Each year has a distinctive feature: 1969 was the year of the moon landings, 2015 was the year of ‘Uptown Funk’ and 2016 is the year of…beloved celebrities dying and everyone hating each other. Delightful. Yes, friends, hatred and snarkiness have always existed on the Internet – some would even argue that’s basically all the internet is (not me though) but things seem to have somehow taken a turn for the worst in 2016. Don’t believe me? Let’s start with some records being broken:
First came this
Those are the trailers for the new ‘Ghostbusters’ film and new ‘Call Of Duty’ game, each of which have set records for being the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube and most disliked game trailer on YouTube, respectively. They appear to be victims of an ancient internet tradition that has recently made it’s way into the mainstream in a big way: hate-watching. Hate-watching is the act of actively watching something you know you dislike, simply because you get a visceral kick of hating it.
Now, I’m well aware that there are plenty of legitimate concerns that can be raised about both the ‘Ghostbusters’ trailer and the new ‘Call Of Duty’ game. I am also aware that there are many illegitimate concerns (remember: not all people who don’t like the new ‘Ghostbusters’ are sexist but all sexists don’t like the new ‘Ghostbusters’). That being said, there is a kind of relentless, spiteful hatred that is being directed towards these two trailers (and a number of other videos I shall mention) that appears to move beyond ‘dislike for the sake of disliking’ and into a realm of ‘disliking for the sake of sport’. For example: there are zillions of crappy Hollywood remakes – but none of those movies end up having the most disliked trailer of all time. Just look at this hot pile of garbage:
‘Fant4stic’ is widely considered to be one of the most unforgivably terrible films ever committed to film – but did it face the kind of backlash ‘Ghostbusters’ has had? Not exactly. People stated that they hated it, then moved on – because logic dictates that one does not want to linger around something that makes one unhappy. So why is it different with ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Call Of Duty’? Well because (for whatever reasons) people have made a kind of game out of hating them. Check out some of the trailer’s top comments:
Shoutout to this guy for apparently thinking he’s some kind of freedom fighter or something.
Hankheavy has turned the disliking into a sort of warped Team Building activity
Plot twist: the kind of person who dislikes things for fun also leans towards conspiracy theories
When you have access to both the internet and YouTube it seems strange and boring to spend your time actively revisiting a video you clearly don’t like specifically for the purpose of commenting over and over that you don’t like it. It’s almost as if people aren’t aware of all the other cool stuff on the internet – like 3D GIFs:
Watching this GIF is like 400 times more entertaining than watching a video I dislike
So Why Do People Do It?
2016 seems to be the most conflict-centric year that entertainment has had in a while. The reasons why are multi-faceted (it seems to be a hateful year all round) but the main reason is that deep down, it just feels good to hate on things. What’s curious, though, is how this very base form of entertainment has risen to overtake other, more interesting forms of entertainment – like, say, watching videos you actually like. Aside from these record breaking trailers, this trend can be seen among the YouTube community too. One of the fastest rising channels of 2016 is ‘Drama Alert’ – a channel that thrives on whipping up drama and, ultimately, giving people ammunition to continue to hate on YouTubers they already hate.
And Speaking Of Hate…
We can’t talk about hate-watching without mentioning our ol’ pals Nicole Arbour and Sam Pepper. This year year, both embraced the role of professional troll, deliberately working to whip up people’s anger for the sake of views and sweet, sweet clicks. Sam has retreated into a cave or something, but Nicole continues to have an online career that is based on basically actively encouraging people to hate-watch her. However you feel about her, you have to admire her ability to read the room – she has chosen to be a hate-watch pin cushion at precisely the right time. What will the state of YouTube be like, moving forward? Logic would dictate that we cannot continue to keep getting saltier and saltier at the rate we are currently or everyone will just leave the site because it’ll have become a toxic wasteland. As with many other nasty occurrences I personally just want 2016 to be over, so we can wipe the slate clean and hopefully have a 2017 filled with a lot less death and spite. What a cheerful conclusion to an article, eh? Have a lovely day, friend.