SNP’s word of the day: H8erz

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett
Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: H8terz

Meaning: “It was once a word used to describe those who hate others for irrational reasons, for the sake of hate itself. Today, the word is mainly used by those who are hated on, even though they may be hated for perfectly rational reasons.” — Urban Dictionary

Usage: “Haters gonna hate.” Um, where did this come from? I thought it was Ice-T, but it’s not, and so my next alphabetical guess—and the one I’ll stick with—is the “internet.”

You should know it because: If you have an online self and opinions about anything, you have at least one “hater” (also spelled H8er, H8erz, and H8R, as per the name of a terrible reality meta-show that was cancelled, probably because not enough people hated it). It helps greatly if you star in a reality show or write in the first person; if you are a girl; if you are a girl considered by some boys to be attractive; and still more if you are a girl who instead of being all ja-ja-sisterhood is a girl who is as critical of girls and girl culture as she is of guys and guy culture, because you think that’s fair. (The comments section in that case, I promise you, will not be fair.) I mean, these are my experience-based observations. These are not rules.

More to the point, you don’t know what you would do without haters. They complete you. On the internet, at least, they define you. When they’re right-wing zealots, misanthropic PETA activists, Nickelback fans, bad spellers, anti-lipstick feminists, whatever: some comfort comes from knowing that if they’re these things, and they hate you, then you’re not these things. Further comfort can be taken from the head-cheerleader mantra that “they’re just jealous,” but personally I hate this more than I hate haters. To use myself as an example, which seems like the safest thing to do: I could believe that people are jealous of me. Jealousy is a more common illness than the November cold, and most people don’t know that my seemingly charmed life is a lot of hard work and lies, so yeah, sure. But I’m also sure that lots of them don’t want to be me, that they really truly don’t like me, and that they feel not liking me makes them somehow better and more defined people, just as their dislike (lingo aside, I still find it hard to believe they legitimately hate a girl they don’t know) in some sense defines my persona. Who am I to deny them that satisfaction? And why should I care? Let them do the caring. I’m busy; I have better things than myself to hate.

At the end of this excellent New Inquiry essay on hating and haters, the writer says: “Hate is not the actual opposite of love. Hatred is the opposite of a far more insidious and menacing emotion: apathy.” In this way, internet-hate is necessary. You can write the nastiest comment ever on this post; you can call me all the names you want; you can say whatever you want. At least you care. Remember when Jack Layton said love is better than anger? Well, anger is better than nothing.