As usual, I get some of my best ideas from the comments section of this blog. In the wake of the game on Sunday, I was musing on the notion of schadenfreude. But there's another side to it.
We all have something, or someone, that drives us around the bend. Something or someone that stirs up emotions, visceral reactions, atavisms - pick your term for it. Something or someone that you love to hate.
As it was said in Renoir's "Rules of the Game," everyone has their reasons. Maybe it's because you resent success, or you sense a snooty attitude. Maybe it's even a whiff of evil. Or maybe the reasons are completely removed from rationality. The reasons are as varied as the villains. But it's a useful exercise to give your betes noir a name. And that's what this post is about.
So, who makes the Dilettante hit list? Who's in my personal rogue's gallery? Here they come, in no particular order.
Da Bearz. The old Saturday Night Live "Superfans" skit wasn't really a skit, it was a documentary. I lived in Chicago during the dark days of Ditka and the team and its fans were particularly obnoxious. I have often admired individual members of the Bears organization, especially the late great Walter Payton, but the heck with the rest of them.
Red Sawx Nation. I can remember, back in 1986, when I found myself rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series. Now that the Curse of the Bambino has been lifted, the odiousness and provinciality of this organization and its obnoxious fans has been on display for all to see. They may not be as objectively evil as the New York Yankees, but my goodness, they are tiresome.
Notre Dame. The Irish and all that they stand for are a true test for Catholics. Generally if you are Catholic, you either love Notre Dame and everything about it, or you're agin' it. I am in the latter camp. I can still remember how astonished my high school guidance counselor was when I told him I had no interest in going to Notre Dame. "But you have the grades and the background to go there," he fairly shrieked at me. "Why wouldn't you take advantage of the opportunity?" In those days, the accurate answer would have been, "because I'm a contrary bastard, Mr. Nass," but I let it pass. I've been there once and it was interesting to walk the campus, but I don't feel like I missed much by going elsewhere for college.
Bill Clinton. It continues to amaze me that this obvious rogue is so beloved by so many people. He lied, he cheated, he made a shambles of everything that is good and decent, and he was the most transparently phony person to ever occupy the Oval Office. But he is more popular now than ever. People have short memories, I guess.
There are more, of course. How about you? Who drives you around the bend?