Ahh… Time for our daily hate-watch. Photo courtesy of Pexels.
AIDAN HARPER SMITH | OPINION COLUMNIST | email@example.com
Alright, I’ll say it: hating is so much fun. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about actual hate — like the fascist kind — rather pointing to that sweet tongue and cheek criticism that we all apply, especially when it comes to media.
I would consider myself a rather non-judgmental person but when it’s the weekend, and my friends put on a bad show or movie, I start hate-watching like no other. There is something so incredibly fun about ripping into a character on the TV. Don’t dare ask me what I thought about Disney’s “Ashoka” and how it further denigrates “Star Wars” by flattening once-exciting characters for a cash grab. That’s a different article.
This kind of hate is something that is unique to our modern age. There is an overwhelming amount of media constantly surrounding us, begging for our attention. Views have become insanely valuable to corporations, and they know just how to get it. We play right into their hands, by craving media that is hateable.
With a healthy dose of Butler liberal arts, teaching more questioning and more critical thinking, suddenly you have a cynical population ripe for viewing anything because even something awful can be entertaining.
But cynicism in a vacuum doesn’t just give us a taste for tasteless media. There are conditions in which this way of thought is given strength: frustration. Butler students are no strangers to frustration; we have classes, extracurriculars, jobs and complicated social lives that stack up.
So, in order to put this frustration somewhere productive, we can do many things. Some students work out, some students meditate, and some students hate-watch. It can feel so good to take that bad grade, that manager yelling at you or that deadline and put it into some carefully crafted cynicism.
I have said things about people on Love Island that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. I can’t help but channel my frustration into those beautiful idiots. That frustration also applies to sports, which can be hate-watched with vigor. Trust me.
Junior finance and accounting double major Carson Caudillo shares my affinity for hating out of frustration.
“I am a primary hate watcher of reality TV and sports,” Caudillo said. “Part of it is the content, but also the people I’m around enjoy hate-watching, so the bond formed over hating on [reality TV and sports] together is really fun. It might not be healthy [though].”
This phenomenon isn’t just present in how we watch TV, but in how we consume all media. I challenge you to go to an NBA comment section on Instagram and find a comment without an argument underneath it. Being cynical or argumentative about something as trivial as sports can be a way people take their anger out. Anytime someone in a comment section calls you something horrible for saying Lebron is the GOAT, just know they aren’t yelling at you, they’re yelling at their boss or their friends who won’t give them a break.
Junior finance major Austin Moss feels that the abundance of online haters makes this kind of criticism less meaningful.
“In a way, with how much hate there is [on social media, the absurdity] diminishes the hate,” Moss said. “So many people are hateful that if you do something, you’re automatically gonna get at least some hate about it. So it makes it matter less.”
This oversaturation can make it easier to brush off the negativity, as there is an expectation of hate in every comment section. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum — where I unfortunately find myself — the oversaturation of hate almost makes it addicting. I’ve noticed I’ll open Instagram comments and look specifically for that hate comment. It’s almost like I want my hit of anger.
Junior English and philosophy double major Violet Ross has her own struggles with this addiction.
“Hate comments have just been boosted massively in the Instagram algorithm,” Ross said. “I’ve had to steer myself away from it. But there are days where I just open comment threads and just scroll [to] find the most insane people, and sometimes I respond and then sometimes I get way too wrapped up in just response after response to this person who’s probably 12 years old.”
It’s certainly hard to try and control our cynicism when it seems everyone else is off the leash. The more extreme and hateful a thing is, the more attention it gets on social media. It is all a ruse to get as much viewership as possible for ad revenue.
But, we control our own viewership. There are things we can do to mitigate this hateful arena. We can be aware of our frustrations, and try to channel them into more productive things, such as creative endeavors or mixed martial arts.
I don’t think hating on reality TV in particular is necessarily a bad thing, as long as you aren’t hating someone specific. On social media in particular, real people can be directly impacted, though it might not seem like it. Even as the internet and TV grants us anonymity, we should pretend like we are looking into the eyes of whatever ridiculous username we are arguing. The most important thing to do while hating is to be mindful that the media elite want you to be cynical, as it puts more money in their pockets. Don’t play into their hands — and I know I’m the pot calling the kettle black — but try to hate less, Bulldogs.