Friday, March 01, 2013

Need Somebody to Shove

Ann Friedman:

I can’t figure out why I don’t like Anne Hathaway. Or rather, why we don’t. In all the social-media fallout from the Oscars, the Best Supporting Actress winner also almost won Most Detested Figure of the Night, finishing just behind Seth MacFarlane and the idiot at The Onion who tweeted a slur about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis.

...Does EVERY WOMAN ON THE INTERNET baselessly hate Anne Hathaway? I took a quick straw poll. “She is that theater kid with good intentions but secretly annoys the shit out of you,” said one friend, adding, “You want to be excited for her and you are but deep down you are kind of rolling your eyes.” Another replied, “I think someone told her she was America's sweetheart and she believed it.” One friend placed her in the category of “really affected drama queens,” saying, “I can imagine her non-ironically yelling ‘Acting!’” In other words, she’s always onstage, always calculated — not someone with whom you’d want to party or share your deepest secrets.

Why is she hated? You mean, "explain your reasons"? You think there's some predictable algorithm that can be hacked to prevent the "wrong" people from ending up pinned down while popular culture makes them slap their own face? I dunno, why did Chuck Klosterman's classmates hate Ippy? Because of his/her voice. Because of his/her appearance. Because some verbal or physical or behavioral tic registered on a subconscious level with certain alphas and stimulated them to aggressive action, and a bunch of others who simply wanted to be included went along with it, and then people like Friedman came along to reinforce the narrative that hating Anne Hathaway is indeed a "thing" now, by getting meta-analytic about why it is that "everybody" (she and a few of her friends and a small percentage of people on Twitter, themselves a small fraction of the total population, who care about pop culture award shows and expressing their opinions about them) feels that way.

Of course, in the carnival mirror context of social media, "hate" is a performance, not a genuine emotion. It's absurd to believe that anyone truly hates Comic Sans Nickelback neckbeards cargo shorts inoffensive actresses, but it's very easy to accept that lots of people care deeply about being seen as members of the blognoscenti, about getting rich speculating on such cultural currency. It's almost like they're always onstage, like their behavior is always calculated...