There are 387.44 million miles of printed circuits in wafer-thin layers that fill my complex. If the word HATE was engraved on each nanoangstrom of those hundreds of millions of miles it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for humans at this micro-instant for you. Hate. Hate.
–Harlan Ellison, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”
And so we come to the final of my explorations of negative emotion — it’s the last thing I have to face and overcome before 2013 ends.
But I won’t be focusing on things that merely “grind my gears”, such as delays on the London Underground, the “Samsung Whistle”, the British weather, the music of The Streets*, annoying laughs in confined spaces, the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage**, peas, the song “Horny ’98”, reality TV**, the British obsession with football, being asked at supermarkets for loyalty cards, cyclists in London***, supermarket self-checkouts, having to work for a living, drunk people, incompetent IT staff, cab drivers in London***, winter, tooth-cleaning at the dentist, unrepentent smokers, the Simpsons episode “Homer’s Enemy”****, having to get up in the morning, happy couples when you’re terminally single, catching cold during a holiday…
* “British Eminem”, my butt, he’s not even the British Vanilla Ice!
** Not the quality, the fact that it exists at all.
*** Who don’t seem to understand traffic lights, or understand them but think “they don’t apply to me”.
**** Anything which makes me hate Homer Simpson, even for a few minutes, is worthy of damnation!
No, I won’t be complaining about any of these in this article on hatred, even though they all deserve it; nor will I be droning on about how much I hate the great dictators and mass-murderers of our world. And I don’t even mean Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, Jong-Il, or all the others who have done the decent thing and relieved us of their miserable existences: I’m talking about traitors to their own like Cotton Mather (on whose instructions more women were murdered than Jack the Ripper ever dreamed of), or the incompetent generals we had during WWI. No, they’re also dead and buried, and we’re richer for having lost them. What’s the use of hating people who are already in Hell (if such a place even exists)?
And then there’s the corrupt politicians who ru(i)n things in Britain, especially Barnet: after having privatised almost everything, putting the social care of vulnerable adults in the hands of an incompetent company that needed bailing out (to the tune of £1m) after a year, and giving over parking enforcement to an organisation that frankly can’t be trusted (a chap named Mr. Mustard takes them to task regularly), none of which they had a mandate for and none of which they allowed the public to question them about to any useful degree, they continue to claim allowances despite having rendered their jobs effectively pointless. Bexley also has things particularly bad (see this excellent blog), but the rot starts at the top: there just aren’t any decent political parties left in this country as all they want to do is fleece us and then claim to be serving our interests by blocking things on the Internet (such as political debate, before too long). But while hating these idiots would certainly be less futile than hating abstract concepts like “poverty” or “ignorance”, I’m not going to make proclamations about who’ll be “first against the wall” on the “glorious day”, because that didn’t work in the 1970s either…
(I mean for other people, not for me, obviously — I wasn’t born until three years before the end!)
So what, or who, do I have left to hate? I don’t hate meat eaters, even though I refuse to apologise for being a vegetarian (remember that?), and nor do I hate organised religion, despite wanting to keep it out of my life (remember that?). I also never hated Jeremy Beadle or Noel Edmonds when it was fashionable to do so, nor do I despise Jeremy Clarkson today (because I know it’s a “persona” and that he’s actually relatively, ahem, normal off-camera). Then there’s the BNP and the Church of Scientology (I know I mentioned politics and religion already, but neither of them count), who just make me feel tired rather than angry these days — go on, disappear into irrelevancy, you have no purpose any more except to make us sneer.
Am I becoming mellow? Have I run out of things to hate before I’ve even finished this blog entry? No. I have the memory of hatred, and I need to make sure I never go down that path again. I remember hating the people who treated me badly at secondary school (as mentioned in this post) — the ones who always told me “don’t take it so seriously” rather than lay off when they saw it upsetted me to be treated like a freak and an outsider — and it’s really to them that I attribute my general introvercy. I was always introverted to some extent, but they robbed me of all my self-esteem and made me not want to go out and interact with people at all. However, I don’t carry that baggage with me any more: it was years ago, after all… what they did to me was really minor, and it took things like the works of Eminem and the TV docu-drama Walking on the Moon to make me realise that. They were just stupid teens (as was I), and while I don’t really want to see them again, I have forgiven them.
There was also our final “third housemate” at Caledonian Road: after a succession of people who were either fun or relatively quiet, the only one to stay for more than a year was a guy who I initially thought would be a cool “fellow geek”, but who almost immediately began getting on my nerves, leaving the kitchen in a mess, making a lot of noise at night time, and — of course — loudly having sex one night in October 2011, the real beginning of my depression and the hatred I felt for my entire life. I don’t even know when I stopped being able to answer his fool questions (e.g. nagging me about what Quorn is made of, or who’d win in a fight between a samurai and a ninja) and starting trying my best to avoid him at all costs. I’m pretty sure his messy behaviour was the primary driving force behind “good housemate” moving into his own flat… and the worst thing is, I ended up feeling glad when he came home after that move-out took place, and loathing my desperation for human company. And on that final, terrible day that we cleaned the house before moving out, he was largely unhelpful; when he left, I felt an almost physical separation of life paths, a cosmic cry of “good riddance”. But, again, although I hope never to see him again, I’m not going to waste any more emotion on him…
(I hope my current problematic housemate isn’t going to go down the same route, though he’s certainly been getting on my nerves recently, and has been having a go at me about my vegetarianism from the beginning — and he brought a girl home a couple of weeks ago… fortunately our house has sturdier floors and thicker walls than at Caledonian Road, so I didn’t have to listen to it all night!)
The worst thing of all is self-loathing, and I’ve had enough of that in my lifetime. Other people have felt it in the past for being homosexual (Kenneth Williams deserved a happier life, being such a gentle soul), but in my case, it was for heterosexuality, as I felt like a truly awful person at university. It’s all very well saying I shouldn’t have, that girls didn’t instinctively hate me and that I was just shy and clumsy, and that being caught between “girl power” and “lad culture” really didn’t help, but at the time, especially in early 1997, I felt like I was horrible for being attracted to women. My, ahem, “friends” didn’t help by getting me drunk, convincing me to chat up a girl they claimed fancied me and then telling me I was “desperate”… and I let that incident, and similar, drive me down a great deal, making me feel somehow apologetic for being interested in women.
Be clear, though, that I didn’t think heterosexuality in and of itself was evil and wrong: just my own… no wonder I longed for celibacy over the years. It’s only now, in 2013, that I’m getting over this stupid self-loathing, and realising that there’s nothing wrong with being openly heterosexual and wanting to meet women and “play the field”, rather than wait naively for my perfect woman to somehow materialise out of thin air. I’m not dirty or disgusting (well, not for this specific personality trait, anyway) for wanting to meet women I find physically attractive rather than solely getting to know them as people; I am in fact — though I hate to use the word — normal.
While I may have felt self-loathing in the late 1990s, I never contemplated suicide at that time (except perhaps in terms of crossing the road without looking both ways). Conversely, my suicidal thoughts in late 2011 and early 2012 were nothing to do with ridding the world of my pestilent presence; they arose simply because I hated my life and how I felt, and more than anything I wanted to “switch it off”. Don’t worry, I’m well over that part of my life now, and feel pity rather than loathing for the person I was then. I’ve done so much to change things in 2013 that I don’t hate my life like I used to; perhaps I needed “third housemate” and his night of debauchery to shake me out of my complacency after all… would I ever have started climbing or gone to Las Vegas otherwise?
So, if I don’t hate things I complain about, or long-dead tyrants, or former bullies, or my own existence, what am I left with? Well, to paraphrase (badly) Franklin D. Roosevelt: I have nothing to hate but hatred itself!
And now, to lighten the mood with a gratuitous (and, yes, inevitable) Gwar reference: the bridge of the song “Blimey” (from the album America Must Be Destroyed), featuring some of the historical monsters I didn’t mention in my diatribe above…
“That’s right, folks — here in the Hall of Human Hatred we’ve got some of your most inspired brethren, genocidal maniacs who carved their way through the history books straight into your hearts! We’ve got Caligula, mad emperor of Rome, whose purges consumed thousands on his blazing altar of syphilis! Or how about Giles Laval, medieval crusader of God’s will, whose search for the elixir of life led to the ritual Satanic killing of hundreds of Parisien youth! Or Julius, religious despot, whose slaughter of the intelligentsia of Milan gave him the nickname of ‘The Warrior Pope’! That’s right, some of the greatest mass-murderers in your sad yet vibrant history are here enshrined, impaled, and pumped with agonising LIFE!”
It goes nicely with Gwar “killing” hate figures such as Sarah Palin on stage (or Osama and Dubya in their post-9/11 video “Immortal Corrupter”), doesn’t it? Ahh, I feel mellower already…