Constantly Hating: The Year of the Hater

Eli separates the real haters from the fake.

Art by Tyler Farmer.

Hating is so back. Fundamentally, it stems from a basic human instinct: the protection and advancement of ego. But we live in an era of constant PR, tireless marketing, and exhaustive advertising, thrust upon us no matter how much we try to unplug. Being a hater, then, is a reaction to this, a proclamation against conforming to the narrow cultural norms being drip-fed through algorithms.

However, the hating market itself has recently been flooded with takes, screeds, denouncement and unabashed pettiness, exemplified best by two hip-hop titans. The seismic conflict between Drake and Kendrick Lamar has shifted the metric by which we measure hating. First it was a test drive, then a tête-à-tête, then catapulting barbs, before finally resulting in the metaphorical Little Boy and Fat Man combo Kendrick unleashed onto an awestruck public. To have your beef spill over so far that parents and grandparents are inquiring about what exactly happened is devastating, with a man’s reputation becoming torn asunder in the process. 

The rage curdling in this beef seems to have penetrated the culture at large, and with it, so too have examples of misshapen, banal hating. If you were to take the New York Times as gospel, you’d get the impression that Hate Read is the crème de la crème of hating. A party report at the River in Chinatown described the Substack’s pieces as a “call back to the juicy blogging style of a bygone era,” with the credentialed readers gleefully spewing their annoyances and gripes about fast walkers, doodles and other mundanities to a rapt audience.

In a funny twist of fate, hundreds on Twitter dunked on the dunking, clocking the Hate Read essays as spineless and unfunny. And the ever-excellent ock sportello took them to task in “The Hate-Read Crisis,” an essay sumptuously hitting the bullseye: “The idea that this is all a put-on is, by my read, more generous than the alternative, one in which writers feel it is too personally and professionally risky to critique Miley Cyrus or climbing gyms.”

In a similar vein, the prescient @unclehaver tweeted, “True haters have an important function in culture: they test your love for the hated artist or artefact. I really believe that if you can’t stand to see someone hate a thing you love, that means you doubt your own love.”

I am both jealous that I didn’t post this and grateful someone was able to perfectly articulate this sentiment. When zoomers cooked me for enjoying the Kim Gordon record, it was a healthy type of pushback that forces you to examine your own biases and evaluate why you truly like or dislike something. 

As we enter June, we must naturally ask: Who is the hater of the summer? My nomination goes to the pseudonymous Abe Beame for his “ode” to Karl-Anthony Towns. I understand the backlash to this piece, wherein the writer unpacks why he thinks the Timberwolves star is “the most annoying guy in the NBA.” It is vitriolic, snide, petty and downright mean. It is also a truly excellent bit of hating, full-throttle and utterly merciless, taking aim at a person who by all accounts is a really nice guy.

Fuck that though, sports is the medium where your irrational hatred of someone is both encouraged and completely harmless. Rudy Gobert gets hella shit from people vastly more famous than Beame and no one bats an eye. A multi-millionaire doesn’t need your help. 

Despite being Constantly Hating, I’m a certified lover. My capacity for hating stems from this. A loathing and indignation toward media that actively detracts from things that are glorious and unheralded. And therein lies how interesting hating can truly be. You have Kendrick on one side, sadistically personal in his attacks, relishing in his opponent’s downfall. While Beame is on the other side, hating for hating’s sake, not wishing for misfortune or harm but merely stating: “This guy stinks, huh?” New worlds are revealed within expressing hate. Let us explore all their delicious, malcontented pathologies.

3 thoughts on “Constantly Hating: The Year of the Hater”