Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Hate Debate

“I know that there are people who 
do not love their fellow man,
and I hate people like that!”
Tom Lehrer

In the world of stand-up comedy, I think most people would agree that you would be hard-pressed to find a performer that strives to provide a more positive message than myself. While many of today’s cast of current comics are busy bashing others, I devote my time on stage to humorously promoting racial harmony, religious tolerance, and gender understanding. I am not a total Pollyanna, but I am definitely a glass-half-full kind of guy; that being said, I should also mention that, unfortunately, I am not totally unfamiliar with being stuck holding an empty glass.

I hold the opinion that in order to appreciate life one must accept the full spectrum of the human condition and acknowledge there are undeniable diametric aspects: birth and death, light and dark, joy and sadness, good and evil, etc. These complimentary opposites within a greater whole are both independent and interdependent. Pain does not exist in the absence of pleasure nor pleasure in the absence of pain; they co-exist in our minds as a balance of sanity.

Lately I have been giving some thought to love and hate. You might think a humor columnist, and self-proclaimed optimist, would be drawn to write about love (since laughter can be the sound of love) however, I plan to lead you down a darker path littered with hate. More surprising still, I’ll go so far as to admit: I am a hater.

I think hate has gotten a bad rap, because as I’ve said before, the opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is fear. We end up hating what we are afraid of, and we are afraid of things that are different: different race, different religion, different sexual orientation, even different gender. So, if you hate someone for one of those reasons, that means, on some level, you are afraid of them. Thus, I hate fear, and that is a good-hate.

I know you are probably unaccustomed to seeing the word “good” next to the word “hate” in the same sentence, but hear me out. Good-hate can be fun. I had this revelation while on my way to a Super Bowl party when I realized I was very excited about the game, despite the team I love not participating. I was juiced because the game featured a team I hate. The Yin-Yang of sports: the next best thing to rooting for the team you love is rooting for the opponent of the team you hate.

Good-hate also provides great motivation. I believe if necessity is the mother of invention, then hate may be the father. As a comedian, the things I hate often inspire me to invent a funny way of looking at them, and I think the same holds true for all professions. Here are some examples:

If Karl Benz didn’t hate the smell of horse poo, then he would have never invented the automobile.

If Mark Zuckerberg didn’t hate Tom from Myspace, then he never would have invented Facebook.

If the Scots didn’t hate good music, they never would have invented the bagpipe.

If someone didn’t hate safe driving, they never would have invented texting.

If someone didn’t hate sobriety, they never would have invented the ATM.

I was discussing my theory of good-hate with my friend, and he suggested that if God didn’t hate mobile homes, He never would have invented tornadoes. I corrected him by pointing out that man invents – God creates. I also cautioned him that his statement borders on blasphemy, because I believe it is okay to speak to God, but not for Him. I pretty sure God has a rule: Speak for yourself.

I once saw a protester at the Pride Parade carrying a sign that read: “God created AIDS because He hates homosexuals.” Obviously this person was not a very deep thinker, because if he thought it through, his logic would make lesbians God’s chosen people, and I’m fairly certain that is not the message this guy hoped to promote. (Besides, if God hates homosexuals, why did He make so many of them so cute?)

Political spin has become such a prevalent practice that it is not uncommon to see the same story spun in opposite directions. With a good public relation firm virtually any cause can be twisted to invoke Divine support. For example, the folks at NORMAL could say, “If God didn’t hate violence He never would have created marijuana.” Or the American Beef Council could say, “If God didn’t hate vegetables He never would have created vegetarians.” (Which leads to the question: if meat is murder, does that mean eggs are rape?)

I have difficulty associating God with hate, but I am aware this has been done throughout the holy books of various faiths. I’m not suggesting we should question God’s word, but I am suggesting we should question a person who claims they speak for God, because who among us truly has that capability? I suppose it is permissible to do so in the name of humor, like if I was to say, “If God didn’t hate dentists He never would have created England.” But when you encounter people who try to speak for God to advance a personal agenda, I suggest you plug your ears.

As I reread the above, I see that perhaps my sharing my opinion that you should not put faith in another’s opinion is somewhat counterproductive. Sorry to have wasted your time, but my only agenda is to leave the world with some gentle laughter and a tiny bit more understanding in my wake. Hope none of my silly jokes offended anyone, such as Scots, vegetarians, or Tom from Myspace…

I would hate that.

“The Laff Guru” has taken his message of LAUGHTER=NIRVANA to all 50 states and 23 countries. His awards include: “Comic of the Year,” “Campus Performer of the Year,” and a “Cable Ace Award.” His credits include over fifty TV appearances, including: Showtime and The Late Show. He is represented by GP Entertainment. To find out more about his award-winning comedy act please visit:

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