“Love turns to indifference or disgust: hatred alone is immortal.”
― William Hazlitt, On the Pleasure of Hating
Don’t believe everything that all those happy, smiling, super positive people tell you. Don’t believe the preachers, the teachers, and the op-ed columnists. Hate is not a bad thing. It is actually great, if you know what you’re doing.
Just say it: “I hate you! I hate you!” Doesn’t that feel good? Like you’re getting something off your chest? Isn’t there someone you’ve been meaning to say this to?
Hate has a bad rap. All of the religions deride hate, as if they would banish it from the consciousness of all their adherents. (Right before they go out and stone y’all for apostasy or heresy!) Spiritual leaders, psychologists and medical professionals denounce hate, anger, resentment—just about any of the emotions involved in revolution.
Parents advise against it. The holiest absolutely hate hate. And almost nobody has a good thing to say about it. Even politicians and those who work in the field of politics condemn hatred, hate speech and hate mongers, despite the fact that generating and spreading hate is their principal occupation.
But media born hate is something else. It’s not what I’m getting at here. I’m not talking about ethnic or racial hatred, sex or gender based antipathies. I’m not talking about hate groups who hate other hate groups. I’m not talking politics. I’m talking about simple, human, person to person, one-on- one hatred.
I have found that hate works for me. It broadens my horizons. It focuses me. It offers me hope in the face of opposition and adversity. It entertains me in moments where I might otherwise give in to despair and self-doubt. Why hate yourself if you can have the right enemies, people you can genuinely oppose and feel superior to. Hate is self-affirming.
If your hate has the right moves, if it’s agile, if it’s intelligent, if it has flow then it’s good to go. Hate is simply about making the right response to those in the wrong.
You don’t have to get all worked up about hate. You can execute it with complete cool and control. Hate is portrayed as demented, irrational, all tensed up and cardiac arrest inducing. In fact hate can be easy and natural. It can be beautiful, rhythmical and lyrical. It can be liberatingly enjoyable. It can actually relax you. Hate heals.
The only tricky part is that hate only heals if it is righteous. You’ve got to be right. You have to have the right enemies. When it gets promiscuous hate is some ugly shit. Hate the pigheaded slob who wronged you. Hate the shifty, moral free climber who lied about you. Hate the slimy operators who have a similar ideology to cancer.
Jesus said “Love your enemies” and I know exactly what he meant. He meant enjoy them, savor them, and choose them with the greatest care. But Jesus imself, at his best, just kicks ass, whupping those money changers that he hates right out of the temple. Love your enemies? Are you kidding, J.C. kicked ass with those motherfuckers, and the Romans too. Dude was like Socrates with muscles. The only emotions that can bring true intensity and eloquence to our affairs are love and hate, but hate tends to inspire more complexity and depth. Love inspired beautiful poems. Hate inspire masterpieces. Inferno, Purgatorio, Macbeth, Paradise Lost.
One’s selection of enemies tells the world far more than one’s choice of friends. Your hate demonstrates where you draw the line—defining your own ethics and principles and ideals by the transgressions of others. Friends will cheer you up and help you pass the time but the right enemies will inspire you, make you take action and resort to extreme creativity. Don’t let the goodie goodies fool you, getting revenge on your enemies can bring you much joy and fulfillment.
Jesus also said to “turn the other cheek,” which I interpret not as “suffer in silence, it will be better in heaven,” but as “ignore the motherfuckers.”
The motherfuckers should be usually ignored until the very moment that your well crafted trap is sprung. I did not speak to someone formerly close for seventeen years until the I took over the business my nemesis had acquired through the darkest of maneouevers. Often people have trouble forgiving you for creating them.
Again, it is crucial to have the right enemies. It’s part of doing business, but an unspoken part. You’re not supposed to have enemies in the 21st century, except by political proxy. Instead of hating the people who actually fucked you up personally, you are persuaded to hate Obama, W., Putin, Berlusconi, whatever. Enemies are characters in a show staged by the controllers of corporate media and the political arena that stars in it.
In the realm of productive industries, whether they are defense contractors, fashion designers, or artists with big studios, basically everyone has nice things to say about just about everyone. This is because dislike, disapproval or any strong opinion might be taken as un-commercial and thus, in a corporate world, impolitic and most unwise. Let’s keep things as positive as we would have our cash flow be!
It was not always so. In New York in the fifties and sixties artists would gather at like the Cedar Tavern or Max’s Kansas City to discuss their work and the scene in general, drinking and slagging each other off, mixing aesthetics with alcohol, shaken not stirred. Sooner or later there would be a punch up, some barroom floor wrestling, followed by more drinking and then hugging. It was part of the esprit de corps of a creative time.
In the art world today people generally say only nice things, except of course those who are paid to serve as critics. Yet art criticism today seems less of an effort to find meaning than to provide sales materials for gallerists. Artists receive bad reviews not so much for the quality of their work, but to be put in their proper place in the commercial food chain.
In the fashion world there is basically no such thing as criticism, there is only promotion or the lack of it. It would be unthinkable for a fashion magazine today at any level to offer anything but praise to designers who advertise, or even the designers who one day might. Imagine the editor with the temerity to give Ralph Lauren a review.
Jesus did not say “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” He was not known for culinary metaphors. Apparently this adage is as old as the hills around Corleone, Sicilia. It ‘s Cosa Nostra adage and it means that revenge should never be entirely personal, the matter of a simple grudge or slight. At best revenge is a reflection of a higher ethics. It’s not personal, it’s business. Your enemy is someone who has done you wrong in business, violating the codes that preserve a modicum of respect. Cold hate is efficient, logical and doesn’t lead to half the problems of hot hate.
Sociopaths make intriguing enemies because they lack conscience or a moral sense. Backstabbers “smile in your face and all the while want to take your place.” Liars think that their fictional version might just make history, especially if they survive and/or kill off those in possession of the truth.
Richard Nixon was a great believer in enemies. You fucked with Richard Milhous Nixon and he was going to fuck you right back with the entire power of his office. His famous enemies list included 20 prominent Americans, including Paul Newman, the founder of the AmericanFilm Institute, and newsman Danielschorr that he proposed should be audited by the Internal Revenue Service. It later turned out that he had another such list with 576 names on it, but who knows how many enemies Richard Nixon really had? Perhaps they were like the grains of sand by the sea in San Clemente.
Andy Warhol’s famous diary was inspired in a way by Nixon’s vengeance. Warhol began keeping as a creative and fun way of keeping his tax records, after the artist was audited by the IRS following his famous Nixon print which featured the slogan “Vote McGovern.” In it he left behind a record of his own hates—some of them strong at times.
Today we talk about hate crimes and hate speech, but those things aren’t about real hate. You can’t hate someone because they are black or white, gay or straight, capitalist or socialist, Muslim or Jew. That is generalized hostility. Even internet haters don’t really hate; they are simply contemptuous, practicing scorn out of jealousy. What is usually referred to as hate isn’t hate at all but a sort of unfocussed generalization of negative: misanthtropy. Genuine hate is very specific and person to person.
Real hate only begins with friendship or love.
How many people can you really love in your life? I love dozens, maybe even hundreds. Perhaps I could love thousands if I were a king or serious boxoffice. I love love. I’m in love with love. Can’t get enough. But hate makes me work hard. It’s a stern taskmistress. It transmutes passion into action.
Hate is much more selective and intimate than love. I only really hate about five or six people and haven’t hated much more than that in a lifetime. Don’t worry. The people I hate know who they are. If you don’t know, then it ain’t you.
Of course there are dozens of people I hate on some level, but these are stranger who I only know of and about. I can’t really hate Dick Chaney because I have never looked him in the eye. To really hate someone it has to be personal. You practically have to have fucked the motherfucker. You must have once been intimate. Sexually hypnotized, mentally co-dependent, flaw enabling, an accident waiting to happen, over and over again. You were betrayed, denied, sold-out, thrown over, used. The hated is someone who misled you, misjudged you, misstated important info to you. Someone you mis-underestimated as George W. Bush would put it.
My top five personal hates—just a handful for a lifetime– are probably all persons whom psychologists might deem sociopaths. Persons essentially devoid of an actual conscience who have learned to simulate the missing conscience and other elaborate moral qualities through a lifetime of keen observation and brilliant performances. My enemy of longest standing is someone to whom I became inconvenient because I was instrumental in her success, and therefore a reminder that she wasn’t always one.
My enemies, the people I hate personally are all great liars. They are not only masters of flattery and deceit. They are actors strayed far from the stage into high level grifting. They are insane storytellers skilled in the fabrication of false histories for their rivals and potential victims. They are actors furiously and generically attacking us as if they were antibodies of the social immune system. These are the people whose faces flash through my minds when the O’Jays start singing: “They smile in your face, but all the time they want to take your place.”
Oh they don’t just want to take your place. They also have designs on your girl (especially if they’re complex lesbians and you’re a simplex hetero), your job (watch out for art directors with big appetites), your future, the idea for the novel…there’s no limit. They think they survive and grow by absorbing the ideas, the knowledge, the wisdom, the reputation, the very of others—the ones they adore and flatters and furiously despise for their success and superiority.
Liars are natural conspirators. They pledge to believe one another’s lies and claims, supporting gossip version that may be grossly at odds with the truth. Liars are interested in triumph and longevity. If they’re the last one out the door, they write the history. Don’t you hate that?
Well, hate is just a way of keeping an eye on the malefactors who wish us ill. You don’t want to turn your back on them. What do they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Some day one of the people who crossed you may be crossing the street in front of your German luxury sedan, crossing you against the light.