Hate watching

by Lorin Michel Friday, January 6, 2017 8:53 PM

I heard a new term today. I was at the salon, sitting with color in my hair, and the girls were all talking about feeling obligated to watch a show they no longer like because they've already invested so much time in it. I smiled because I understood the phenomenon. But I admit, I also smiled because I thought what they were talking about was going to be about something else, especially given the current state of the world, of politics and of our screwed up system in general.

The new term was hate watching. I thought it was the act of watching nasty people do horrible things to other people. It would make sense. Like those four teenagers in Chicago who tortured another and broadcast it live on Facebook. That's hate and those who watched it without doing anything about it we're watching hate in real time. I don't know all the details but I do know that the police were able to press charges against the four perpetrators. I think I read where they were actually being detained on another charge.

We are a country of voyeurs. We watch. We're embarrassed by the sappy and romantic and horrified by the horrific but we stay in our lanes; we don't disturb our own peace. We wallow and marinate in all of it.

Kevin and I are voyeurs. We sit behind our glass walls or stand out on our deck and we watch the comings and goings in Mira Vista Estates. We see neighbors come and go; we see when delivery trucks are headed in and up our hill, or to anyone else. We know when someone gets a visitor or a new car; we see who's walking their dog when. We watch but in this case we don't hate. There's no reason to. We like our neighbors and we love where we live.

In the salon today, Meg was talking about how she watched the first season of Scandal and how she was completely hooked. Couldn't wait for the second season. But when that second season premiered, she didn't like it as well. She kept watching though because she felt invested, and guilty for not liking it. It's sort of like having a good friend you don't really want to spend time with anymore. You feel guilty because you have history; because that person - or show - mattered. It meant something. You were invested.

But eventually displeasure turns to hate because you feel trapped, you feel obligated and while you’re not invested anymore, you can quite let go. You hate yourself for it. You hate the other person for it. In the case of a television show, you hate the show, and you hate yourself for continuing to watch.

Evidently hate watching is a new thing and practiced by a number of people. We hate but we keep watching and waiting for something to get good again.

So maybe it is like our current political situation after all.

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