Anger can be power

Alfred Soto at Humanizing the Vacuum performs a public service by reprinting part of an essay by Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys that appeared in Details in 1992, about the power and importance and positive aspects of hatred.

When people are told about Coke – “It’s the real thing” – they should think, “No, it’s a hideous soft drink that is fantastically unhealthy to drink, full of sugar that turns into glucose that turns into fat.” …And they should hate the people who represent that. They should hate Michael Jackson for trying to foist Pepsi onto them, to make them fat victims of their own society. They should hate more. Hate Pepsi, hate Coca-Cola, hate Michael Jackson. Hate George Bush. And think about the alternatives. That’s another good thing about hatred. It makes you think about the alternatives.

It reminds me of my favorite quote from Pauline Kael: “Has it ever occurred to you that caring for others brings a bite to the voice?” All those people who complain about snark should remember that it doesn’t always come from a jaded cynicism (though too often it does), but also from a deep and real hatred and anger on the part of people who actually care about what’s going on in the arts, in the culture, and in the world. Just remember that the next time I mention Glee.