Dislikers Anonymous

Coming of age in the Hatin’ Eighties, I tried to embrace the lovey-dovey touchy-feely ethos of the 1990s and the Aughts. I even used expressions like “It’s all good.”

But it didn’t take. I have to admit–I’m a hater; I dislike people. They bother me, they disappoint me, they lie, and I prefer nature. When I see land being cleared for new houses for happy new families I cry. When I hear about new breakthroughs in medical science I mutter “Yeah, and it’ll cost you your net worth.”

I’m not a Despiser, however, let’s get that clear. Just a hater. Ok, technically speaking, as per my 8th grade English teacher, I’m a Disliker, not a hater. Hitler was a hater. I’m not that.

(Moment of self-doubt:  Am I?)

But still, everyone knows the pathetic history of the word “dislike”–after hundreds of years it’s gotten nowhere–no one uses it! One of the English language’s poorest performing elements. People hate “dislike.” They despise it!

Google “Haters Anonymous” and you get hundreds of thousands of results including a new pop song. Google “Dislikers Anonymous” and you get nothing. Google “dislikers” and you get something about people on YouTube who don’t like the new pop songs.

In fact, I was going to call this piece “Haters Anonymous” but I had to cancel that when I saw there were so many other people with similar ideas. I’d hate to be part of a big group of people. I’d rather be alone, even if it means using that lamest of words, “dislike.”

Google “dislikers anonymous” now and all you’ll get is me, by myself, standing apart, terminally contemptuous, hopelessly negative, wallowing in pessimism, exulting in misanthropy.

I’m Not Rock-Worthy

I recently saw a TV documentary on Joseph Stalin. Yeah, he was bad, yeah he was brutal. But at least the movie of his life can be scored with a thrash-metal soundtrack.

Not everyone can say that. I certainly can’t:

“Alan Brech graduated from the University of Florida’s English Department–where he shredded it!”  [crashing guitars howl and wail]

No, that’ll never work. I’ll never get a hard rock soundtrack to accompany the “story” of my lame suburban life. ‘Never happen, as the grunts used to say back in the world’s most rock-n-roll-worthy war, the Vietnam Conflict (even if most of the actual participants listened to country, soul and Asian folk).

Ironically, while much of the really great early rock music of the 60’s and 70’s was anti-war, now the most rock-n-roll thing is war. According to everything I’ve seen on TV–and that’s quite a lot, thank you very much–war fucking rocks. Advanced weapons systems rock. Dangerous missions rock. Heavy casualties really rocks!

But not every great thing rocks. It’s not that easy. Take Tolkien, for example. Yeah, it’s great, and yeah it seems like it should rock. But it doesn’t. Put a rock soundtrack on anything from Tolkien and the result is corny stupidity causing internal cringes of embarrassment that are the exact opposite of rocking out.

Many a near-great Zeppelin tune has been marred by an unfortunate reference to Mordor and Gollum. Ok, it was only one song, but look how it cast a pall over all their other stuff.

And poor Rush. Poor, poor Rush…

Or opera. I don’t like it but for people who do it must seem great and powerful–just like rock–so what could be a better marriage than rock and opera? Wrong again. Tommy can’t hear you and none of us are listening anymore either.

It’s debatable whether Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart really rocked or not. Yes, Falco made a good case in the abstract, but no one has yet attempted to score a visual portrayal of WAM with rock music. It’s doubtful whether it would work for anything other than his mental breakdown scenes.

Because mental breakdowns rock.

Apparently many things we despise and fear–war, mental breakdowns, crime, stress, addiction, hopelessness, maybe the Orcs from Tokien–really rock.

Butterflies, not so much, 1968 notwithstanding. A bird chomping down on a butterfly with butterfly juice squirting out in slow motion–yeah, that would rock.

So choose your soundtrack and live it well.