Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You've made my shit list

Often I've bemoaned the culture of negation we've developed. One where shared hatreds are equally as important as shared experiences. I can't complain too much because when I signed on to be a punk rocker in junior high I signed on to a celebration of negation. An identity where who you aren't is equally as important as who you are. From that young age I made many a friend based on mutual dislikes. "We hate the same people!" was the realization that led to friendship. Always at odds we found safety in our relatively small numbers by developing a sturdy "us vs them" mentality.

Fast forward several years. Now, living in New York City, all those punk rock kids of yore are all grown up and still make connections with each other with that same battlecry. But now shared experiences come a bit more into play. We assume that we all went through the same shit in high school and junior high. That we were all rejects of some calliber. That we had a common "them" to battle and now we rise triumphant, at least in our own minds, over "them". They who still live in our hometowns. They who are married with a couple of kids. They who took the straight track from high school to state college where they majored in business or communications or business communications and got a job relevant to their degree directly out of college where they will remain until retirement unless they get laid off or transferred. Guess what. They probably don't give a fuck whether or not you think you are better than them now. They probably don't even remember you or if they do would most likely be extremely nice if they ran into you again, probably even offering to buy you a beer. That happens to me just about ever time I end up at a bar back in my hometown.

Still, we remain battletorn (heh), the remnants of old wounds never healed. We gain our revenge by creating our own exclusive version of cool. The true cool, the trendsetting cool, been there done that moved on before anyone even catches on cool. The fleeting bouncing version of life, totally schizophrenic and so heavily self-referential it makes meta media theory look like child's play. We relish our ability to be the new snobs, not realizing that we've significantly closed the gaps between us and those bonehead jocks with serious inferiority complexes. Everybody's got something to prove.

But we get so much enjoyment out of it! Bitching is my birthright, or so I like to say because I'm a Jew, but maybe it's because I was one of the rejected, a freak, a drape, so much animosity was directed at me when I was younger that I deserve the opportunity to target others for a chance. I don't really believe that, but it does help explain why less tainted individuals look at me and my contemporaries and mutter the word "hipster" under their breath with disdain. They call us snobs, say we are intimidating, that we think we are too cool for others. Our reply, "Who me? But I'm a total nerd!" What a defense. It's true but that doesn't mean that nerds can't be assholes or that nerds are incapable of making others feel terrible.

One evening a few friends and I went out to dinner at Diner. The conversation turned to the creation of lists of things we hate. How they once spent an afternoon going back and forth amongst friends listing their hatreds, the things that really drove them nuts, and comparing notes. They mentioned that some were better at it than others and that some had hatreds that were pretty lame. They got the idea from John Waters who is probably the ultimate example of a reject creating his own exclusive world of cool built on recyclable references that are obscure to many but familiar to other rejects. It's laughable to think that someone would be bad at hating things. Perhaps it's just symptomatic of them being a better person than the rest of us.

We started discussing our hatreds at dinner and it made me think of the time, inspired by L7, I made a Shit List in 7th grade. I remember my friend's brother finding out he'd made my Shit List and him being really terrified of me after that, even though he'd previously tormented and bullied me. I threw out some hatreds at dinner and they were all received quite well. My ability to hate was legitimized by these observations:

-I hate people who clip their nails on the subway or in other public places, but specifically the subway. I find it utterly repulsive.
-I hate it when people scrape silverware against their teeth.
-I hate adults who can't spell.
-I hate embellished denim.
-I hate the master cleanse.
-I hate fag hags.
-I hate men who think they can insult me just because they are gay. Being a homosexual does not automatically qualify you to give fashion advice.
-I hate excessive exclamation points, especially in emails from women who work in fashion. It makes the recipient think less of you. Trust me.
-I hate Conde Nast and all it's endeavors.
-I hate NPR.
-I hate the theatre. Going to plays that aren't good makes me so uncomfortable I can't stand it and frankly I feel that most plays aren't good.
-I hate it when people quote tv shows as part of regular conversation.
-I hate Sex in the City and women who worship it.
-I hate the idea of going to the gym.
-I hate sex toys, body oil, costumes and our entire culture of contrived sexiness. If you need tools in the bedroom that means you just aren't very good at having sex.
-I hate New York street fairs. They are just plain shitty.
-I hate tourists who point. I also hate having my picture taken by strangers. I am not an attraction, I am a resident.

Instead of being a self-hating Jew, I'm a self-hating hater. I have a feeling that's probably not the best way to be, but at least I've got the remnants of a conscience and as haters go, I can be pretty damn pleasant. In fact I'm sure in a few hours I'll feel so shitty about my extended shit list that I'll try and be a good girl and counter it with a love list. It won't be nearly as interesting I'm sure.


brendan donnelly said...

ahh why was i not allowed to participate in this hate list? i'm the king of hating just about everything. i'm the non jew version of larry david

Beverly said...

anyone can participate. maybe this can be our version of that weird "tag" thing that elizabeth and other posi people are doing about their "quirks".

Sybil said...

you forgot Morrissey and everyone's obsession with Morrissey!

Beverly said...

you're right. that is a post unto itself...hating morrissey is so exhausting...i don't have the energy for it.

brendan donnelly said...

YES people enough with the morrissey obsessions! thanks for pointing that out guys. what, because lame downtown nyc says morrissey is cool the rest of the world has to suffer through his monotone whining?
off with his head!

Anonymous said...

my little justification is that i can take whatever i give. obviously not troo. btw wtf is up with my repeated vowels in place of real spellings (tiite, troo, etc?). moratorium proclaimed.