I’ve heard a lot about hate reading and hate watching over the past week.
In case you aren’t familiar with the terms, hate reading is the idea that a reader can despise a book and everything it stands for but still find pleasure in reading it all the way through.
Please note that this is very different from reading a book that you expected to love but did not. Hate reading is actively choosing to read a book that you expect to despise under the premise that you will enjoy hating it.
For example, I know several people who have told me that they are reading 50 SHADES OF GRAY for this very reason.
The same concept has been applied to television as well. This week, for example, Slate’s Stephen Metcalf acknowledged that he has been watching The Bachelor for years and explained that it is his hate watch.
I have been thinking about the concept of hate reading and hate watching and have arrived at a conclusion. Specifically, if you are in the business of hate reading or hate watching, I believe that you probably fall into one of two categories:
- You are utilizing the concept of hate reading or hate watching to conveniently explain your consumption of content that you genuinely enjoy but consider beneath your typical standards of good taste. It is a dishonest and hypocritical attempt to mitigate any potential embarrassment over the pleasure that one is garnering from what he or she has deemed low brow content.
- You have far too much free time on your hands. If you have hours to spend reading or watching content that you knowingly despise, you should seriously reconsider the way in which you are utilizing the precious minutes of your life. With all the great literature and film in this world, it strikes me as idiotic to spend even a minute consuming content that you know you will hate.
Despite my position on hate watching, my wife and I inadvertently hate watched a show this week called America’s Got Talent. Before switching over to Mad Men on the DVR, we caught about 45 seconds of the show, which turned out to be about 35 seconds longer than we should have given this piece of trash. We watched a troop of mimes and a guitarist get booed off the stage by an exceedingly angry audience and immediately felt like we needed to take a shower.
But it left me wondering how anyone could spend even a minute hate watching something with so much great film and television available, especially now that it’s possible to watch almost any television program or film ever produced from the comfort of your couch, and with the touch of a button.
I simply cannot accept that someone would read page after page or watch episode after episode of content that they loathe without also thinking that choice either utterly stupid or a pathetic attempt to mitigate embarrassment over something they love but feel they shouldn’t.
Either admit that you genuinely enjoy The Bachelor, Stephen Metcalf, or acknowledge that your life is so empty of meaningful pursuits that you have the kind of time on your hands to watch a television show that you genuinely despise.