Stuff I Won’t Hate

I’ve lately become a little obsessed with the pop culture junkie blog Stuff You Will Hate, which is mostly written by some of the guys from Metal Inquisition and some teenage scene girls. You’d be right in thinking that this is not something that would traditionally be up my proverbial alley and you’d be spot on with that assessment. That’s partly why I like it so much.

So just what is SYWH? To quote its own blurb:

The meaning of “Stuff You Will Hate” changes depending on the installment, and often during the course of a single column. It can mean “stuff I love, but that you, the reader, will dislike.” Sometimes it means “stuff you will hate, and I hate it as well.” And sometimes, it means “stuff you like, and I might actually like it, too, but I’m going to pretend to hate it in a way that will infuriate you because it will be written as a parody of a typical idiot hating something great, and you’ll quote the fake blurb to your friends and say ‘what an ignorant dick’ when in reality it’s intentional and now we’re laughing at you, you gullible fuck.”

Yeah, pretty much. A lot of the blog’s content is about contemporary pop music – the scene stuff that the kidzzz are into, right, rather than the shit that sells the most units. It’s often written in a way that’s simultaneously derisive and loving; evidently the writers have a fondness for their subject matter at the same time as they realise the essential absurdity of pop culture. In a vague sense it’s simultaneously ironic and post-ironic, which I kind of get the impression is the nature of contemporary teen/pop culture.

A lot of posts poke fun at ‘oldz’; older fans of music like hardcore or metal who like to criticise the shit that the kids listen to these days. SYWH slaughters some of the last sacred cows of the pop music machine; the idea that what came before was somehow better rather than, as is actually the case, just a different sort of music made by and for young people that responds to or is a product of the culture from which it emerges.

‘Scuse me, I’m a bit hungover today and so my thoughts and sentences aren’t as clear as they could be. Here’s a great example of what I’m trying to say, a post where Sergeant D tries to break down types of music that teens like into five categories and gives examples of each. It’s worth reading just to see Earth Crisis and The Devil Wears Prada being compared.

Basically, he’s arguing that music is culturally contextual and complaining about this, particularly by comparison to ‘the old days’, is fundamentally misguided. And you’re old and stupid and probably ugly.

There are also plenty of lightweight/funny posts on dumb teen fashion (this post about sagged skinny jeans is hilarious, but watch out ‘cuz there are some real monstrosities on display there) and scene fails (cruel, sure, but that’s the internet for you… besides, everyone knows that most teens look stupid anyway, I sure did). Then there’s the downright bizarre like Fail Emotions, a Russian trancecore band. Yup, trancecore – bringing screamo and Eurodance together in a glorious, awful, cheesy and appallingly appealing whole.

Some of the posts can be really tasteless (like this one) and there’s a trendy vapidity about most of what they cover and some of the writing, but I find it impossible not to like this blog. Through that I’m also giving more of a chance to some of the awful detritus that pours through the floodgates of pop culture… or at least re-evaluating why I think it’s shit.

That’s the main reason I love Stuff You Will Hate so much, apart from the irreverence and fun-pokin’, is that it regularly pushes me outside my comfort zone. Oh hey, there’s some awful teen hipster band I don’t like – well, chances are I probably just hate them because I’m old and I don’t get it and I’m being a hypocrite. There’s reasons to hate something if you actually give it some thought but it’s too easy to fall back on generational cliche, and that’s something I really¬†do hate.

4 Responses to “Stuff I Won’t Hate”
  1. Sergeant D says:

    Thanks for the writeup, dude! We get a little down sometimes from the constant stream of hatred, so it’s nice to hear from people like you who get the basic premise: we mostly like the stuff we write about, but as you said, acknowledge the inherent absurdity in it.

    The midget post was tasteless and mean but fuck… you can’t just see something like that and NOT say something about it, right??

  2. Sergeant D says:

    Also, I will someday write about games on SYWH, especially since even the games I like will probably make most people angry. I’m real into fruity JRPGs and SPRGs: Disgaea, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, FF X-2, Rhapsody, etc.

  3. Shaun CG says:

    Hey, you’re welcome man. A few of my friends are into SYWH as well so you know, fans are out there. (They’re not all olds either, haha.)

    I used to be pretty into my JRPGs but I don’t have the time for ’em any more… I did dig Lost Odyssey though, will probably finish that at some point. And I keep being tempted by Disgaea!

  4. Sergeant D says:

    They can be really time-consuming, and I rarely finish them. If you’re going to play just one, though, Disgaea is a great choice– it’s genuinely funny and has the deepest battle/upgrade system I’ve found (while staying manageable and understandable).