Question: Who do you hate?
Your response to my question was probably, “I don’t hate anybody.” And my response is, “Hmm, that’s weird that you don’t hate Satan or Hitler.” Burn. I was able to burn you like that because I knew you were going to be self-righteous and dishonest. At least you’re in good company, though, because I think most people would answer that way. No one wants to be thought of as someone who hates. And believe me, I’m not arguing that you should hate people; duh, you shouldn’t. I’m simply arguing that most of us probably do hate other people, even if we say we don’t. And I think we say we don’t in part because the word “hate” has in recent years acquired a more sinister, ugly meaning than the actual definition supports. To prove my point, I want to turn to the dictionary to see what “hate” really means. (But not before I bring you the love of the Stake Presidency.)
Dictionary.com defines the verb “hate” as “to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.” See? That’s not so bad! So in telling me you don’t hate anyone you’re looking me in the eye with a straight face and claiming that you don’t even intensely dislike anyone? If you can do that then you are either to be congratulated for your goodness or pitied for your lack of self-knowledge. And frankly, I’m leaning towards pity.
You’re probably now muttering to yourself, “Well, Mr. Honest Self-Inventory, who do you hate?” I’ve given this question some thought, and here is my honest answer:
I hate three people. I’m not proud of it, I’m working on it, but it’s true. One of them I passionately dislike, one of them I feel great hostility for, and one of them is someone I actually detest. The name of the person who I detest is Kobe Bryant.
Is it absurd to detest someone who you’ve never met? Yes. I don’t care. I just hate him so much. Why? I’ve been trying to answer this question, and the best I can come up with is:
* He is an utter and complete fake. From the “joshing around with his teammates” that his publicist obviously forces him to do to the staged moments where his wife and kids greet him after a game, there’s never a moment where you feel like you’re looking at a real person experiencing real emotion. Look, I get that part of being a celebrity in this day and age is presenting to the public an image that may be only partially true or even completely false. But with Kobe – as with Tiger – I have the distinct impression that the image is all there is. It’s not that they’re jerks who pretend to be nice; it’s that they don’t even know if they’re nice or jerks. They’re ciphers who long ago lost the ability to tell the difference between their thoughts and desires and preferences and whatever is best for their Q rating.
* Look, we don’t know what happened in that hotel room in Colorado. But at the very least he cheated on his wife. Do 99% of professional athletes cheat on their wives? Yes. But with most of them we can pretend that they don’t because we don’t know if they’re in the 99% or the 1%. With Kobe we can’t do that anymore, and we’re constantly reminded that we can’t do that because he insists on parading his wife and kids around in public at every opportunity. (And let’s be honest: when you’re talking about someone who you hope cheated on his wife because the other possibility is much more morally repugnant, you’re talking about a first class dirtbag.)
* He’s a big fat baby whiner. Honestly one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Kobe, we all know that the refs are in charge of keeping you safe and helping you win games; can’t you at least have the grace to acknowledge this by not weeping tears of bitter sorrow when they try to make us think they’re not in the tank for you by not whistling the occasional non-existent foul?
* If you honestly don’t hate Kobe Bryant, that’s fine. That just tells me you’ve never seen him make this face.
He could minister to the lepers of Calcutta for the rest of his days on the earth, and that face would still compel me to hate him with every particle of my soul.
I hate you, Kobe.