[lit-ideas] Hate Clubs

  • From: Scribe1865@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 22:23:23 EDT

I wonder if anyone has read anything recently that addresses the role of hate 
in American politics? 
Passed a guy on the street today with a "New York hates Bush" T-shirt. So 
much of politics seems to involve the construction of hated figments--and what 
seems more interesting--the creation of community through shared objects of 

It's come to pass that if we hate the same politicians, we are cool to each 
other, and accepted into a community created by that hate. A friend tells me he 
hates Bush. Why, I ask, and it almost causes him to splutter, as if having to 
recite the litany of reasons to hate is beside the point. Surely you wish to 
see him defeated, he asks. And when I ask for his reasons, I can feel the 
chill setting in, the feeling of exclusion from the hate club, can feel that it 
might affect our friendship that I actually called him on his reasons for 
hating, instead of just touting my membership card.

A few months ago, AOL had a politics quiz. State your positions on the two 
dozen issues, and the Java template would match you up with your candidate. 
came up Kerry by a wide margin. But do I trust Kerry to deliver on any of his 
positions? Not really. Do I hate him? No. Do I hate Bush? No. 

But every day, I feel excluded from hate clubs, and it makes me wonder what 
the hate clubs are all about. Maybe hating Bush or hating Kerry is a way of 
avoiding the issues, a way of simplifying political judgments that get more 
complex every time one examines them. Although I think maybe something more 
sinister is at work--hate clubs working as a way of disenfranchising people. 
reminded of the enemy of the people in Orwell's _1984_, and realize that either 
presidential candidate could be "the enemy of the people," the guy people hate 
and create a community by hating. Meanwhile the business of government and the 
important civil decisions are elsewhere.


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