June 26, 2019

The Psychology of Hate-Watching

“In case you didn’t notice, people seem pretty angry lately. There’s the vitriol you see printed on T-shirts and chanted at Trump rallies and the “Can you believe he said that?” tweets and “I know!” replies. There was the torrent of abuse poured on Leslie Jones and the cast of Ghostbusters when the female-led remake came out and the heated resentment aimed at the Star Wars team for featuring Kelly Marie Tran, an Asian-American actor, in The Last Jedi. There are the people meme-ing Tom Brady kissing his son on the lips and the people who are still burning effigies of Roger Goodell after Brady’s suspension over Deflategate. And don’t even get us started on whatever is going on in Cardi B’s Instagram comments.

In Anti-Fandom: Dislike and Hate in the Digital Age, out January 8, Melissa Click, an assistant professor of communications at Gonzaga University, delivers a collection of 15 essays by scholars exploring the many ways there are to hate, and why we love to do it.

Medium: How did you get interested in the art of hatred?

Melissa Click: It started when I was working on my PhD dissertation, which was on Martha Stewart fans. It was pre-prison and pre-conviction, and I thought, “Why is Martha Stewart so popular with women? It seems like women have so many choices for their lives today, and [yet] there’s this real resurgence in focusing on the home.””

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