Haters unite (No heeltaps!)

A pint of Rebellion - Too warm? Too cold? Don't care? Care too much?

Does shared hatred bring us together more than shared enthusiasm?

A character in Reginald Hill‘s book Pictures of Perfection suggests “that when a politician wants to really unite the electorate, he looks for a common hatred rather than a common enthusiasm.” Is he right?

I go through three stages with Reginald Hill’s writing. I begin by finding it a bit contrived, then some flash of humour trips me up into enjoyment and by the end I find myself relishing the surprises and satisfaction he offers. So I commend Pictures of Perfection to you – though I think The Reckoning would have been a better title.

But back to the hating. Two characters – police officer Wield and bookseller Digweed – overcome their initial antipathy through shared whisky and a discussion about what they hate. It’s a pretty good list.

“Snobs.  I don’t like snobs. How’s that for starters?”

“Excellent. No quarrel there. My turn. Little Hitlers. People who turn a molehill of authority into a mountain of obstructionism.”

“Fair enough. Politicians.”

“Spot on. Undertakers.

“They’re only doing a job,” said Wield defensively.

“Of course. But do you like them?”

“No,” admitted Wield. “Beer that’s too cold.”

“Beer that’s too warm.”

“People that don’t care about beer.”

“People that go on too much about beer.”

“Motorway service stations.”

“Airport lounges.”

“Game shows.”


Wield sipped his bourbon thoughtfully, and queried, “No exceptions?”

“Well, I used to be quite taken with EastEnders. And of course, being of everyday country folk, I adore the Archers,” admitted Digweed anxiously.

“That’s fine then,” grinned Wield, who suddenly found he was enjoying himself immensely. “People who, when you’re out walking, know the names of all the hills and insist on telling you.”

“People who send family newsletters at Christmas.”

“Drivers who open doors in front of motorcyclists.”

“Drivers who park where they shouldn’t,” said Digweed, one eyebrow raised quizzically.


“People who turn down book pages.” [Oops, that’s me.]

“People who think they’re right all the time.”


“Exclusive clubs.”

“People who persecute minorities.”




“People who leave heel-taps,” said Digweed, leaning over to fill up Wield’s glass.

Have they missed anything?

I’ll add a few: Stupidity (my own), unkindness (again, my own), running out of milk, most coleslaw, mayonnaise… And then there are some I both hate and love – the doorbell, distractions…

Which bonds better? Shared enthusiasms or common hates? And can you add to the list?


Filed under art, What I'm Reading

13 responses to “Haters unite (No heeltaps!)

  1. Hate is a very strong word, but here goes, cuz i feel intense dislike for:

    Skin Color Privilege
    Arrogance (i must always be aware i can possess this too)
    Fundamentalism of any kind/i.e. rigidity of outlook
    Lacework of politicians voices, newscasters/pollsters/pundits voices, the ego threads imbedded into blah, blah, blah, blah (you catch my drift?)
    extremes of wealth and poverty
    penurious people
    extremely hot weather (it’s august, what can I say)
    that Haitians, and add every disadvantage country in the world, have to suffer while we sit like Miss Muffett on our tuffets
    romance novels
    sitcoms of the ordinary kind
    lima beans
    psyllium, gelatin, anything in grainy powdered form you have to take because it fixes your nails, your toes, you catch my drift

    I love
    Being a Baha’i – that’s a volume (inquire within)
    My husband, my son, my family, all pug dogs
    Books, writers, teaching writing,
    Most people
    Concepts and reality -unity of mankind, look up Baha’i principles somewhere
    dogs, cats, my new grandniece Elizabeth, granddaughter of my twin Elizabeth who left earth a while back.
    funny, witty people, well read people
    Blogs, did i mention blogs?

    • blackwatertown

      I had to check the meaning of penurious.
      Fair enough.
      Comprehensive list. I think you have outdone the post itself.

  2. “common hatreds instead rather than common enthusiasm” The Nixon strategy: “Divide the nation, then win just 51%.”

  3. Hatred doesn’t necessarily unite people because people tend to hate different things. On the other hand enthusiasm can be very unifying because it’s so infectious. You only have to look at the audience at a rock gig or the guests at a wedding. I think the jury’s out on this one.

    • blackwatertown

      We’ll have to wait and see which, if any, hates pop up frequently in the comments.
      Scotch eggs. Shiver. There’s another one.

  4. I don’t think that there is anything that I can call as something that I hate. I dislike some things like soliloquies, direct sale phone calls that wake me up, door to door salesmen/donation seekers, dogs that bark in the night and so on. I love – Myself!

  5. Barbara Rodgers

    I think the bonds formed by common hates dissolve more readily and are less stable than the bonds created by shared enthusiasms. At least I hope so! I was taught to never use the word “hate” and to use “disapprove of” or “dislike” instead.

    So, I dislike raisins and lima beans and know-it-all windbags…
    I am enthusiastic about life, family history, blogging, reading, music, nature, healing, connecting, walking…

  6. I teach writing to homeless women and women in transition and volunteers every week; i read them my list and they did lists! it was wonderful; shared joy over everyone’s stuff brings happiness; hate would bring dripping acidic thoughts which would ultimately end up twisting my body into unknown shapes.

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