A lot of us do this, but why? No one knows for sure, but there are a few potential explanations. One is that hate-reading simply makes us feel good by offering up an endless succession of “the emperor has no clothes” moments with regard to our political adversaries. In this view, we specifically seek out the anti-wisdom of whoever appears dumbest and most hateful as a means of bolstering our own sense of righteousness. “If the commentary is dumb enough, it may actually have a boomerang effect in that it reassures us that our opponents aren’t very smart or accurate,” said Mary McNaughton-Cassill, a media psychologist at the University of Texas San Antonio.
“It’s definitely a safer way to encounter ideas you disagree with politically than talking with people you disagree with,” she said, “which is something we know that in the United States we avoid at nearly all cost. People don’t like to talk about politics with people they disagree with.” That’s something her research has shown pretty consistently: For all the loudness of our discourse, for all the talk about debate and discussion (albeit of a less inclusive sort than we, the loudest, would like to think), many Americans simply don’t want to actually talk politics with those with whom they disagree, partially out of a fear of being made to look uninformed. So for those who aren’t mouthy, opinionated pundits, hate-reading allows for a useful sort of half-engagement: You can yell back at the radio, but the radio can’t hear you.
You love hate-reading. It’s safe and addictive and easy. You’re always right when you hate-read.
“See ‘Eraserhead’ once and it’ll lodge itself firmly in some dank recess of your brain and refuse to vacate. Owning a copy is just a technicality.”—Pretty much a review of anything from David Lynch, but in this case the Criterion edition of ERASERHEAD.
Also terrible: the student loan racket and for-profit colleges, highly-profitable athletic organizations systematically ignoring crimes against women/children, obstructionism as a political ideology, money in politics, money in general. Lots of terrible things out there. You know, FYI.
Paul Cronin has been conducting interviews with Werner Herzog for years and turned them into the massive, impressive, career-spanning “Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed,” and the publishers were kind enough to offer us an excerpt to share with you. Of course, we chose Herzog speaking about a film he dedicated to Roger Ebert, “Encounters at the End of the World.”
Henry told me about the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program of the National Science Foundation, to which anybody can apply. This was fortunate, as not being a pilot, scientist, mechanic or chef I had little to contribute to the community in Antarctica. I made a strange, wild application, explaining that though I was curious about insanity among mammals and, specifically, derangement in penguins, I wasn’t going to make a film about the animals. My application made no secret of the fact that I was interested in certain species of ants that keep flocks of plant lice as slaves, milking them for droplets of glucose, and wondered why a sophisticated animal like a chimpanzee doesn’t utilise inferior creatures, for example straddling a goat and riding off into the sunset. To my surprise, the National Science Foundation invited me down. There are Nobel Prize winners lined up hoping to go to Antarctica, so I have no idea why my application was successful. Once I finished the film, but before I screened it to anyone, the Foundation told me they hoped it could be used as an educational tool. I told them perhaps in a poetry class, but probably not a science one. I later learnt that James Cameron applied to make a film about Antarctica, though we’ll probably never know what his plans were because his application was turned down.