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On the Merits of Being a Hater

Daniel Sidman

My wife frequently tells me I am a hater. I hate too hard and too frequently. I can’t deny

it. Because of my habitual hateration, Mary J. Blige would never need me at her dancery. I spend too much time intentionally listening to podcasts and perusing Instagram posts that I know will get my blood boiling. Seeking out the Twitter accounts of people whose political views I find distasteful. But anything worth doing is worth doing well. I take no half measures in life.


We live in a world where there is so much to hate. Leibniz writes that we live in the best

of all possible worlds, but I would side with Schopenhauer, that other more cynical of German

philosophers, who writes that we live in a world so bad that if it were any worse, it would cease

to function altogether. In light of the circumstances we have been thrust into, hating is the logical

choice. From hangnails to shitty drivers to hemorrhoids, there is no shortage of things to kvetch

about in this unremitting vale of tears.


Hating is functional. Sure, I could be propelled forward by bonhomie, but I find much

more fuel in drawing upon a bottomless well of ire. The number I’ve days I’ve gone through

propelled by little other than sheer animus, the number of days I’ve passed fueled ever onward

by little other than the internal refrain of “I’ll show you.” The amount of vengeful cleaning I’ve

accomplished, incited by a roommate who refused to take out the trash.


Art also instructs us that spleen is the superior muse. Think of all the great music that has

been inspired by ire: “Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette,

everything by the band Hatebreed. In contrast, what great songs have stemmed from more

sanguine emotions? “Happy,” Pharrell’s cloying paean to positivity?


Think of all of the great films and works of literature in which characters are driven by

hate: Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill, John Wick in John Wick.


Hating is also more humorous than loving. Case in point: Larry David is funny, but Mr.

Rogers is not.


Think of all the great haters throughout history. From Attila the Hun to Oscar the Grouch,

history has largely been the story of famous haters. Einstein hated space-time so much that he

decided to warp it. Moses hated the Red Sea so much that he decided to part it. Shakespeare

hated prose so much that he wrote only in rhyme.


To be fair, this is not an endorsement of bigotry, which I also hate, but rather an argument

for the merits of a more saturnine and salty disposition. The world needs more haters to balance

out people of a more Panglossian perspective. We need haters to add a piquant dash of healthy

hateration and skepticism to the gumbo of goodwill.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Daniel on Twitter. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to the Equality For Flatbush, Daniel’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'On the Merits of Being a Hater’ in the style of Louis Wain, Daniel's artist of choice.*

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