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Why do we love to hate the highly successfull?

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message 1: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6191 comments I plan to hate this thread when it gets popular.


message 2: by aldenoneil (last edited Jun 14, 2012 09:40AM) (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments In terms of politicians, we love to see the self-righteous revealed as hypocrites.

In Lance's case, whether justified or not, people see him as a cheater, which falls along those same lines.

I cannot fathom, nor will I ever, why Chris Brown is still popular.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) aldenoneil wrote: "In terms of politicians, we love to see the self-righteous revealed as hypocrites."

This is true. But I think I just hate most politicians, period. heh.

aldenoneil wrote: "In Lance's case, whether justified or not, people see him as a cheater, which falls along those same lines."

I can honestly say I don't care if Lance Armstrong cheated or not. I was surprised to see him pop up in the news again...but I could care less.


aldenoneil wrote: "I cannot fathom, nor will I ever, why Chris Brown is still popular."

QFT.


message 4: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments I don't hate stuff that's popular. I hate stuff that sucks. It's not my fault that people have bad taste.


message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments I hate people who are successful who did it without skill or talent...Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Rappers, Tony Romo, Stephanie Meyer, Nic Cage, Most hypocritical politicians and religious figures, etc etc..


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) Paul wrote: "I hate people who are successful who did it without skill or talent...Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Rappers, Tony Romo, Stephanie Meyer, Nic Cage, Most hypocritical politicians and religiou..."

I would take rappers out of that equation. Rap is an art form and there are many very good rappers. Now...do the rappers we see in mainstream media fall into that category? Most often not. But as a general whole, its a skill and a talent that a lot of people do not have.


message 7: by Tangled (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 21 comments I think the desire to "look behind the curtain" and humanize the hero makes some of us gossip about celebrates or others who have been set up to be larger than life. Also, people just love juicy stories with a side of schadenfreude. I'm pretty sure this is why old myths of Greek gods (or other such entities) involved so much sex, violence and scandal. I think bloody Medea was the type of woman many loved to hate--sure she's a princess. priestess and her grandfather was a sun god, but she killed her brother for a boy toy who later dumped her, then she killed the other woman and her own kids to get even. She may seem like a successful sorceress and political dynamo, but that Medea--the stories people tell.

I think we see it in different form in modern fiction. When a character goes "Dark Phoenix" it may not be merely the desire to see the mighty fail, but in insisting that dark is the flip side of light we deny a perfect "Mary Sue" and enjoy the flaws. There is a certain aspect of the antihero that speaks to this. Right now I'm thinking of The Watchmen more than I am thinking of scifi proper. It's not exactly the same theme as what you are describing, but it is in the same general neighborhood.


message 8: by Dazerla (new)

Dazerla | 220 comments I don't love to hate successful individuals. What I do hate is the successful who decide that because they are successful--or from a successful family--that they no longer have to follow the rules. Whether or it be tax dodging, bribery, or just behaving like an asshat because they have the money to get out of trouble. I know that these individuals exist at every strata it just I guess it gets under my skin more because they have the money and poltical pull to get away with behavior an ordinary person never would. And that it doesn't make Americans look all that good to the rest of the world.


message 9: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) Well consider which story seems more compelling:

"The Rise of..."

vs

"The Rise and Fall of..."

Perhaps we're just hardwired to prefer tragedy over success.

Though I wager it's more in line with the idea that while we like to have idols, we tend to also be jealous of them. We put them up, and then we realize that we're not up there with them. So, because it is often impossible to ascend to their level, we seek to pull them down to ours.


message 10: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Paul wrote: "I hate people who are successful who did it without skill or talent...Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Rappers, Tony Romo, Stephanie Meyer, Nic Cage, Most hypocritical politicians and religiou..."

Mostly agree till you got to Nic Cage... Love him as an actor. Next, Lord of War, National Treasure, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, City of Angels, Leaving Las Vegas, etc. Even Ghostrider isn't too bad. What diversity - some funny, hilarious, others as serious as it gets. It takes talent and skill.

Next is my favorite.


message 11: by Pickle (new)

Pickle | 192 comments im scottish.. i have to hate its all we have :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqgkZD...


message 12: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6191 comments But E. L. James is a genius.


message 13: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments Anne wrote: "Mostly agree till you got to Nic Cage... Love him as an actor. Next, Lord of War, National Treasure, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, City of Angels, Leaving Las Vegas, etc. Even Ghostrider isn't too bad. What diversity - some funny, hilarious, others as serious as it gets. It takes talent and skill.

Next is my favorite"


I was with you up until "Next is my favorite." :)

I get the idea that there's not a script that Nic Cage would turn down. I kinda respect him for that. I think he's a very good actor and enjoy pretty much all the movies you listed (with the exception of Next and the National Treasure films). Bringing Out the Dead is probably my personal favorite Nic Cage films. It is also one of my favorite films of all time.


message 14: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Why does the mainstream media construe reasonable criticism of successful people as hate?

Srsly though, successful people are just losers who can't handle poverty and obscurity.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) Kate wrote: "Srsly though, successful people are just losers who can't handle poverty and obscurity."

I LOL'd at this.


message 16: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3506 comments Mod
We have a term for that phenomenon here in Australia.
Tall Poppy Syndrome a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peer

Genuine stars are generally exempt from this unless they misbehave or act like a wanker.

Those who are most likely to fall foul of "Tall Poppy Syndrome" are those people who try to turn their 15 minutes of fame into a career without the talent to back it up.

As for Lance Armstrong, I'm still in the "innocent until proven guilty" camp. I hope he is cleared.


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) Tassie Dave wrote: "We have a term for that phenomenon here in Australia.
Tall Poppy Syndrome a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents..."


Great post. I like it. And I agree.


message 18: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Le Sacksee (campersacks) | 58 comments Envy. A powerful human trait.


message 19: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 372 comments Dharmakirti wrote: "Anne wrote: "Mostly agree till you got to Nic Cage... Love him as an actor. Next, Lord of War, National Treasure, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, City of Angels,..."

Nic cage should just fire his hairstylist and get a new one


message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Dharmakirti wrote: "Anne wrote: "Mostly agree till you got to Nic Cage... Love him as an actor. Next, Lord of War, National Treasure, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, City of Angels,..."

Bringing out the Dead is one of his tougher films, Well done but not one I want to watch often.

I like Next -- PKD is always worth watching more than once.


message 21: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) FertileSpade wrote: "I suspect that many of the cyclists have and will continue to do so."

You don't even need to suspect it. Look how many of the Tour winners of the past several years were stripped of their titles.

Lance isn't a particularly nice guy, but he has been incredibly successful as a symbol of beating a disease that beats so many others. The tarnishing of that is the real tragedy if these allegations prove true. If he was just just some cycling phenom who won seven tours in a row, this would just be a sports story, slightly bigger than Contador or Landis because of the sheer number of wins, but still little more than a cycling story. But Lance isn't just that, which is why I find it hard to take any pleasure in the story. In fact, I am hokey enough to still believe in sports heroes, however flawed they may be, and as a cycling fan, the seemingly endless procession of disillusionments is simply wearying at this point. And the fact that these allegations DON't tarnish Lance's story as a cancer survivor make it that much sadder that they actually DO tarnish it.

As for delighting in the collapse of successful people in general -- it's a bit of culture in which I don't really take part. I won't pretend I don't feel a wave of satisfaction when some dreadful, powerfully rich crooked politician or business person finally gets a bit of comeuppance, but in terms of celebs and whatnot -- like reality TV (which is the rise and fall of non-famous famous people), it's just not my thing. I still got too many Henry Silva movies to watch.


message 22: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6191 comments Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.


message 23: by Boots (new)

Boots (rubberboots) | 499 comments Haters gonna hate.


message 24: by P. Aaron (new)

P. Aaron Potter (paaronpotter) | 585 comments I disagree with your premise, twofold: I don't think it's "human nature," nor even a societal constant, to hate the successful. That sounds like Ayn Rand's universe, not the real one. Lance Armstrong is being taken to task because he may well have been guilty of cheating, not because he was good at what he did: witness the fact that he has been lauded for decades for his achievements.

False premise number two: that this is particularly germaine to sci fi/fantasy discussion.


message 25: by P. Aaron (new)

P. Aaron Potter (paaronpotter) | 585 comments FertileSpade wrote: "do you understand the difference between a question and a declarative statement?"

Certainly. Do you understand that a rhetorical question with a false premise is not really a question, but a statement masquerading as one?


message 26: by Boots (new)

Boots (rubberboots) | 499 comments P. Aaron wrote: "...I don't think it's "human nature," nor even a societal constant, to hate the successful."

I would argue that it's a core part of "human nature," not just with humans, but all living things. Everyone is competing for resources and when a person can't compete they become resentful towards the competition.

I do agree that even though the people listed are successful; they are not guilty of being successful, they are guilty of behaving badly.


message 27: by Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth (last edited Jun 14, 2012 04:33PM) (new)

Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1861 comments From a personal viewpoint, I tend to resent (sometimes consciously, but often subconsciously) the assumption that because something is popular, I will like it, and that resentment makes me likely to view something with a more critical eye than I might otherwise. I'm not sure why I have that reaction, but I suspect it is related to the idea of social grouping, and where I believe I belong - if I feel a lot of stupid people think something is wonderful (gosh, this sounds incredibly insulting and condescending) then I don't want to be grouped with those idiots by agreeing with them. I've also noted the reaction when people who I don't feel know me well enough tell me 'you'll love this' - it makes me feel like a person is making snap judgements about me based on little evidence, and I feel the need to prove that I don't belong in the boxes they are mentally placing me inside. On the other hand, if the opinion of someone I respect guides me towards a book (I was thinking more of books at this point, but it works for other things too) I will generally view it with a more generous eye in the hopes of grouping myself with that person.

Of course, I like to THINK that all the above isn't true, and that I can judge each work by it's merits alone, but its harder than you think to resist looking at things that way, and even the best works have flaws you can notice if you look closely enough.

From a media point of view, I think people are hard-wired to take more note of things which might threaten us and our lives/beliefs, and I think that might be why "Did Star Starlett touch that child" style headlines grab more attention than "Star Starlett gives a million to charity". That Star Starlett gave money to charity doesn't really affect us, but what if she touches OUR child? Not to mention that before this we held the dear opinion that she is a good person and the evidence that we might be wrong makes us feel deceived, so we react with an angry, emotional response.


message 28: by Javier (new)

Javier Quintana (javier_quintana) | 43 comments I'm going to try and push this topic to a literary context.

It seems to me that the most successful authors are also the most hated ones. If I take a look at the "Best Books Ever" listopia here on Goodreads, I see lots of hated authors there: Stephenie Meyer, Rowling J. K., Dan Brown, Ayn Rand, George R.R. Martin

Of course, some of the hate is more deserved than other, but it seems that the more popular you are, the more haters you are going to have.

Is it because of envy? Of being against the mainstream? Because of thinking there are authors that deserve to be there that are not? Because of really thinking that they are terrible writers? Even when you have not really given a fair chance to their books?

There is no correlation between popularity and skill, but there seems to be between popularity and hate.


message 29: by Javier (new)

Javier Quintana (javier_quintana) | 43 comments Yes, the list is endless. It seems that the more loved you are, the more hate you are going to get. Which is why probably people capable of great things are often afraid to do them, because we don't want to be hated. So the lesson here is don't be afraid to be hated, because that's the only way you are going to be loved.

That was great. I'm going to stop writing before I say something stupid.


message 30: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Crichton deserves to be hated -- he was a luddite whose work encourages people to embrace anti-scientific principles in the mistaken belief that his books taught them something. See his views on climate change in particular.


message 31: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 372 comments FertileSpade wrote: "Tangled wrote: "I think the desire to "look behind the curtain" and humanize the hero makes some of us gossip about celebrates or others who have been set up to be larger than life. Also, people j..."

Denethor is one we hate, whithout trying to see his human side; he had to rule a kingdom, whithout being allowed to take the crown, he protected it the whole time, he lost his son, the one he was so proud of, almost lost another. But all many readers see is a grumpy, sociopat that tries to burn himself alive


message 32: by Anne (last edited Jun 15, 2012 07:58AM) (new)

Anne | 336 comments Sean wrote: "Crichton deserves to be hated -- he was a luddite whose work encourages people to embrace anti-scientific principles in the mistaken belief that his books taught them something. See his views on cl..."

Not true. His accusers have not read "State of Fear". His viewpoints were valid for the hype at the time.

Never anti-science. Always anti=fraud.


message 33: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments No, scientists at the time the book came out were calling BS, and they were doing so in response to specific points in the book. I'm amused that the proponent of hard science fiction is the one defending Crichton here.


message 34: by Boots (new)

Boots (rubberboots) | 499 comments I agree with Sean. Crichton has been consistently anti-science and has always shown scientists in a bad light.

Also in my opinion, the hate towards Ayn Rand is justified as well. Her ideas and philosophies about how the world should work are completely anti-social.


message 35: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Boots wrote: "
Also in my opinion, the hate towards Ayn Rand is justified as well. Her ideas and philosophies about how the world should work are completely anti-social.

"


Agreed, I have wasted countless hours of my life arguing with Randroids (but it is fun to tell them she owed her success to her socialist education). She was a dangerous lunatic.


message 36: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments My favorite part of Crichton is in Jurassic Park when he claims chaos theory proves that zoos will always fail.


message 37: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6191 comments Ayn Rand was hot when Hellen Mirren played her.


message 38: by Tangled (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 21 comments OK, I'll take another shot at this: Swords...I think one could argue shades of this in Swordpoint by Ellen Kushner. There is a rich political family that could be scandalized by oh so many things, an unfairly disgraced scholar (view spoiler) and a swordsman or great renown with a highly developed if strange code of honor. Again, I don't think the book takes on this theme directly so much as has it as one of the factors working in the background.

I can't think of laser at the moment, but I am rather taken with the idea of Darth Vader being followed around by paparazzi trying to get a shot of him petting a kitten or falling down drunk. Fine , they would be very stupid to risk their lives for that, but still...

All of my examples depend on the reader interpreting the story with an awareness of the idea. Even my original assertion that ancient Greeks liked to gossip about Medea was subjective. I'm still trying to think of Sword and Laser books where the crowd turns on the hero because of scandal.


message 39: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Sean wrote: "No, scientists at the time the book came out were calling BS, and they were doing so in response to specific points in the book. I'm amused that the proponent of hard science fiction is the one def..."

Most of them were relying on what they read he had said in the book. Anyway, his points were valid criticisms and subsequent work has addressed them.

Crichton was never anti-scientist but he portrayed them realistically - they are only people with foibles, egos, epilepsy, etc just like the rest of us, They also have a way of thinking - Crichton only criticizes them when they betray it. Feynman. BTW, also portrayed them with foibles - most famously with the Challenger fiasco - a simple demonstration broke through the jabber jargon.

A scientist may always be called into question... he or she is not a priest. Read State of Fear -- what he says is not what the media would have you believe.


message 40: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments Scifi doesn't have to mollycoddle scientists or put them on pedestals. Some quite deserve to be taken to task. Huxley certainly did so.


message 41: by Anne (new)

Anne | 336 comments On the matter of geo-engineering... one might listen to Jane C.S. Long --

http://fora.tv/2010/11/07/Wonderfest_...


message 42: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments The really cool thing is that those who love to tear down successful people almost almost always claim not to love doing it.

There are always self gratifying reasons used to explain their actions (often for the good of others)

Personally - I always thought that simple jealousy had a lot more to do with it than anything else.


message 43: by Tangled (new)

Tangled  Speculation (TangledSpec) | 21 comments It may be jealousy at some level--but there is also the sense of exposing hypocracy. To take a fictional example, if you watch True Blood, this seas Preacher Steve Newlan, formerly of The Church of the Sun bc "God hates Fangs" (view spoiler). Why do some of us love a story where someone who was loudly proclaiming X is shown to have protested too much? Because deep inside a small part of us is thinking "I told you so! I knew he had something driving him to be that way!".


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