

Forever on your side, Taylor.

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6 thoughts on “We Live in a Culture of Hate – And If You “Hate” a Celebrity… You are Part of the Problem

  1. I keep hearing about the hateful blogging, but I have not seen it myself and I do not approve people as internet friends unless I view their blog and determine they attitude in life and writing.

    I am sure it exists or you would not be writing about it. It is such a terrible thing to do. We do not do that in person, but I guess being anonymous on the internet lets those so inclined to act ugly as my mother called it.

  2. I think you’re right in that it must have to do with a person’s overall attitude. Its honestly fascinating to me that people can form such intense opinions on people they’ve never met (or have lost touch with and only have “contact” with over viewing their social media).

    Its really interesting to me… and I wonder why some people are like that (hell bent to think negatively of a person they don’t know). Now that Paltrow has had a divorce, her haters can pinpoint a “real” reason to dislike her (even though they usually hated her long before… the divorce gave them rationalization).

    The Taylor Swift example is very strange to me… she’s never done anything “bad” or ugly, so its interesting to watch different people’s reaction to her. I’ve seen a totally Christian, normally very accepting, non-judgmental, kind, loving mom actually say online that she really didn’t like Taylor Swift – that she thought Swift couldn’t be as nice as she tried to seem to be.

    I’m like… how can one tell that about a random celebrity? From life experience, I’ve had people tell me that I seemed snobby (and they told me this after we were close friends… its happened more than once), they are super surprised that I’m not like that at all.

    So its weird to see people all around making pre-conceived judgments of everyone. Maybe its based on how one looks? I have no idea…. 🙂

  3. I received a hateful comment on my instagram this week from a total stranger. At first it really bothered me and then I just had to let it go. Hate often comes from fear of the unknown or from trying to knock someone down for finding happiness. I feel bad for all the haters out there…

  4. I’m sorry you had a hateful comment. Its crucial to let it go! I’ve received a few hateful comments before on this blog (all from one stranger though), and it was really shocking to feel the emotions of rage and hatred behind their words. It was scary in a way… and I definitely felt “dehumanized” because otherwise how could someone say those things to another person?

    I think hate can be incremental, and sometimes only be for the purpose of causing a person pain (rather than because of jealousy or fear of the unknown… those too, but also just for sadistic pleasure). Its basis is evil in that they have no empathy – they choose to dehumanize someone – but that’s the far end of it… there are much less noticeable forms that are just merely a hateful glare, a snide or cruel comment, or making a joke at someone else’s expense. Its really interesting to me, and yes, I DO feel sorry for people like this, they are not capable of finding true peace and happiness within themselves.

  5. “People hate what they can’t have”. This is one piece of sage wisdom I have learned after many years of using the Internet and from other online experiences like MMO games or notorious imageboards like (Four)chan. I also like to reference a really good example and quote from Light Yagami of the cult-classic dark anime Death Note, in which he pretty sums up saying, “People in public will try hard to preserve themselves as much as possible, but on the Internet where they can remain anonymous,… this is what they’re REALLY thinking.” I personally think most of these “haters” are just plain cowards, for which I sadly find myself guilty of being one at times. The Internet has been and will always be a digital playground for bullies. It really brings out the worst in you, thanks to hiding behind the power of anonymity, having no fear of the consequences except for possible retaliation from other bullies, and a sick feeling of self-gratification for spewing venomous hate at someone at the expense of crushing their feelings. It is pretty much purely disgusting. I remember hearing a story about a few countries like South Korea and Great Britain wanting to pass laws to assign Internet users with a unique serial number while browsing about online so that they cannot hide behind anonymity.

  6. I agree with what you said. I think it’s fine to have an opinion and be disgusted at something – its freedom of speech. But to attack an actual person – based on only a few details isn’t good. Attacking an idea, yea… people, no….

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