The 168 Turnaround: Jan. 1 – 7, 2012
It’s easy to hate, and it can be fun, too.
But it takes work to be a Hater, to be (in other words) so vigilant in your denunciation of all things that do not meet your own personal standards of excellence. Even when an offence is slight, the true Hater pounces immediately, quickly disembowelling the offender for the good of all things that are “hip” and “with it” … or whatever.
Generally, Haters hate anything that is popular in the mainstream, be it books, music, or film. And if they like anything at all, it is almost always something that floats on the periphery of the indie movement. That’s the image they project, anyway; how close it is to the truth is anybody’s guess.
Early this week, the film geek website Ain’t It Cool News ran a story about popular author Stephen King (11/22/63) working with director Mark Pavia (The Night Flier) on a new anthology horror movie.
Being a presumably young and inexperienced Entertainment writer, not to mention a big fan of King’s work, the writer of the news story began his piece with a baffling bit of hyperbole, saying: “Stephen King is quite possibly the greatest writer of our time.”
I, too, am a big fan of Stephen King. Still, I’m not so foolish as to actually believe such a statement, let alone write and publish it. I think King is a notable writer of our time, especially if you’re studying the trends of American popular fiction. I also think King is dismissed far too quickly by the literary community. But there’s no way you can argue that he’s the greatest writer of our time. There’s just no way.
As you can imagine, the site’s readers responded in a hurry, and the Haters among them made a hell of a stink. Below are several of the comments that were posted in response to the story:
“King produces ‘novels” the way normal people produce bowel movements.”
“King is a hack.”
“Defies all common sense. King is a hack who writes fast and long. He had one and only one good horror idea.”
“Quite possibly the greatest writer of our time? Get your head out of your ANUS! He’s a Hack for hire!”
And so on.
On the one hand, I understand where the Haters are coming from. They’re dead wrong about King being a hack, but I can appreciate why they would say so in this case. Still, I’m always a little confused about this need for immediate and decisive aggression. Why are so many of us willing to wage war over an issue that is mostly meaningless?
The better response would have been to disagree and then offer an alternative suggestion. And, in truth, some of the people commenting did do that. Authors such as Salman Rushdie, Thomas Pynchon, John Irving, and Cormac McCarthy were suggested as better candidates for the Greatest Living Writer title (though, if you ask me, McCarthy should be at the top of that list, with the others a good distance below).
In the end, however, it was the Haters who made the most noise. They always do.
For the life of me, though, I cannot understand why they always feel the need to work themselves into a frenzy.
Reading, stories, and literature should enrich your life, and be cause for reflection.
But I guess it’s easier to throw a fit. Now there’s a true sign of intelligence.
IN OTHER NEWS THIS WEEK
The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items. If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here. If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below. Thank you for reading.