The Internet: Why do we Love to Hate?

One thing we learn from studying history and politics is that nothing unites a diverse group of people better or faster than having a common enemy that they can blame and focus their attention on.  Factions will bicker and argue with each other ad nauseum but as soon as they have a common enemy, they will put all differences aside and come together to fight this new foe.
Nothing shows us this plainer than the internet.
And for whatever reason one thing the internet seems to love to hate is the Twilight series.  Why is this?  What is it about these books and now movies that engenders so much animosity and outright rage?
I will admit that I have read the books, all four of them.  I enjoyed them well enough.  They are not the greatest books I have read, and I don’t really have any desire to read them again, but they are not the worst novels I have read either.  I had a discussion with some theatre friends of mine once about the Twilight series and I think we came up with the best description of Twilight:

Twilight is candy. It’s fluff.  It’s not serious, epic literature, nor does it pretend to be.  It’s throwaway literature, and that’s okay.  One friend went as far as saying that Twilight is like candy made with real fruit, it hints at something substantial, but doesn’t actually deliver.  I like that description.  As I was reading Twilight, I kept thinking that it could have been so much more, but wasn’t.  It mentions the fact that Edward has experienced a hundred years of history, but his character offers no evidence that he was affected at all by this.  And the fact that he is still attending high school really bothered me.  For the sake of the novel, I understand it, it is supposed to be about a high school girl falling in love, and that requires a high school guy, but really, instead of repeating high school over and over again, he could have spent his decades going to college repeatedly, studying different subjects, becoming an expert on anything and eventually everything.  But, instead, he sits through high school biology for the thirtieth time.  Really? It was that fascinating?  And it would have been really easy to hide the fact that he doesn’t age in a college setting — he wouldn’t change but those around him would, and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

My personal problem with the novel is that I feel like it was published too soon.  It has a good concept, well-developed characters and all of the elements that make a solid story, but it still feels a little — I don’t know, sloppy.  Like it still needs a good edit and revision or two.  The ending of the first book also seemed very rushed to me, like it was all resolved too quickly, too soon, too easily.  And as I thought about that, I think what happened is that so much time was spent in the beginning of the book establishing setting and character and with Bella discovering that Edward is a vampire and all that that entails, that by the time the villains and the main conflict was introduced the novel was almost over.  The movie does a better job of handling this, introducing the villains earlier and giving the audience a sense that there is a larger problem than just a boy at school who doesn’t seem to like Bella.

All of this aside, there is nothing really about this book that should incite so much anger and outright rage.  They’re not the greatest books, yeah, but they are by no means the worst.  They are popular, which probably is why they have been attacked so much.  People always seem to dislike what is popular, usually as a way of showing that they are somehow above popularity, better than what is popular.  Why do we love to hate so much, what is it about coming together to insult and ridicule things that we enjoy so much?  Really, if you don’t like a book, that’s okay, you don’t have to read it.   But, why do people have to rant and rave and pour so much energy into hating it?  Does it make them feel that much better about themselves that they have found people they feel they can hate and bully and pick on?

I really don’t get it. But we see this with just about everything on the internet.  I usually have a policy of not reading the comments on any news article or post that I find interesting because inevitably by the third or fourth post, if not sooner, there is somebody who is so full of hate and ignorance and wants to just shout at the world.  I think it has to do with the anonymous nature of the internet, the fact that no one really know who you are that gives people the feeling that they can say whatever they want.  You are protected in your anonymity in a way that you would not be were you to speak in person.

Can’t we all just get along?  Why does there have to be so much division and taking sides in this world?  It seems like everywhere you turn you are being told to join one sort of group against another.  But I believe in being kind, in being nice, in being fair to all.  I believe that we can and should do more to find more in common with each other, more reasons to say yes to each other, and fewer reasons to yell and scream and disagree.  I feel that if we really sat down and listened to each other we would find that we do indeed have more in common than we realize and could greet each other as we are: as equals, all of us children of God.  We do not need to be angry with each other, we can accept that others like things that we do not and that does not make them our enemies.

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