Hate-Watching

I came across a blog post today about a new term that has been coined: hate-watching. Without even reading the blog article, I immediately understood what this term meant in its typical context.

We used to have one of these. Ah, simplicity! (image found via Google Image Search)

Doesn’t it accurately describe some of our so-called “reality” television programs nowadays and the pleasure that we derive from watching them? Some of these shows depict people at their most absurd and strange moments – realities that we don’t relate to at all, and further, never want to relate to. Yet we watch and derive pleasure from it… judging the people we are watching the whole time.

One aspect of this new term (or the “hate-” prefix in general) that is worth noting is that it relies on a very watered-down definition of “hate”. Hatred is a very serious thing (and sinful besides): anyone who engages in true hatred is in a sorry state indeed. This change in the meaning of “hate” has been taking place over a fairly long period of time; just think about how we have long used the word to talk about things we simply don’t like: “I hate going to the movies. It costs too much.” What you meant to say was, “I don’t like going to the movies…”

This change in the meaning of words (which is a normal process in any living language) is something that purists shun and conspiracy theorists fear. Somewhere in-between those two extremes we should find ourselves being a little cautious about uncritically adopting new phrases and terminology. For while the term “hate-watching” might not involve true hatred, it does possibly involve other sins: for example, judging. Or one of my personal favorites: recreational outrage. From the thrones in our living rooms we sit in judgment over the poor souls who foolishly expose their pathoses and neuroses for the whole world to see: “What an idiot!”, we think; “How could he be so stupid!?”; and so on.

While I do not ordinarily watch television, I am also not part of the “Kill Your TV” crowd; I just am rather chary of most television. We all need to think critically about the shows that we are watching and ask ourselves: Is this helping me get my poor soul to heaven? Is this good for me or for anyone else?

And God-forbid that we should ever “hate-watch” anything!

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2 Responses to Hate-Watching

  1. Warm Southern Breeze says:

    I don’t recollect when it was that I noticed I wasn’t watching teevee any longer. Perhaps it was in 2008. I honestly don’t recall. Teevee has been a curious thing to me on several levels. Number one, since it seems that most folks pay for teevee service from cable or satellite services, I’ve never fully comprehended why commercials are aired on the shows. I mean, after all they ARE paying to watch it. Were it me, I’d rather not pay to watch commercials. Second on the list is, as you suggest, the content of the programs which are found upon it. The technical quality of production, the story-telling, and the content or subject matter are, in my opinion, degenerative. Not degenerate, but degenerative. That is to say, it is characterized by a state of continual decline – one which is often irreversible – in the state of well-being.

    While I am not blithely unaware of the gross character of some of life’s stories, some of grossest which may be found in Scripture, I think it apropos to consider such stories in context of the greater scope. That being one of redemption, mercy and justice. And I mean to refer to the stories of human existence, not just those found in Scripture. Those found in Scripture do, after all, illustrate the depths and heights of human existence, the depravity and the holiness which may be seen and experienced by humanity.

    And on the whole, I must say I concur with your assessment, and share a similar sentiment.

  2. bob Boffa says:

    looks like our old Curtis Mathis… lasted 20 yrs…and for those 20 yrs the most violent things that came on was Road runner and Coyote, or a western! How times have changed! Now it seems we are Voyuers (sp)…grabbing a glimpse of others pain and suffering, or who killed who… Mother Angelica, Bishop Fulton Sheen pray for us… Life is worth living…even now!

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