Don’t You HATE it?

This is the part of the blog when we reclaim words.  The word I want to reclaim here is “hate.”

Look, I hate my hair today — Sunday –  and I hated the way I felt this morning, with a sore throat and headache.  And I hated having to run first thing in the morning, but I did it in the hopes it would set things right which it didn’t.  So, I’ve set here through all of Sunday, feeling like a lump and hating it.

All of which is utterly wrong.  Hate as I understand it is as absorbing, as all-powerful, as charged an emotion as love.  People throughout history have had loves and hates.  And just as they wished to achieve bliss with/for their loved ones (depending on the type of love) they wished to DESTROY those they hate.

“Peace, I hate the very word, as I hate Hell, all Capulets and Thee” – Montagues and Capulets are all about the unreasoning hatred: strong all consuming, absorbing, and will be led by it inexorably to destroy or be destroyed.

Hate is a great emotion to use in a book, because it’s big, red and pulsing.  (Stop giggling.  Don’t make me come out there.)  It’s an all or nothing sort of emotion.  Of course, if that’s the only emotion you use in your book, it will be a diminished book.  As Agatha Christie said of Elsa Dittisham in Murder In Retrospect (aka Five Little Pigs) if all you know is hate and love, you’re not quite grown up.  Grown up human beings know emotions with more shadings.

I wonder what it means about us as a society that we’re now all “hate” or “love”?  Is it a result of that delayed adulthood that has been referenced here by various commenters?  Or the result of our being, more than any other society in the past, a society permeated by entertainment and story?  It’s not just that on the page emotions must be bigger than they’d be in real life – the same effect applies on screen, where most people experience their story telling and through which most people absorb their idea of how the world and human interaction should be.

I will confess right now that I have an odd relationship with visual entertainment.  I view it only as a palliative to the extreme boredom of a repetitive task that doesn’t engage my visual attention.  Blame it on my parents, who didn’t get a tv till I was 8, or perhaps on a genetic disposition, who knows.  (It’s a war wound, g’venor.  I took an arrow to the knee.)  So I can go for years without watching TV and then, either because some monumental task looms (usually ironing, which can go on for DAYS) or because I’m sick with the flu or something (the type of illness where one doesn’t feel like working but is tired of sleeping) I end up in front of the tv for a week or so, and catch up on years of potential watching (thank you Amazon Prime and Hulu.)

So, I have seen soap operas maybe twice in my life, and the second time shocked me more than the first.  The first time was when I was very new to the US and everything was strange.  The next time was ten years later, while talking to someone who had a soap opera on – and at that time what hit me was how odd the acting was.

I don’t know if any of you have thought of this, but Shakespeare, to feel “right” must be played at a frantic, exaggerated pace.  Then it matches the words and the emotions.  Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but words, gestures and even voice level, Soap Opera makes Shakespeare look as stayed as a whisper while sitting in church.

I suspect, though I haven’t check soap operas again to check, that some of that acting style has migrated to sitcoms and other shows.  (Of course, I only very occasionally watch those, either, but I seem to remember some joke about the exaggerated expressions of the lead actor in CSI Miami.)

And I suspect, raised in shows, with it permeating our consciousness to a level never before experienced in history, we’ve slid the scale right up.

Did I spend the day thinking how much I hated my hair?  Do I experience for my hair one of those emotions that will destroy one or the other of us?

Uh…  No.  I got up in the morning and was disappointed with how limp and odd it looked, and my attempts with a curling iron were fruitless and since I felt blah, I went “whatever.”  That’s the extent of my grand passion for my hair.

As with a lot of things I’d say I hated – beans, I hate… wait.  I might actually hate beans.  I just lack the ability to erradicate them from the world, and I’m aware innocent people would die if they disappeared, since they’re the diet base of various other American countries and I hear an excellent (if repulsive) source of protein. – I don’t actually hate them.  I dislike them.  They pain me.  They annoy me.

I don’t hate being stuck in traffic – it annoys me, though and puts me out of temper.  I didn’t hate the woman ahead of me on a one lane road, putting on her makeup and pressing the brake erratically.  Even if both of us stopped and I got out, I wouldn’t want to fight her to the death.  I might scream impolite things at her and tell her to stop being an idiot, but I never even got close enough to anger to want to slap her, much less kill her.  And once I was out from behind her (every single day on my way out of Manitou to drop the kids of at the school in Colorado Springs, the last year we lived in Manitou, why?) I didn’t think about her the rest of the day.  And now, ten years later, I remember her idiocy, but not her name, or even the color of her hair.  I don’t wish her ill.  I just wish someone would have taken her mascara wand away.

Are there things and people I hate?  I’m not sure.  Those people and things that put my family in danger, I dislike very intensely, but I don’t think I want to destroy them, just to stop them doing what they do.  Yes, in some cases that might mean killing them, in which case it must be done without regret or hesitation, but also, probably without hate.  Because in real life, you can see the motives of even the worst of people and with very rare exceptions, they’re not ALL evil.  (And on those rare exceptions, we tend to assume they’re crazy.  Which is silly, but it means they’ve gone that far beyond our scope.)

I don’t think I’m a particularly nice person.  And I don’t think I’m that unusual.  I don’t think most people go around consumed with hates and unreasoning passions that demand either they self-destruct or destruct the object of their obsessive negative passion.

A few, perhaps, but if you think about it, most of the people you know who could genuinely be said to hate someone aren’t people at all.  They’re characters in books or movies.  (And often – Shakespeare excepted – though note even in Romeo and Juliet that’s not the moving force of the main characters, rather of the secondary characters (or perhaps it is a secondary character) – hatred is put in there as a cop out, an easy way to plotting, a way to cram a whole story in an hour with commercial breaks.  “He hated her that much” or worse “he hated some group or other” is the plot equivalent of “and then he went mad and murdered a multitude.)

Is this a problem?  To an extent, though it’s more a reflection of an issue brought on by technology – the prevalence of make-believe stories, emotions and motives in our lives to an extent our ancestors didn’t know – than the cause of the problem.

It only worries me when we use it to close discussion.  Like the commenter who said I hated him, or something of the sort.  (How absurd.  I still don’t hate him, even though he apparently lives under a bridge.  I don’t know him well enough to hate him.  His comments annoyed me, and I blocked him.  I’m not sitting here plotting his death, not even fictionally.)  At the time he said I hated him and was projecting, he was commenting for the first time, and I’d said nothing about hating anyone (well, not in that post.)

I do hate Marxism.  I hate it out of reasoned study.  And I’m ready to explain why I hate it – beyond the death and misery it always brings in its wake.

And it worries me that, like the Christie character, we’ve become able to understand only the big emotions, and not the smaller, more shaded ones.

I hate communism, but I strongly dislike the way I’m rambling on, seemingly unable to close this post.  I blame it on the slight fever and the headache.  Which truly bothers me.

141 responses to “Don’t You HATE it?

  1. Dang. I can’t just say, “I love this one!” without looking like an idiot. But, yes, love and hate are horrendously overused. We’ve all gotten a bit lazy?

  2. I wouldn’t say I hate typos, but I did notice that you typed “stayed” when you probably meant “staid”, comparing Shakespeare to Soap Operas. ;-)

    • I’ve already told people there are at least three typos per post. That one is not one of my normal ones — interesting.
      Sorry, I wrote this really late, and feeling really cr*ppy — I do feel better after a good night’s sleep, but I’m considering walking this morning, instead of running, just because I do seem to be coming up from some minor head cold — and I only cursorily proof these because… well… I don’t get paid for them.

  3. When my kids say “hate” I remind them that to hate something is to want that something destroyed…just to keep things in perspective. As a result (I would like to think), my eight-year-old doesn’t use the world much at all to describe things as mundane as homework.

    • world = word

      Don’t you hate when that happens?

    • Really? He has to be one of the few 8-year-olds then that doesn’t want his homework destroyed.

      • She dislikes it in the extreme, but she doesn’t hate it. She’s got it in her mind that she wants to know how motors work…any motors…because she wants to design and build an engine that runs on water. Granted, she’s into fairies (the magical kind, not the fabulous kind), waterslides, et al, but she’s been consistent in her desire to understand how a machine can make things move. I’ve hammered the point that if that’s what she really wants to do, it requires a LOT of homework. At the same time, I’m trying to make it as fun as possible and damned if free enterprise doesn’t provide me with a cornucopia of cool science toys toward that end these days.

        • Long long ago, in a schoolroom far far away, I read an article in the Weekly Reader about an Israeli engine that did run on water. It employed a drive belt made of a material that shrank when immersed in saltwater, so the belt’s movement around the engine pulleys was engendered by immersion in two baths: one in saltwater to cause the belt to tighten, the other in plain water to rinse off the salt and release the contraction of the belt. This pulsing drove the engine until the salinity of the rinse got too high. Probably not much power there, but the engine was certainly running on water.

      • My younger son hated his Middle School. By the end of Sixth Grade, I agreed with him. So we brought him home and homeschooled him for a while, because Dan said it wasn’t safe to send me to talk to the principal once more. And while he didn’t care what happened to the principal, he didn’t want me in jail.

  4. I haven’t watched TV in literally years, but I agree with you that what I recall was ridiculously overblown emotions. All entertainment tends to have it to an extent, whether it is TV, movies, books or songs. Because a simple journal of the average persons life would be pretty boring, so everything is made ‘biggger than life.’

  5. Kipling’s “Mary Postgate” and the poem that goes with it struck me as being two of the more hair-curling descriptions of hatred in the original sense.

    Perhaps hatred is, or should be, handled like firearms or ghost peppers: the user must know exactly what is going on and why, inside themselves and outside, what the limits are, and must be utterly and completely certain that there are no other emotional or rational options available.

  6. I can’t agree with your statement that “we’ve become able to understand only the big emotions” like hate and love, because those who use those words so freely don’t truly understand them. The hate of the Montagues and Capulets is a mountain compared to the molehill these small-minded souls call “hate” when they say they hate their job, or their daily commute, or that one TV show. Shakespeare painted with large, sweeping strokes and showed you a picture of the world; these people paint on a postage stamp with a single-hair brush and claim they’ve painted a picture of the entire world — because the postage stamp is about the size of their imaginations. No, I don’t think those with postage-stamp imaginations can truly understand the big emotions.

  7. D.H. Lawrence probably explored the minor shades of hate better than any other author I can think of. Paul Morell would be talking to his lover, and she’d say something stupid, and he could hate her, just for that brief second, and then something would change and he could love her again. I always liked that: how an extreme emotion like love could be flipped almost instantaneously to love, then back again.

    There’s hate, and then there’s HATE. It’s a lovely word, so much better than “dislike” or any of the other terms. So Sarah, you can hate your hair, and hate Communism. One word, two shades of meaning. The problem is not in you, the writer, when your use of the word is misinterpreted; it’s for the reader/listener to understand that hating your hair is a whole ‘nother animal from hating someone enough to kill them, or hating a system of social order which kills people needlessly.

    I remember once sitting around with sundry members of the Beer ‘n Treason Crowd(tm), and we played the “One Shot” game. (If you could shoot someone dead and get away with it completely, who’d get that one shot?)
    Now you have to establish a hierarchy of hate — in other words, as much as you hate your asshole neighbor’s kid for playing loud music in his bedroom late at night, you’d probably prefer to use your One Shot on someone far more deserving, eg. your state governor (if you live in California, say). The interesting thing is that unless you’re Russian (explanation provided if necessary), most people will reserve their One Shot for someone whom they think is harmful to society as a whole, rather than someone who is personally hateful to them.

    Hmmm… “hierachy of hate” — I think I’ll tm that one too.

    • Oh, and in that first example I would use loathe rather than hate — like the loathing Absalom felt for his sister after sleeping with her.

    • I agree here. I know what is meant in context. When someone says, “I HATE my hair,” I know they don’t really want to end its existence. Just as someone using “hate” with its true meaning comes out in context, in tone and intent (which I think I’ve only heard one time in my life).

      The problem is, we don’t have alternative words that have the same emotional oomph. Saying “I really dislike my hair” or “Traffic annoys me” doesn’t have the same meaning or cadence or power.

      If someone can come up with a good strong single-syllable word that does the trick, I’ll switch, but until then, a bit of hyperbole is fine with me. Context is everything. ^_^

      • mind you, there have been DAYS on the hair thing. I’ve considered shaving it all.

      • An excellent technique is to undersell the emotion. Since starting this discussion I have been plagued by a memory dimly perceived, of an actor (I am convicted of the idea that it is either Charlton Heston from Three Musketeers or, more probably, Ricardo Montalban from The Wrath of Khan) explaining his hatred of his opponent with the phrase “He tries me, he tries me severely.”

        Something about the actual expression of so strong an emotion as true hatred is rather difficult for humans, and we frequently hide it behind a scrim of deflection.

      • Stryder Barlow

        I agree with loathe, despise, aggravate(s), vindictive, vile, disdain . . . (all depending on context.

  8. And yet there are plenty of examples of genuine murderous hate in the real world. Just read through the police blotter — all the “domestics.” Or look at the news. The men who conducted the Mumbai terror attack rampaged through a major city killing people face-to-face out of sheer *abstract* hatred.

    Towering hate is entirely realistic — it’s just not an emotion familiar to Sarah and her readers because they are well-adjusted people in control of their emotions. Our society prizes that control, in a way that Shakespeare’s contemporaries did not. (Plus we’re not half drunk by mid-morning the way his contemporaries were.)

    Fiction — at least interesting fiction — is about people in extraordinary circumstances. Feeling emotions stronger than normal fits that definition. We all understand day-to-day annoyance, but seeing Captain Ahab chase a whale across the globe out of pure hate is extraordinary. As writers it’s our job to let the reader experience extraordinary things, while making them seem plausible.

    • No. I know that hate exists. It was the hate of Montagues and Capulets. I’m NOT disputing that. I’m saying the kid who says “I hate my ipod” rarely lays awake at night thinking he wants to blow it up. And I wouldn’t characterize domestics as hate, either. Yes, it’s possible — and Agatha Christie did very well portraying it, to have hate grow between two people who live together until something pushes it over the edge — and a lot of domestics are that. BUT most domestics I read it’s not hatred that grew for years. It’s not even dislike. It’s annoyance coupled with intoxication or mental illness.

      • It was the hate of Montagues and Capulets.

        Perhaps not. The hate you’re speaking of is a omnipresent, visceral loathing of someone who’s done direct damage to you and yours. The idiots that conducted the Mumbai terror attack could very well just have been convinced that they hated their targets, or, conversely, convinced that they were superior and therefor didn’t need to regard their targets as equals deserving of moral consideration. Regardless, when someone actually causes pain and suffering to a close loved one, even in an extended family, I would expect the nuances of that hatred to be far more white-hot than that of the Mumbai types.

        • No. I meant the hatred I feel would have justification. BUT the hate of clans or religions or whatever IS genuine hate. It obsesses and demands total destruction. It’s also rare in our own society — not in other parts of the world, mind! In our society we’ve learned to conflate “disagrees with me” with “hates me” which is … an issue.

          • Not only that, but we celebrate hate. What are most reality shows but an attempt on the part of the producers to get the audience to hate certain members of the “cast”? We look at something like Hell’s Kitchen or American Idol (both of which kill brain cells, even if you only hear them from the other room) waiting, WANTING the awful examples of whatever is at stake so the judges can lay into them and make us hate. It’s quite troubling, in fact.

            I mention this is the current story as the characters are looking back, pre-apocalypse, lamenting what they’d lost and realizing the unprecedented opportunity before them for a post-post-apocalyptic society that addresses such misplaced anger.

    • Free-range Oyster

      The Bible is full of examples of real world hatred, some of which we common sinners can relate to, and some that we can comprehend only as an intellectual exercise. The first that came to mind was the vicious, murderous opposition of the Pharisees and Sadducees to Jesus Christ even after the waning of his popularity. Their behavior at his farce of a trial is particularly illustrative (even more so if you know how many of their own precious laws they violated in the process).

      • If you think that’s irrational, you are wrong. It’s the hatred of the minority in power for anything that threatens it. Even were Amazon to tumble down inexplicably or its popularity diminish, if traditional publishers could stick a stake through its heart, their would.

        But i”m not disputing that irrational hatred — or any hatred — exists: just that we cover under that umbrella a lot of other stuff and that some people use that word as a shield and a hiding place for their manipulation of minds.

  9. Oh yes Hate!!! I have experienced it a couple of times in my life. In seventh grade I met my nemesis who is also named Cynthia. I started out bewildered, depressed, then mad. When the hate hit, I wasn’t ready for it. I controlled it all the same because I didn’t want to kill someone in the middle of junior high.

    The second time… was a when love turns to hate. I won’t give the details, but my mother and I butted head so often that we were on different sides of every fight. She has gone berserk on me many times. All I am going to say about that is it took me years to get over that one. It has smoldered to an annoyance, thank goodness.

    I have gotten angry with people, and have disliked people with a passion and for a moment plotted their destruction, but in a moment of rare sanity I pulled back.

    BTW my hairdresser at one of those cut-rate haircutter places did a grear job on my hair. One swipe of the brush and it looks ready to go out. If only my skin needed on that much work.

    • must still be tired – need coffee – misspellings all over the place

    • This is part of what I was trying to say. Children hate the best, partly because they find it really, really hard to picture consequences OR relief. I hated people in elementary because no matter how often I was told I’d grow up and never seen them again, I couldn’t PICTURE IT. So the way they aggravated me would go on forever.

      I’m not saying I don’t believe in hatred — I’m saying it’s overused both in our lives to explain things, and as a plot device. (Sorry if that wasn’t clear, but I wasn’t very clear last night.) Yes, perhaps your elderly lady who took out the punk hates him, but in a satisfying story, you’ll at least give us hints of this hatred growing. Otherwise, it’s not a satisfying story. It’s insanity.

      Stories are how we model people growing up for most of our kids — sorry, but it’s true — when they’re told it’s “normal” to just “hate” someone with very little rhyme or reason, and this is how humans behave, it doesn’t really help them grow up.

      • I agree – I know that my childhood experiences seemed to go on forever and I would tell myself that “this too will pass.” It didn’t seem like it though.

        Of course, the writer who doesn’t show how she disdains how is pants are down to his ankles, and how is laugh rankles, and how the boom boom of his car gets on her last nerve isn’t doing her job. ;-)

      • Definitely overused, which lessens the impact of the word when it’s necessary. Kind of like love – I doubt anyone truly “loves” ice cream or their shampoo.

        I hate it when people use words like that. :-D

  10. One thing I dislike [Wink] is the idea of “unreasonable hatred” or “hating for no reason”. IMO there are always *reasons* for hatred. It’s just others may not see that they are good reasons for hatred.

    • IMO there are always *reasons* for hatred. It’s just others may not see that they are good reasons for hatred.

      Is there always a reason for love? Most would consider hate the opposite of love. Does it somehow require a reason for it’s origin while love gets a pass?

      (Yes, yes, I know, but let’s forget the “indifference is actually the opposite of love” argument for the nonce.)

      • Pheromones and then admiration. :-) yes, there are reasons for love even though we don’t understand it when we are in the middle of it.

        • Oh, sure, blame the nose. If mere particles on the wind can incite the physiological underpinnings of “love”, surely there must be particles that can incite hate. Otherwise, wouldn’t there logically have to be separate regions of the brain handling those two passions?

          • I wouldn’t knock it if the science was there Scott. ;-) Hate across a crowded room, yes, I have experience that.

            • if the science was there Scott it would be Scottish science and… never mind. I’m putting myself in the corner until coffee takes effect, shall I?

              • Scottish science has to be better than Scottish cuisine, most of which seems like it was based on a dare.

                • you DARE tell me that? The major city near where I come from, and therefore the city that claimed our allegiance when say 100 miles away, is known as “The tripe eaters.” This is because when the discovery ships went off, the city of Porto donated all its meat for the winter, and kept only the offal to eat. They’re very proud of this. There are a million and one recipes for all sorts of viscera. Some I even like.

                • Free-range Oyster

                  That reminds me, I really need to find a place that will sell me a sheep’s stomach so I can make a haggis. Too expensive to order one online and I haven’t had any in years.

                  • I am under the vague impression that our governmental masters forbade the importation of haggis for purposes of our protection. I usually veer off at this point, as speculation about just what they might be protecting us from seem likely to engender hatred.

                    • Free-range Oyster

                      Oh I realize most people don’t like it. Also, I see what you did there. Though most people I know who have tried haggis have found it at least passable, I know that entrails are not palatable for most people today. As far as importation, I have no idea. I suspect issues with the [expletive] FDA. However, I know of at least one stateside company specializing in Scottish meat dishes that ships. I’m just unemployed and broke, so no mail-order haggis for me!

                    • Eh, whether or not most people like it is of no interest. Nor is the general public attitude toward eating entrails (if you do not eat hot dogs, then you may speak disparagingly of people who eat entrails. Unless you eat sausage, spam, scrapple …)

                      I am just glad our enlightened governmental masters act to protect us from the hazards of Scottish entrails. Now if only our enlightened governmental masters would see fit to protect us from our enlightened governmental masters, the way they have protected the management of Goldman Sachs (for instance) from the mismanagement of Goldman Sachs, the management of Lehman Brothers (for another instance) from the mismanagement of Lehman Brotherss, the management of Bear Stearns (for still another instance) from the mismanagement of Bear Stearns, the management of Fannie Mae (for yet another instance) from the mismanagement of Fannie Mae …

                • If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

          • I have ONCE in my life hated someone on sight. He hated me too. No explanation that makes sense. Well, I later found he WAS a slimebucket, but I hated him at first sight with no indication of this. Yes, yes, he was Spanish, but for the love of Bob, I have Spanish FRIENDS (don’t tell my mom.) He hated me too, and he couldn’t even have heard of me before…
            Then there’s this SF writer and I who argue whenever we meet in person or online — it couldn’t be her pheromones. It might be her beliefs, which I didn’t know of, when I first met her on a chat forum (the books of hers I’d read were not as bad as she later became.) She might on the other hand have heard of me before. Possibly. Even though I was then under deep cover. Maybe it’s just our word choices that antagonize the other.

          • It is not at all unlikely that a person’s pheromones can excite antipathy as readily as desire, nor that their manner of dress, mode of speaking, even the very rhythms of their existence can trigger deeply sublimated alarums in your soul. There are certain politicians whose every expressed piety reflects a philosophy of the world so antithetical to my own envisionment of the cosmic hall that I am nearly seized with uncontrollable rage a a deep desire to hurl any cream pie within reach …

            • Oh yea – me too RES… my hubby looks at me in alarm when I mutter at the TV. Thankfully he is almost deaf so he is not too concerned at what I am saying. Or is it he has learned the selective hearing of hubbys? Not sure.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          I recently read an article that made a simple, yet compelling argument against there existing pheromones for humans. The reasoning was that pheromones are a single chemical or combination of chemicals that stimulate attraction between the sexes. Yet, so far as we know, there is no single chemical combination that will cause one person to be physically attracted to another.

          We do apparently have cues that are transmitted by scent, but these seem to be mostly related to being able to sniff out, as it were, whether we are compatible in a reproductive sense.

          • There are certain men who smell sour to me. Still my friends through my husband (amateur radio), but if I get too close I get nauseated. lol Gotta stay downwind.

            • Have you ever recommended they bathe?

              • I am pretty sure it is not a bathing problem… My nose is very sensitive since I am on regular chemo. Smells that were not offensive to me nine years ago, will become problematic (i.e. I get nauseous.) I never know what will set it off. No not pregnant… very menopausal.

              • Susan Shepherd

                I don’t remember which of my sister’s classes covered this topic, but apparently there are large portions of the month when women don’t really like the smell of men’s sweat. Doesn’t matter if the person in question showered that morning and is wearing freshly laundered clothes; if it is hot enough in the room that the guy is sweating, the smell is there, and unpleasant.

                The following is just speculation, but still plausible IMO. Given how much genetics affects hormone levels, it may be (evolutionarily speaking) a way to encourage a broader selection of mates. If you have a small human population (500 or less) and everyone’s going for the best spear-thrower, that may disadvantage the tribe long term since humans are NOT specialists. If some portion of the females won’t go near that particular man for love or money, genetic diversity is encouraged.

                • Susan Shepherd

                  Eff it. I meant “certain men’s sweat.” Not all women dislike the smell of all men. I pick up on about one-in-twenty that I don’t like, be they ever so clean; my sister seems to react more broadly. Call it one-in-six, for her.

                  • I would say one in twenty… Plus the two I am thinking about may too closely related to me… which is a possibility… one of them has Norwegian origins… (like me)

                  • It has been pretty conclusively demonstrated (for certain values of conclusive and demonstrated) that female attraction to the male varies with ovulation. Apparently women at their most fertile are most attracted to “bad” men (probably those with high enough testosterone levels to makes them not good at abiding by rules) while at their “between” stage the women are more attracted toward “good” men (probably those most inclined to be good providers over the long haul and be good fathers to the cuckoos their wives have birthed.)

                    Utter nonsense, of course. The idea that women experience mood and preference variations in rhythm with their cycles has been thoroughly disproved by modern political science.

        • Love? I suspect a mix of pheromones, comfort and contentment in the other’s presence, and finding common mental ground. Pheromones alone cannot do anything more than give attraction. Mental ground (or admiration) cannot maintain even the hearthfire of passion, long-term. And without feeling that one’s partner has one’s back… gads, life’s too short for that!

          (But I do believe in pheromones. I think my spouse smells like cologne only wished it could. I stick my nose in his armpit happily. ;) )

    • Unreasonable hatred says more about the hater than the hatee.

  11. “I believe, what we have here, is a failure to communicate.” There is a shrinking vocabulary throughout the English speaking world. Why? Well, it could be from the inane idiocy of the media, games, and never ending flurry of text messaging. Modern speech, including the written word, likes short cuts. We move fast in today’s world, therefore the shorter and sharper the word used, the better. After all, it is very difficult to carry on a conversation in text, while ordering your fancy coffee, and chatting with a friend at the same time. Short words, that convey a bevy of meanings, depending on sentence structure and syntax, makes life easier.

    When I introduced my students to Shakespeare, or to Dickens, I always got the same response, “But it so hard to read because it doesn’t make sense. They take three paragraphs for one sentence.” (Martinus Scribblerus and Ruskin are much worse.) I understand that, the richness of the language is beyond the experience of most kids today. That’s why the King James Bible has been, once again, translated to make it easier to follow for the ‘average’ person. (Don’t get me started on PC rewriting of classics like Mark Twain’s work.) Dumbing down of the language makes it less valuable and the words less important.

    I often use the word Hate. It IS lazy of me, because I generally mean something along the lines of the word, loath, or disgust. It is far too easy to just give in the popular demand, rather than take the time to speak properly or to use words outside the common vernacular. I will have to make a more concerted effort to maintain a level of communication that indicates my true thoughts and feelings about a topic or event.

    • I need to use the word loath. It kind of has a taste in the mouth. ;-)

    • Loathe has a component of disgust and of “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole” Hate is “flame white and will kill” or “slow growing and could make me snap at any moment.”

      This is probably me being fuddy duddy, but I thing “hate” is one of the words being used NOW to erect barriers between people. If you think all hate is unreasoning it makes it easier to make the leap from “people disagree with me” — and since our kids aren’t taught epistemological testing, anymore or taught how to think but what to think, they’ve been taught “the one correct thing” which means people CAN’T “rationally” disagree with them. So, disagreement is irrational and must proceed from something else. They want to hurt you, it must be hate.

      And I HATE that process.

      Other things I hate (I want them destroyed) are the concept of hate crimes. So… if you live with your spouse for 45 years and find yourself hating her, cut her up and put her body in various trash bags, it’s not a hate crime BUT if your neighbor is purple with polka dotts and there are some people — not even necessarily you — who hate purple people with polka dotts with indoctrinated hate, and you get drunk one night and get tired of your neighbor playing his music really loud, scream out the window “Stop playing polkas, I hate purple polka dotted music” Then go out and shoot through this guy’s window and kill him, IT IS a hate crime…. even though what drove you over the edge was cheap bourbon and music and perhaps an inability to picture the consequences of your actions… and therefore it is extra harshly punished because…

      Look, it seems to me that nonsense of reading the tealeaves for “hate” then punishing this phantom you find violates equal protection under the law. And I HATE that.

      • Yea – there are a few people I could loath.. And yes, I was not happy when they came up with the “hate crime.” It seemed that if you were white, then you automatically were a hater. Ugh.

        Equal protection under the law and equal punishment.

      • The use of the word HATE is used as a synonym for loathe or disgust, or simply finding something annoying. That is dumbing down the language. The term hate crime is annoying because it is a redundant phrase. To do something to someone because you hate them, or what they stand for, is already a CRIME. Makes me roll my eyes every time I read it.

        Equally the word LOVE is used as a synonym for like, admire, or wanting to have, do, or be something. It doesn’t hold the sacred meaning it used to have, back when uttering those words to someone of the opposite sex was tantamount to making a proposal. (unless it was a sibling or something.) I hear, “Oh I LOOOOOVVVVEEE that dress, actor, book, song,” . . . the list goes on and on . . . all the time. What they mean is the like, admire, desire, or want that thing, person, or item. So the word Love has become a watered down unimportant four letter word signifying like. Kind of sad.

        I love words, they have such great power and inspiration when used correctly. I find it disappointing to see the dumbing down of such a rich language. Ah well, modern 20th century English is going the way of 16th century Early/Middle English and will soon be as dead as Latin.

        Oh Cyn, do NOT get me started on the whole, “If you are a such and such, then you are a bigot, racist, hate filled, evil person” topic. I tend to get really hot under the collar about that. Actually I get infuriated, put off, irate, belligerent, and vocally opinionated about it. (Says the white, straight, Christian, politically conservative female.)

    • This discussion reminded me of a Robert Sheckley short, and a little Google-fu produced this description which, really, says all I wanted to say on the topic:

      There is a short story by Robert Sheckley – “The Language of Love” (1957, Notions: Unlimited); in it a young man sets out to learn the almost forgotten Language of Love, developed by the now extinct inhabitants of a distant planet. After ma[s]tering the language, he discovers the reason behind the extinction of that alien race – the Language of Love is so precise and complex that learning (and then using it) becomes an endeavor unto itself, impeding communications with uninitiated, and leaving no time for anything else…

      http://agilitator.com/blog/?p=664

    • Karron, a writers’ workshop leader informed the group that we needed to write at no more than a 4th grade level. I’m not sure if I was more insulted as a writer or as a reader.

      • That is a jaw dropping idiocy, TXRED! Obviously, the workshop person didn’t know diddly about literature. Probably dropped out of every course that required more than reading a child’s book! My four year old was reading at a 6th grade level before he ever started school. I can only imagine what Arron would have said to that!

        • Perhaps what they meant was “a 4th grade level in Revolutionary America”, which would be about College freshman these days? ;-)

  12. Perhaps what is actually being felt is Rage, dressed up as Hate in order to be made more socially acceptable?

    • I think rage is a component of hate… or maybe rage is the fuel of action against the object of hate.

      • I think rage is a component of hate… or maybe rage is the fuel of action against the object of hate.

        Hate requires a cognitive component. Rage does not.

        • I think we are starting to split hairs ;-)… Plus I have had to learn to control rage cause like Sarah I want to kick the refrigerator (I don’t because I know I’ll get a broken toe). I used to have a rabbit that would break into pieces when I threw it against the wall, plus it was soft enough that it wouldn’t dent anything. It was such a relief … Unfortunately, that poor rabbit got lost in one of those military moves. I swear I packed it, but it didn’t make it to my next duty station. (imps?)

          • Not a live rabbit, right? The horrors of genetic engineering!

            My older son is currently at work on a story where all the gremlims go on strike. It starts on a flight. “Sir, one of the passengers says he sees a gremlin on the wing.” “Ah ah, these people and their imaginations.” “It’s holding a protest sign, for shorter hours and better pay.”

            • I would read that gremlin story ;-) Woot! No, it was a stuffed rabbit. I haven’t been able to find another one.

            • ???????? O….k, I know Robert will make it a very amusing, typically insane Bobbis short story special, but… gremlins sabotage airplanes. Gremlins are on strike and refuse to work on the planes I’m riding on… well, good. And who was paying them? And what will result now that we know there are gremlins and that they will resume causing planes to crash as soon as this anonymous party who was paying them resumes paying? Sorry, I was spoiled by reading pretty much every story that was published in “Unknown,” and they set an awfully high standard for the twisted logic in this sort of thing.

              • Free-range Oyster

                Maybe it’s something like Frank Herbert’s Bureau of Sabotage.

                • If the gremlins go on strike then things will cease to malfunction and break down, causing massive unemployment in the repairs industry. Frederic Bastiat would have to be out breaking windows to stimulate the economy.

                  Or is this planned story about AMC Gremlins? If so, it would be hard to imagine how their going on strike would have much effect.

    • Which is weird, on the face of it. Though I feel rage QUITE often. “ARGH. Stupid printer.” But my husband doesn’t let me kick electronics. (Sigh>)

      • Hate is the smolder. Rage is the inferno.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Tell the printer that if it doesn’t straighten up, I will come out there with my baseball bat. That threat always seems to make computers and assorted peripherals behave.

      • But my husband doesn’t let me kick electronics. (Sigh>)”

        I find a good swift kick seems to be at least as effective if not more so than most repair shops at convincing electronics to work correctly.

        • Just a note – many times vibrations cause the chips to unseat from the chip sockets. A kick, a hard slap, or opening it up and pushing in the chips are acceptable technical solutions.

        • I’m married to an IT security guru. When my system starts acting up, he just walks in the room, glares at it, and it sorts itself straight away. It knows, if it doesn’t, he will do open case surgery, and that frightens it beyond bad behavior. Works for me.

  13. There are things I truly HATE. My acting on those things would be very, very bad for people and other living things. Most of the things that fall into that category can be summed up in one word: bureaucracy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Government bureaucracy, church bureaucracy, or business/office bureaucracy, it extends beyond active dislike, through anger, to pure, blood-boiling, HATE – mostly because it robs me of time, effort, and frequently, money, and is usually totally ineffective and unnecessary. The one reason I haven’t acted upon it yet is because I can’t figure out how to destroy the guilty without taking out too many innocent. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way. The danger point, for me and all the rest that feel this, is when it no longer matters how many innocents die. That’s how wars start.

    • There was a science fiction setting I read once where the history included the “Bureaucracy Wars of the 21st century”. Wish I could remember which novel/series it was…

      • Do you remember if I led it? I’m beginning to work in that direction. I need to read Sun Tzu and Clausewitz one more time…

        • You have to read Sun Tzu in the original Klingon to really get anything out of it.

        • Free-range Oyster

          You might also consider Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. You want that education well-rounded!

        • Try John Boyd, inventor of the OODA Loop
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyd_(military_strategist)):
          Boyd, John R. (September 3, 1976). Destruction and Creation. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

          United States Marine Corps (1997) [1989]. Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1: WarfightingWashington, D.C.: United States Government.

          I hope I embedded those links properly. His biography by Robert Coram is a terrific read. See links at end of Wiki article for additional material.

          • RES, I’ve read several things by John Boyd. I don’t always agree with him. There’s a tremendously good book I read a number of years ago by a graduate of the National War College called “Asymmetrical Warfare”, can’t remember the author’s name. He was also a Marine. The book is about all the mistakes the US made in the Vietnam war (and are repeating int he Afghanistan war). He was considered a heretic at the time. Wonder what they think of him now. One fascinating book I have read and re-read many times, is Pat Frank’s “Alas, Babylon”. It also talks about mistakes we, but not the Russians, make about nuclear warfare.

            • To be clear: I was not endorsing Boyd, merely suggesting his as a useful perspective. I understand too much of what I don’t understand to recommend anyone on war.

      • Free-range Oyster

        That sounds like the kind of thing you might find in Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary.

      • I think I remember now; I’m pretty sure it was one of Brin’s Uplift novels, either the first (Sundiver) or the third (The Uplift War).

  14. Pratchett: hate is an attractive force. If you truly hate something, you can’t stay away from it. You’ve got to be there trying to destroy it. He said that in one of the witches books – possibly Lords and Ladies.

    Loathe is – to me, anyway – colder, with an undertone of disgust and without the compulsion to destroy it.

    Detest I think of as a kind of not-quite-pride, of regarding something as so far beneath you that the distance itself makes it a bad thing.

    Possibly the short version is “Hate” = “KILL IT”, “Loathing” = “Get it out of my sight and never let me think of it again”, “Detestation” = “horrid little thing”, “Contempt” = “fit only to be crushed beneath my boots”, “Disgust” = “Ewwww”.

    But then, I never claimed to be anything like normal.

    • Free-range Oyster

      I think those are spot on elucidations. Thank you. Now I can be more accurate in my language, which is dear to me.

      In addition to Pratchett, you’ll also find a similar concept in Richard Bach’s Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah where the Messiah in question explains to his friend that attacking a problem creates an attachment to it. Not a philosophy I espouse, but food for thought.

    • I need to write these down, and put them up near my favorite lists. ;-)

  15. To Kate’s comments-
    Where would you place despise?
    Dawn

  16. The indoctrinated hate is all around us. Europe seems to be positively sick with it. Kids are told who and what they are permitted, indeed expected to hate. School groups are sent on tours of Auschwitz, are noisy and disrespectful, and when they notice by someone’s t-shirt that they are in the same bus as people from Israel, they throw a screaming fit. It’s expected to hate Zionists. And any political signpost of the wrong kind inspires a flood of obscenity. The news article that the Romneys were sponsoring a horse at the Olympics inspired an endless, weirdly uniform, boring flood of coments. The horse did not win a metal, so it was dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory dog food glue factory hundreds and hundreds of these comments, not one original bit of ugliness, and every one of these posters obviously thought he was bleedin’ Oscar Wilde.

  17. Funny you should write about this during Discovery Channel’s Large, Ill-Tempered Fish Week….

  18. I have found that hate is too exhausting to waste on the ditzy women who apply makeup as they drive, or even that Florida driver who proceeds dangerously slow ahead of me on winding mountain roads. I also found that if I entertain it for too long it leave a bad taste in my brain.

    • That’s not hate, that’s frustration. I feel it too, quite frequently. We get frustrated, and wish things were different. Hatred should be reserved for things that you experience, and think “this shouldn’t be, this is deeply, deeply wrong”.

      • Possibly it is a matter of definition. Maybe this sounds weird, but the longer I live the less I hate. Even when I despise what some people do I find that hate is usually more self destructive than a source of a solution.