Friday, February 11, 2011

To the Haters

Like everyone out there I hate haters. Even haters most likely hate haters, and while it is usually better not to think about them, sometimes you just can't help yourself. Este na post hu tuge'i'i i manggaichatli'e' siha!

Although I am by no means a celebrity on Guam, or anywhere else, there is something to be said about when your name does become increasingly larger than yourself. No human can control the world of discourse around them anymore than the world of discourse about them. They may seek to try and dominate it, make it follow a certain course, mean what they would wish, and while it can appear to follow your desires, it never actually does. Part of becoming larger than life means being reduced to mean certain things, reduced to certain social/political shortcuts.

In my case, there are people out there who I don't know, who know about me. The number of people who know about me in some way seems to be getting larger than the number of people that I consciously know. This comes from a number of different sources. I have a heavy internet presence and so many people who search for things about Guam or Chamorros or Ethnic Studies or Naruto or other random things end up on my blogs and seeing my name. I am a teacher at UOG and so more and more people think of me as being one of the people who "teaches Guam History," and therefore some sort of expert at it. I love the way in which my name is joined with others as being the pillars of something, the easily identifiable markers of how you passed through something. "Who did you take for Guam History? Cunningham?" "No. Bevacqua." For some it is simply the naming of a professor, a last name, but for others it actually has some political or social value. In times past if you took "Underwood" for Guam History is meant something, not always the same thing, but something for sure. In time "Bevacqua" may symbolize something similar, although I don't know if it'll be good or bad.

In addition I am also other things, activist, artist, a relatively young person who speaks Chamorro, grandson to a cultural master, father to two cute albeit crazy kids. For many years now I have had "haters" in my life, many of whom used to leave comments on my blog or send me stupid emails. At first, since so many of those hater relationships were filtered through the void of cyberspace, they were crippling and frustrating since too often I had no idea who they were, where they were, and they lived in comfort by the fact that I could not find them and tell them to their face to "get a life" or at least "get some knowledge." But as time went on, I got used to my gang of haters, and didn't care so much.

But part of becoming larger than you think is how you collect not just anonymous haters, haters who you know but don't know who they are. But you collect haters who you don't know who they are, and you don't know that they exist as well! I can't but help be reminded of that old philosophical conundrum offered up by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

I find it interesting whenever someone tells me that my name is appearing in the comments of the PDN website. I never actually go and check it out, since it is usually pointless. It is like witnessing people privately burn you in effigy or loudly protest you from places that they know you won't hear them from. When I look at some of the ways my name or things that I have done have been thrown around over the years, it is like people created a hate-filled club which says "Absolutely No Migets Allowed" but then forgot to do what those clubs exist for, to actually invite me to tell me I can't be a part of it. It is a little surreal sometimes, when you find a message thread about you, or a series of comments posted in your dishonor. It is like a grand ball, beautiful and laughable in the same way as the story The Red Masque of Death, but also naturally irritating because of the way people mouth off in a blissful insular ignorance about you.

But as I have had my fill of Haterade throughout the years, I've come to wonder now, where do haters come from? Are they truly the work of the some pernicious devil? Or are they really the work of some loving God? It is easy to see them as being spitefilled, maleficent creatures, like the trolls with pikes from Dore's vision of Dante's Inferno. Sharp rows of teeth which they desperately wish to use, but are too frightened to ever actually bite into something and so they spit and poke, looking very menacing, but are always quivering because of some primal fear of inadequacy or ineptitude. It is easy to hate haters because they say things you don't agree with, they say things which have no connection to how you see yourself or reality, they say stupid things frankly, and stupidity in movies or in Fail videos can be comforting and funny, but when it is directed at you and attempts to define you politically or as a person, it really sucks.

This came up recently as I was talking to other young Chamorro activists and sharing different stories about the random, mindless things which people often say about us on websites such as the PDN. I have been called a communist on many occassions on the website, and have been attacked many times for not really being Chamorro since I don't have a proper Chamorro last name, and many other things. Haters are the enemy because they seem to symbolize a breakdown in your attempt to define yourself, or a flaw in how you perceive yourself. They remind you that no matter what you think about who you are and what you do, the world keeps spinning, and discourse keeps moving, and so your intentions, your hopes, your wishes, matter little, the world, like the cave from the movie Sanctum doesn't care about any of it.

But this is why I question nowadays if haters come from good or bad. They are obviously a symptom of reality, they will exist no matter what. Everyone has haters, and if someone doesn't appear to have any haters there will be people who will hate simply to fill the void and make sure that hate is represented and that nothing appears to be onesided. I have fulfilled this role many times in my life and continue to do so. If everyone appears to like or enjoy something, I feel a primal pull to hate it. I remember as an undergraduate writing a paper which criticized Schindler's List because I felt that too many people liked it or thought it was incredible and I didn't like it, but felt like I couldn't articulate why I didn't like the film. I wrote a paper which didn't get me a good grade primarily because the film was at that time a sacred cow, but it was an important moment in my life in terms of not just hating, but learning to actually research and articulate that hate in a real way.

Haters can serve an important purpose in lives of activists, especially if you are someone who is predisposed to believing what people say to your face. Last year, when attorney Mike Phillips was asked if he would run for Governor, he said he was cautious because in Guam, no one will ever say they won't vote for you. No one wants to hurt your feelings and so they will lie to you or say something, anything to make you feel like you have their vote. This can be true, even if they really hate your guts and can't stand you.

Most of us surround ourselves with people who agree with us or think in similar ways, and then we unconsciously steer away from those who would fundamentally challenge us, or create a few token slots for them, which we sometimes think of as our "pets." A special someone in your life who you hate almost everything about, but still like to have around when you feel like having some sort of friendly ideological slugfest.

Discovering a hater's ball can be an important check on yourself. It is very easy to feel like you are accomplishing far more than you really are. When people around you are all telling you what you would like to hear, or at least not telling you the things you hate to hear, then it is the easiest thing in the world to assuming things like, "everyone wants this" or "no one wants that." It is the easiest thing in the world, to take the circle of friendly faces around you and transform them into "most people" or worse yet "the people" and then start to change your strategies or your beliefs and your activism based on this perception that what those around you think is what everyone else beyond them must think as well. As I've written before on this blog, you are always both stronger than you think, but never as strong as you think you are. You can always have some extra ability or power beyond what you might think, but you can always assume you have far more than what you probably do and easily overreach. It is a constant battle to try and not give in to the despair of thinking you are powerless and the drug of believing that you are already so powerful.

So even though I can't stand mindless hate, I still have to recognize that it can serve an important purpose. It can remind you that there probably are many who don't believe what you believe and who you cannot count as being on your side, but it can also clue you into how your message or your work is being interpreted by other groups, factions and ideological pockets. While many haters hate instinctively not really knowing why or what they are hating, they still draw from the world around them, and that can give you clues on how you are being perceived and how to enhance your political presence and power.

And so it is for that reason that I want to follow the example of the rapper Chamillionaire, and wish all the haters out there a "Good Morning!" and "Si Yu'us Ma'ase" for all their not so hard, but sometimes important work!



"Good Morning"
Chamillionaire
2009

I wanna show all of my haters love, this song's for you
If you acted like me, and I was in your shoes
I'd probably hate on me, too

See when you gettin' big cash stacks
All the haters hate that
'Cause they hate to see you to be successful

I wanna show all of my haters love
So I wave to you like
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning

Yeah, today gon' be a good day, I'm feeling like I'm Ice Cube
I'm waking up like can't nobody mess up my mood
Knowin' I'm a boss, I'ma do what I choose
If I was you, then I would probably hate on me, too

If it's true that money is time, then watch this
I ain't tryin' to run outta time, so I purchased some watches
Y'all sick, the chips got the haters nauseous
They chicks jumpin' in my whip like a mosh pit

I wish I could be infected by any hate
But I can't 'cause I just get infected by the bank
It's great to never know the feelin' of bein' fake
I awake, then I go take a visit to the sink

Uh, dirty money got me sanitizing my hands
Lord knows what the previous owner did with these grands
Yeah, I ain't sayin' it just to brag
I say it so you can be motivated to gettin' cash

I wanna show all of my haters love, this song's for you
If you acted like me, and I was in your shoes
I'd probably hate on me, too

See when you gettin' big cash stacks
All the haters hate that
'Cause they hate to see you to be successful

I wanna show all of my haters love
So I wave to you like
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning

Look, success is a woman I always had dreams of sexin'
If wanting her is a crime, just take me in for possession
Even in a recession, I'm leavin' a good impression
Reflection on the rims, so they can see they expressions

I'm busy, man, you need to schedule an appointment
Haters on they job, and they act like they enjoy it
Wake up in the mornin', I hop into my foreign
Walk into the bank, and just like a housewarming

Hey, we get the money by the minute
They said we couldn't do it, but we already did it
I'm fresh outfitted, and my Benz got getted
'Cause I ge-ge-get it, and you di-di-didn't

And I admit it, I'm really 'bout to show you how I do
If you know you a hater, this dedicated to you
You hatin' my last move, I'm way on my next move
See they hate to see you to be successful

I wanna show all of my haters love, this song's for you
If you acted like me, and I was in your shoes
I'd probably hate on me, too

See when you gettin' big cash stacks
All the haters hate that
'Cause they hate to see you to be successful

I wanna show all of my haters love
So I wave to you like
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning, ha-ha-ha-ha-haters
Good morning

1 comment:

Erica Nalani Benton said...

brilliant miget! i would also like to point you to this quote from the esteemed kat williams:
# So what she/he keeps talking about you and hating on you. What do you think a hater's job is...to hate. If you have someone hating on you right now you better think of how to get five more people hating by Christmas. You need haters to make you stronger..without haters most people wouldn't try to become better. Just tell them bitch you just hate me because you can't be me."

lots of love, eka

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails