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The Case for Hating Mike Posner (& Everyone Else)

Posted by Nathan S. on 01/13/14 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, RefinedHate, Mike Posner

The rise of the internet has coincided with the rise of hate, or at least the rise of hate, hatred and haterdrom as a full-fledged cultural phenomenon. And of course it's terrible that people have to watch all sorts of racist garbage and death threats go scrolling through their timelines. Of course. But with the rise of hatred has come the rise of the anti-hater movement, a movement aimed at silencing that hatred, real or imagined, that seems to fuel so much of hip-hop now. Personally, I credit Shawty Lo with truly establishing anti-haterization in rap, although its roots run decades deeper. 

But the anti-haters, like a revolutionary who seizes control of the government and then ends up becoming the dictator he overthrew, has become as restrictive and aggressive as the most hate-filled haters. It's become almost impossible to level criticism at someone, or even just say you'd don't like something, without being drowned out in choruses of "Hater!". And in the process we've not only been robbed of the chance to hold our culture to a high-standard, but we've also lost the joy that comes with hating on someone for no real reason. 

For me, as I was recently reminded, the person is hate for no reason is Mike Posner. 

Let me be clear, I have no real, good, objective reason to hate Mike Posner so much. Sure, everytime he sings I end up doing some version of the Mugatu - "HE CAN'T SING! DOESN'T ANYONE NOTICE THIS? I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS - but really, who fucking cares? There are a lot of artists on this beautiful Earth of ours with hit singles who can't sing particularly well, and are much more deserving of my time and energy. Or people who actually do harm beyond the occasional annoying song.

And yet...fuck this guy: 

And the thing is, it really doesn't have that much to do with Posner specifically. Over the years, as I've pondered what it is about Mikey that incites my ire, I think more than anything it's that he reminds me of every d-bag guy I went to high school with. Case in point, sophomore year this dude Malcolm* had his locker next to mine, and he would always lean against his locker talking to people in a way that would block just enough of my locker that I'd have to ask him to move. And the first couple times it was whatever, but after the tenth time it was like, "Yo, you see me coming to my locker, how about you fucking move without me having to tell you to?"

That shit went on for a solid year, both of us battling for our little block of locker real estate, and while I'd like to believe I eventually won that particular war, that war took its toll on my psyche. And Mike Posner really reminds me of Malcolm, and all of the Malcolms of the world, and so even though he obviously has nothing to do with Malcolm and what happened in high school, fuck him. 

And once you have it in your head that you hate someone, everything they do starts to confirm your bias. Just like A-Rod's slap confirmed everything I hated about him because of who I imagined A-Rod to be - a whiny, cheater willing to do anything to win - when Posner does that "cross my arms and use my hands to push up my biceps and make them look bigger" move, I not only notice, I think, "I knew it. He's exactly that kind of dude that does the bicep push up move." And then my hate deepens. 

It should go without saying that I don't actually wish any personal harm towards Posner. In fact, I don't know him personally. At all. He probably spends his weekends volunteering at shelters for puppies with leukemia and has done more good in the world than I ever will. Or maybe he's secretly a serial murderer. Who knows? I definitely don't, but sure, in a vacuum I'll give Posner every benefit of the doubt. If we ever ended up drinking together it might turn out that he's a good guy and we'd become BFFs and a double-rainbow would grace the skies and the heavens would sing.  

But it doesn't really matter, because I don't want to know what Posner is really like. I want to hate him without complication, without guilt or thought, because it relieves some stress. Sure, I could do yoga or drink herbal tea or some shit, but I get the same effect without any of the work by just occasionally saying, "Ha ha, fuck that guy." 

And I think that's what the hater-police don't really understand. That there's a kind of hate that's not based on jealousy or actual hatred or anything even remotely objective, it's based on catharsis. We haters are completely capable of keeping our hatred self-contained, to turn it on and off like a stress-release valve. In fact, I think we're all a little better off with a small number of people to hate, whether it's an athlete, a pop singer who can't sing or that one guy at work who's always flipping a pencil around in his fingers and you have day dreams about snapping that fucking pencil because OK WE GET IT YOU CAN SPIN A FUCKING PENCIL AREN'T YOU JUST PROOF OF GOD'S MIRACULOUS WORKS. 

But instead of snapping that pencil and potentially getting fired or getting suspended over a locker-related fist fight, isn't it much better to just yell things at athletes or musicians or random annoying people on the bus with no actual impact on our lives? Do we really want to repress that hatred? Doesn't Mike Posner and all the people we hate have those people they hate - don't they all have their Malcolms, including Malcolm?  

So I say hate on haters; I'm certainly going to keep hating on Mike Posner without reservation. So who do you hate?

* Names have not been changed to protect anyone. What up Malcolm? 

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