Following on from yesterday, I had the thought that hatred starts with dislike or disapproval. In fact, hatred is perhaps simply strong disapproval.
Is dislike or disapproval a bad thing? Are we supposed to like everything? Isn’t it actually necessary for us to like some things and dislike others. If we didn’t dislike getting physically hurt, we wouldn’t worry about whether we got injured doing something. I once read (I can’t promise that it’s true) that one of the effects of the disease of leprosy is that it diminishes sensations of pain, and the result was that lepers who banged their feet or hands against objects like walls or steps didn’t feel any pain, and ended up after multiple collisions with deformed hands and feet. If they’d felt pain, they’d have taken better care of themselves. So pain helps to regulate us, keep us in line.
Also I like some music, and don’t like others. Or, more usually, I warm to some kinds of music, and am left cold by others. The music at the top of the hit parade is just music that a lot of people like.
I very seldom actually hate any particular piece of music. But there was one piece of music that I did get to hate. And that piece of music was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It is a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock segment and a reflective coda.
It wasn’t a piece of music that I instantly disliked. In fact I first thought it was quite clever. It was, I thought, a pretentious parody of opera. It was a piece of music that was, I thought, poking fun at a different genre of music.
But for me the joke soon wore off. Because, being 6 minutes long, it was twice as long as most other pop music. But unfortunately it became a big hit:
Upon being released as a single, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became a commercial success, topping the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976. It reached number one again in 1991 for another five weeks when the same version was re-released following Mercury’s death, eventually becoming the UK’s third-best-selling single of all time. It is also the only song to be the UK Christmas number one twice by the same artist.
There were times when I’d walk into a pub, buy a beer, light a cigarette (you could do that back then), and then ten seconds later hear the damn thing start up on the juke box, and know that I was going to endure it for the next six minutes, with gritted teeth, trying not to listen. Except that I couldn’t not listen.
I think I even walked out of a few pubs when I heard it start playing. Because I came to utterly detest Bohemian Rhapsody. And I detested it because for a while it was always playing everywhere, and there was no getting away from it.
And maybe that’s how antismokers feel about smoking.
It was everywhere, and they couldn’t get away from it, and they ended up hating it with a passion. Is it really very surprising that antismoking began to become prevalent after the end of WW1 and WW2, during which everyone had been furiously smoking, and some people had got to really, really hate smoking.
If so, then most likely smoke-hating antismokers will start dying out once smoking has been banned everywhere for long enough. After all, it’s been a long time since I heard Bohemian Rhapsody, and if I heard it playing again somewhere, I think it might even sound to me like an interesting new piece of music, and I might even get to like it a bit.
These hatreds flare up, but they usually eventually fade away. Old enemies quite often become good friends.
But sometimes one hatred breeds another. After all, after enduring 12 years of antismoking hatred since the UK smoking ban, I’ve come to hate antismokers. It’s a simple counter-hatred. They hate me, and I hate them. Once you start hating me, for whatever reason, I’ll pretty soon start hating you. And when push comes to shove, pretty soon we’ll have a war going.
And right now, all over the world, we seem to be seeing mild disapproval first ramping up into strong disapproval, and then strong disapproval becoming burning hatred, and hatred breeding hatred in multiple different ways. And perhaps all of it over something as trivial and unimportant as a piece of music like Bohemian Rhapsody.