March 4th, 2009

cass, can you not

Two variants on a theme, and an unexpected not-so-mini-ramble

The Pleasures of Hating, Laure-Anne Bosselaar

I hate Mozart. Hate him with that healthy
pleasure one feels when exasperation has

crescendoed, when lungs, heart, throat,
and voice explode at once: I hate that!

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Love and Hate, by Ogden Nash

Love is a word that is constantly heard,
Hate is a word that is not.
Love, I am told, is more precious than gold.
Love, I have read, is hot.
But hate is the verb that to me is superb,
And Love but a drug on the mart.
Any kiddie in school can love like a fool,
But Hating, my boy, is an Art.

That's... not exactly true, as the high number of hateful idiots is a rather obvious feature of the world, but I think they are both talking of the fond hate of equal adversaries that would risk their lives for each other because their battle is so much fun. The world 'civilized' has plenty of well-deserved negative connotations ---civilized societies have done very terrible things in the name of civilization--- but I'm naive or traditionalist enough to find pleasure in at least the idea of civilized behavior, including this sort of hate, as a sort of behavioral/cognitive aesthetic, besides being an (imperfect, incomplete, flawed) political and moral ideal. (This whole paragraph greatly underestimates the influence and importance the whole 'being civilized' meme has for me, both in a formative and in an aspirational sense, but I didn't want to gloss over the huge problematic aspects of that particular human development, specially when praising something as historically and inexcusably bloody thing as 'civilized hate.' Don't throw away your tools because they are stained with blood, but don't pretend they are clean either.)
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