Years after the last time I ever attended Sunday School, I finally got over the idea that I could make Jesus mad.
By now, I'm fairly certain that nothing I do causes tornadoes, and also that the Son of God would totally stay up late to watch dirty shows on basic cable if he'd been alive in the early 1990s.
But the fact remains that I was raised with the idea of Easily Disappointed Jesus, and I happen to have an overactive imagination. Thus, I still find myself making mental bargains based on some nebulous metaphysical ledger of all the bad things I do. These days, it often involves my shameful habit of reading gossip blogs.
Like, "If I get this job, I promise I will never look at People Magazine's STAR TRACKS again." Or, "Why is my ceiling leaking? My sister sent me that picture of Kate Winslet! WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW GREAT SHE LOOKED.'"
Or, "Is that man on the train masturbating? Please don't let him be masturbating. If he's masturbating and he doesn't fling anything on me, I will immediately close the mobile version of D-Listed on my phone, even though Tina Fey said she reads it before work, too."
If you're like me, you only look at this stuff for the pretty dresses or photographs of Danzig carrying kitty litter to his car. You probably also recognize that as an industry, tabloid journalism is rural highway truckstop bathroom sludge. Especially the kind that actively encourages us to "hate" the people in it.
Let's take a look at this admittedly fascinating chart of twenty celebrities and why we hate them. The list of "Most Hated Celebrities" on which it is based comes from "Star" magazine, a fun publication dedicated to tirelessly exposing the figure flaws of attractive wealthy strangers.
But WHY? As my beloved Maureen O'Connor theorizes over at The Cut: Hating celebrities is obviously a cherished online activity, but why do we do it? Are we projecting anxiety? Attacking symbols? Bullying? To more precisely understand the phenomenon, I considered the most loathsome attributes of each celebrity. I found that each fit into one of three overlapping categories: Tries Too Hard, Doesn't Try Hard Enough, and Crimes Against Other Celebrities.
I'd like to add the categories of "Makes more money than I do," "Gets a lot of attention," "Has had sex with a someone famous I myself would like to have sex with" and "Is very pretty." Although, Jessica Chastain is most of these things and I challenge anybody who isn't totally dazzled by her*.
True, there are people on the "Star" list who just don't seem very nice. My mom would still take issue with me saying that I "hate" Chris Brown, especially since I've never met him. She would much rather me say something about how I dislike his behavior, or how poorly he presents himself as an example to others.
In fairness, I have never met him, but I "dislike" his behavior and as an example to others, he sure "presents himself" as a real wad of flung train cum.
The phrasing is the real issue I have then. Is it so much to decide to stop saying we "hate" people all together? Even the ones we reeeeeeeeally dislike for being wealthy, or having fake accents, or telling us too much about their juice cleanses?
It's easy and even fun to say unkind things about people we don't know, especially when they have sick cars and great hair. Remember when I called Chris Brown a wad of cum just then? I loved that! It was not nice, but it was fun for me is what I'm saying.
But! I'm often surprised at the very smart, emotionally intelligent people I know who will casually throw around "hate." Let's stop doing that, please. It creeps me out. And as the man once said, "I do not think it means what you think it means."
We don't hate these people. We are irritated by them, usually, which is fine. It is totally cool to be irritated by somebody. But let's not make it a thing we expend energy or act on in any way. Hate is scary, friends! It's not called "irritated crime" or "annoyed speech" for a reason.
One of the things I like most about writing here is Jane's policy of not being mean to celebrities. Some people think that's because we like having sex with them, and those people would be right. I mean, in theory, at least. Count me right out of anything that even hypothetically gets in the way of me fucking a famous person. And yes, I realize how much ass I'm eating by writing this paragraph. But you know what? I'd rather have ass in my mouth than hate in my heart.
That's not to say I've never "snarked" on anybody. I've worked in "lifestyle" journalism in various unsavory capacities and I'm a human being. (Mostly -- I still have part of a permanent retainer on my lower teeth I never got removed.)
But as I've aged both professionally and personally, I've become exhausted by the idea of hating anybody. It's just too much energy. It is bad for you. It will make you feel bad, and it makes other people feel bad. Such is the nature of hating.
So when I feel myself feeling something negative about a person on television or the cover of an "In Touch," I try to take a deep, cleansing breath and remember that while Kim Kardashian's TV programs are Not For Me in myriad ways, I did like her tip about Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I scar up like a Romanov on the Toronto Maple Leafs, and let me tell you, if you ever want to go nylon-free and look like you just waltzed off the set of "Baywatch," give this stuff a whirl. Thanks, Kim K!
See? Bad feelings out, good feelings in, zero energy expended.
It's fine to be irritated! But there are some vulgar and strong emotions that well-adjusted, healthy people should just generally try to avoid feeling and putting out in the world.
The Buddha once said, "Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us. Among men who hate us, let us dwell free from hatred." I like to think that if he'd lived today, he would have added, "Stop being such a bunch of dick veins to Anne Hathaway. Jesus Christ." Also, he totally would have loved Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.
*I mean this entirely literally, if you don't like Jessica Chastain, I will seriously fight you.