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Left Knuckles: Hate

Tuesday, 29th May, 2001

I don't hate anything or anybody.

Hate is a totally negative emotion that holds no constructive purpose whatsoever. I may loathe, despise, scorn; but I don't hate. For purposes of this piece, however, here are things that really get my goat.

1. Intolerance

Almost a synonym for intolerance in so many ways, this is the most obvious choice I could make. It makes its appearance in the world at large in so many ways, but can be summed up in one short phrase: 'fear of the different'.

As someone who is fascinated by what is different from the norm, and proud to be different, that should suggest that I would be the target for intolerance. It happens, but not very often: I'm just not that obvious a target to make it commonplace. After all, I'm a straight white Englishman who doesn't do drugs. I'm more discriminated against for the fact that I have long hair, or don't drink, or have a mullet. Shrug.

I would be surprised if there's a person on this planet who hasn't been intolerant at some point or other. It is something that can be dealt with, however, with will alone. I found that out quite some time ago when I worked certain things through my mind. Sometimes I do have to work at the results, making it an ongoing process, but I'm happy with it.

You see, in Halifax we have a little race problem. It's a highly multicultural town, but most of the foreign cultures that we've ingested have become transparent. We have many eastern Europeans for instance - Poles, Ukrainians or White Russians - but outside of the odd ethnic church, they don't stand out. They're just people, just like the rest of us. The same applies to Caribbeans, Jews or Chinese, who all keep their own cultures alive whilst also embracing ours.

In an incredibly vague generalisation, the same does not apply to our Pakistani population. Wherever there is trouble, there seems to a Pakistani involved somehow. It's an unfair observation of course, and it's the one that racism springs from, as it becomes very easy to hate Pakistanis for all the damage they do. As a kid, I fell for that easy option. I never incited a riot or beat up a Paki, but I was prejudiced just the same in my own quiet way.

The solution came when I realised that it simply wasn't true that the Pakistanis cause all this trouble. It is caused by a bunch of idiots, many of whom coincidentally happened to be Pakistani. Their race has no bearing on the matter in the slightest. That the proportion of idiots to non-idiots is very high is merely a statistic; they are idiots by virtue of choice not by race. So there ended my prejudice.

Of course, intolerance will never be stamped out until western culture proclaims that it's acceptable to be different. Celebrate your differences and be at peace with who you are; then it becomes almost impossible to hate someone else for being different.

2. Roseanne

I loathe this woman - there's simply no other term for it - and that applies to the television character as well as the actor behind it, as the two seem to be almost identical.

I've talked often in these pieces about the United States and the stereotypes that don't die easily. Well, to me Roseanne is the epitome of the stereotype. She is brash, rude and obnoxious to the point of disgust. I cringe every time she opens her mouth.

I remember one episode of her show that I had been forced to watch that contained a moral lesson of sorts. She had upset her neighbour in typical fashion, but actually accepted her fault for a change and went round to apologise, thus demonstrating to us all the power of humility. Unfortunately her neighbour threw her humility back in her face. We were supposed to see Roseanne as the wronged victim, but I found myself cheering for the neighbour. It just isn't possible for Roseanne to apologise with a sneer like that on her face. Bitch.

So if Roseanne is the stereotype personified, should I therefore loathe all Americans? Well no, because the stereotype is flawed beyond all recognition. I've travelled in thirty states of the union and I haven't seen one person remotely as obnoxious as Roseanne. Almost everyone I've met has been as far into the positive as she is into the negative. I think most Americans are wonderful people, whereas I'm not sure that Roseanne is even a human being.

How did she even get a show in the first place?

3. Smoking

I don't even pretend to understand this one in the slightest. I just know beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's the most obnoxious habit known to mankind and that it has probably done as much to destroy courtesy in modern society as anything else.

If you take a white sheet, drape it over a smouldering fire and leave it there for a while, what condition do you think it will end up in? Welcome to your lungs, smokers. If you want to kill yourself slowly and horribly, go right ahead, but please have the courtesy not to take me with you. I am rather attached to whatever it is in my body that gives me life and I do not want to see it disappear on account of your weakness.

And weakness it is, pure and simple. Anyone who says that they can't give up smoking is lying through their stinking yellow teeth. Yeah, it's addictive, but will is powerful. Then again if you started smoking on account of peer pressure or because you thought the Marlboro Man looked cute, then you aren't likely to have a heck of a lot of will in the first place. Find the self-worth that's inside you just as it's inside every single person on this planet and you'll find all the will you need right there. Don't put yourself down like that - you're all you've got.

Now, don't misunderstand me: I don't care whether you smoke or not. I believe in freedom of choice beyond any bill of rights in existence. If you want to smoke, fine - it's none of my business. Go right ahead. Kill yourself off quickly so that the average IQ of the world can go up a little. If you don't want to smoke but still do, you're a weak idiot - nobody else can make you quit but you. Just do it and discover how strong you can really be.

What I care about is you smoking around me. That becomes my business whether I like it or not. Have some courtesy, if there's any left in this world, and keep the smoking in private. Please. If you smoke in public but can still cry out against people playing Eminem at full volume, or walking the streets naked, or swearing vehemently within earshot, or staggering around drunk or stoned, or trying to convince you of the love of Jesus, or begging for enough money to buy a cup of tea, or any one of a hundred more common complaints, then you're a damn hypocrite. You are worse than each and every one of those people. None of them do me any harm whatsoever. You do.

How about taking it a step further? You were shocked and stunned and horrified at the massacre at Columbine High? Kids killing kids? Yeah, sick, wasn't it, but you know what? If you smoke in public, you do exactly the same thing every single day of your life. The only difference is that your victims don't die quickly, rather suffer slowly and painfully until death becomes a blessed release. I've seen cancer victims die. I don't want to see it again. Wake up, idiot.

4. Fashion

Wow, I'm blistering. Watch the feedback roll in. Are you a fashion victim too? Good, good.

Now, there's a positive side to trends and fashions and peer pressure. When the sun comes out nowadays, beautiful young ladies appear as if from nowhere wearing very little to cover their assets. Thank you, Brittney.

There's a pretty major negative side too though. Unlike smoking, fashion doesn't hurt anyone, so it's not a big deal, but it still has a subversive impact on the future of the race. Wow, that sounds major, huh? Not so, but it's still a noticeable effect. Blindly obeying peer pressure leads to suppression of the mind. That's what I find scary about fashion.

As far as I'm concerned, wear what you like, eat what you like, listen to what you like. Get tattooed, get pierced, or don't do either. Smoke, drink, or even do drugs - after all many drugs are far less dangerous than alcohol and nicotine, though not all, folks, not all. At the end of the day, do what you want, but do it because you want to do it, not because somebody else told you to. That's the worst reason in the world.

After all, it's your brain, your mind, your body. They don't belong to anyone else and nobody else should have any say. It's all up to you. And remember that because it's your say, it's your responsibility too. Don't take this as a free-for-all chance to do everything that you probably shouldn't. If you're old enough to do these things, you're old enough to understand the consequences.

If you want to drop out of school without graduating, fine - but don't expect me to pay your welfare when you can't get a job. If you want to smoke, fine - but don't do it around me. If you want to do drugs, fine - but don't expect me to pay to put you through detox. If you get someone pregnant, fine - but look after your child with all the love and care in your heart. And if you choose to stay clean and turn your back on every drug in the book, I applaud you but don't expect a prize.

Welcome to real life, kids. Be everything you can be. Don't be anyone else.

5. Banks

The internet has proved to be a revolution on many fronts. It's redefined the way we do things. When is someone going to redefine the way we bank, in accordance with internet ethics?

Other than the government's tax system, the most obvious perpetrators of mass thievery are the banks. Soon they have to be surpassed by a better system of management and I pray I live to see the day.

The strange thing is that it's not the big things but the little things that get me. A bank is a business just like any other, and the purpose of a business is to make money. I understand that and I'm happy with the concept, but there are many ways to make money. Mine is kept at a bank who gets to use it however they see fit, with just one caveat. Essentially I'm saying to the bank, 'Take all my money and do what you like with it. Earn money off it; sit on it; spend it; invest it; have fun with it. I don't care. Just keep it safe and let me have it back any time I need.'

With all that freedom, can't they simplify the system somewhat? Can't they get rid of all these stupid charges and delays? Can't they accept that without my money and the money of all my fellow customers, they wouldn't be able to exist? How about opening at a time that doesn't coincide with my work schedule?

I work with computers and I know how fast systems work. I know for instance that cheques should not take seven working days to clear; they should clear (or not) instantly, just like a card payment. I know that if I pay enough cash in on the same day that a payment comes out, it should not be bounced. I know that being overdrawn should not be subject to a huge set fee, rather a rolling fee depending on how much the account is overdrawn and how long for. I know that I should be able to log onto the net and transfer money from one bank to another instantly and without charge.

These aren't revolutionary changes; these are simple, obvious things that would make the customer far happier about using a bank. Now someone set up a system that incorporates them and you have customer one, right here, right now.

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