Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who do you love... to hate

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?


Anonymous said...

Strangely enough I concur with everyone on Mr Dilletante's list. I'd like to add the sanctimonious political opportunist known as Al Gore. I shouldn't be down on him because he invented the internet, and it it wasn't for him, God only knows where I'd currently be typing. Between that claim, his mellow drama over losing the 2000 election, and his continued hypocracy over global warming, he causes me to reach for a barf bag whenever he speaks.

Anonymous said...

Everybody loves a list. Mine includes the following:

Fon Du Lac - it's like Oshkosh but 25 miles further away from Appleton.

PBS - why does the taxpayer have to fund a channel when there are over 400 channels on cable?

St. Louis Park - my wife's equivalent to Fon Du Lac.

Carlos Mencia - why does Comedy Central give this guy so much air time?

Maureen Dowd - unless one lives in her world, one struggles to understand her stream of consciousness.

Dan S. said...

Two words: Tim McCarver.

Mark said...

Hey anonymous,

Fond du Lac? So it's a poor man's Oshkosh, then. And if it's 25 miles further away, isn't that a good thing? Appleton has more pressing concerns nearby, like the unspeakable evil that is Combined Locks.

I actually like St. Louis Park; if you want a truly dookie Twin Cities suburb, try Maplewood. Sprawling and amorphous.

Maureen Dowd's stream of consciousness is a dry gulch, I think.


Tim McCarver is an excellent choice. He's the announcing equivalent of buckthorn.

Anonymous said...

Two Words: Rosie O'Donnell

Anonymous said...

Time Warner Cable, the other Cable Networks, The Big Ten Network, and all of the Big Ten Schools: Thier mutual greed will be their collective undoing if they continue to broadcast games that no body can see. There are many angles and sides that can be taken in the argument as to why the deals cannot be made, but the reality is that there are too many pigs at the trough, and everybody's eating!!!!!

Anonymous said...

1) The bumper sticker crowd in Madison ... always to the left and usually pretty darn nasty.

2) Wisconsin Badger fans who think the sun rises and sets on Bo Ryan. There's one Division I coaching legend in this state, boys, and it ain't Bo Cryan. Mr. Dilettante waxed poetic about him a few weeks back.

3) Bill Maher. Can't stand to even look at that twerp.

4) Have to agree on Tim McCarver.

Mark said...

Living in Madison has to be especially hellish for an MU fan, eh, good sir? Bet the Wisconsin State Journal is still giving Marquette and UW-Whitewater identical space in the sports section, too.

I like the way this list is going. The Comcast/Time Warner vs. BTN call is an excellent. It reminds me of one of my favorite jokes from the 80s:

Q. If you put Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill [president of the miner's union-Ed.] out in a rowboat in the middle of the Atlantic and gave them both a sword, who would win?

A. England

Anonymous said...

Most Wisconsin Basketball Fans like both Marquette and Wisconsin. They may have a favorite when they play each other, but when they play others, they support both teams.

The state is big enough to support both teams. Both teams have great programs going, and both teams have great coaches. It's early to compare either one with Al Mc Guire, but it's also not fair to acknowledge the progress made by either Tom Crean or Bo Ryan just because you are a fan of one and not the other.

Also, to say that there is only one coaching legend from Wisconsin, is a slight on other great coaches who have passed through the state, including Dick Bennet, and great high school coaches like Donny "What's the Frequency" Gosz and others.

One would think that a string bean former sports reporting gym rat would be impartial enough to see all of this, but apparently living in the shadows of the UW Politburo has left him somewhat jaded.

Anonymous said...

Dick Bennett ... yes

Don Gosz ... a good guy, but not so much

Bo Ryan ... yes (it's just tough when that's ALL you ever hear. But beleive me, I know the guy can coach).

Stinger said...

There's only one Division I coaching legend in Wisconsin...oooh, oooh, I know who it is....Spider Mike Heideman!!!

Warning: this is going to be a long comment.

Anyway, who do I love to hate? Gosh, there is so much BS to choose from in this world, but here are a few people or entities that suck and therefore need to be mocked relentlessly until the end of time (not necessarily in any order):

The South: Kind of a broad swath, so there are subcategories:

1. The SEC: Big-time athletics, middle school educations. There isn't a real college amongst these guys except Vanderbilt. And, they suck in most everything, so they don't count. Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, to hell with all of them.

2. Southern NHL teams: I hate all of them, but especially the Nashville Predators. Why the hell does Tennessee get to have the NHL? I know there is a great hockey tradition in Tennessee. Why, I think everyone remembers when Chattanooga South defeated Knoxville Washington in the 1997 state hockey championship. It's hard to believe that everyone involved in that game is not in the NHL right now. Or how about Georgia...I know for a fact that Warner Robins would absolutely destroy Duluth East in hockey. They would obliterate Superior. Oh, you mean there is no prep hockey in Tennesse and Georgia? Oh, that's right. Southern hockey did not exist prior to the NHL deciding to build market share in the South...yeah, great idea. How are those empty arenas treating you? Meanwhile Wisconsin, a state where hockey is actually played, will likely never get the NHL.

3. Atlanta: Atlanta is a great city to be sure, but that's because they stole everything they have from Milwaukee and Wisconsin: the Braves, the Hawks (via St. Louis), Rayovac, etc. They probably would have snatched Kimberly-Clark too, but Dallas (another city that needs to go away) beat them to it. By the way, nice urban sprawl. 60-mile commutes to work rock!!

OK, enough about the South (that really counts as one for me).

Next: the Purple-Helmeted Love Warriors. Boy, this is one solid organization. What's not to love? Other than bad ownership, bad management, bad coaching, bad players (save Adrian Peterson), and bad fans? Y'all deserve each other. I am not one of those people who would mourn the loss of a rivalry if the Vikings were to move...I would love it. Please, move the team, Ziggy Piggy!! Oh, Vikings management, stop trying to build Green Bay West. There is already a Green Bay West. And, the way you are playing this year, they would give you a run for your money.

Next: The UW admissions office. This one is personal. You guys killed one of my biggest childhood dreams. You turned me against the university my father and three of my siblings attended. Sure, I wasn't a model individual in 1994, and I am glad I ultimately went to Minnesota, but this is a grudge I will continue to hold for a long time. Do you know why I flip off the Peterson Building (former home of the admissions office) every time I am in Madison? That's why.

Eden Prairie: Well, it's home of the Vikings, so that should be enough right there. But wait, there's more to hate about this pukehole of a suburb. It's the home of the elitist Bear Path gated community (gotta keep them minorities out), home of endless pathetic cul-de-sacs and ridiculous megachurches full of weirdo Bible-thumpers who hate everyone who is not exactly like them, and then the best part: it has one high school. A city of over 50,000 has one damn high school. And, I would put money on the fact that the reason there is not another high school in Eden Prairie is because it would dilute the talent pool for sports. No, no, it's OK to have 60 kids in a class, because we need to have 350 kids go out for football. Eden Prairie is like Neenah on steroids, only without the history that Neenah has. Of course, many Twin Cities suburbs are pretty much as bad, but for some reason, Eden Prairie takes the cake (even from the cakeeaters in Edina).

Oh, I also don't like Notre Dame, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bears, the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (another obnoxious fanbase), the Miami Hurricanes, the Denver Broncos, the religious right, the religious left, Dane Cook, Lou Perlman (the music producer who inflicted N'Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and by association most of the crap that passes off as music these days on us), the politically correct suckos who can't take the fact that some people make fun of their sacred cows as well as the right's, (i.e. people who think people like Don Imus and Tom Barnard need to be taken off the air), and Tipper Gore (this stems back from her days as head of the PMRC). I also agree with a lot that has already been listed here.

But other than that, y'all are fine with me! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! A lot of angst in young grasshopper.

I work with many people from Ohio St, Illinois, Penn St., Georgia, Florida and Auburn, and I often get an equal number of blank stares from both groups when confronted with a difficult question.

These days, what with the Big Ten School's liberal bias, led by Michigan, I beleive the SEC schools probably offer an equal,if not more balanced education today.

Also, applying your NHL logic to baseball, we should immediately shut down baseball operations in any city north of the 37th parallel, including the Brewers and Cubs, both of whom combined haven't won in over 130 years.

Last point, I agree with your anti-urban sprawl, but Minneapolis isn't far behind Atlanta in terms of a commute. And by the way, cul-de-sacs aren't all that bad especially when one has children ages 1 to 10.

stinger said...

Anon 12 (as in the 12th comment):

If there is such a thing as a younger ornery cuss, I am it. I am bitter and jaded. So yeah, there it is.

A couple of things: as far as the anti-SEC thing goes, I can see your point as far as "balance" goes, but it still seems to me that most, if not all, Big Ten schools are better, even with supposed liberal bias. On the other hand, I actually think I received a fairly politically balanced education at Minnesota. I hear a lot of horror stories about institutional liberal bias, and I definitely had one history course that was biased (prof kept referring to Andrew Jackson as the "Indian Killer"), but overall it wasn't that bad.

I have to contest your point about no baseball north of the 37th parallel though. The difference is that a lot of baseball is played in northern states. Sure, it isn't played in January, but people do play baseball in the north. But, with very few exceptions, hockey did not exist, and still does not exist in the south on the level it does in the north. Not a lot of frozen ponds down Tennessee way.

As for insane commutes in the Twin Cities, you are definitely right about that. I work with a few people who live a long ways from downtown Minneapolis. I don't see the point. I would think the cost in time, gas, and wear and tear on a car would offset the cost of cheaper housing. But what do I know, I walk to work.

Mark said...

Good comments, stinger. Now take a breath.

What I take from your comments is that you are especially perturbed with the provincialism of the South. I understand that and generally agree with you, but frankly I see worse provincialism emanating from the Eastern Seaboard than I do from south of the Mason-Dixon line. And there's no lack of unjustified triumphalism 'round these parts, too.

But your post has given me an idea for another topic - what is good about the South? I reckon you'll see that one soon, son.