How to Hate Almost Anybody

We live in a political climate that engenders and encourages fear and hatred of just about everybody. At any time, our elected representatives are setting up numerous diverse groups to become targets for general detestation. So many segments of the population are hated nowadays that it’s getting hard to figure out who’s who on the hate parade, so I am taking it upon myself to clarify this matter. Otherwise, we get people killing other people because they think they’re somebody else, instead of killing them for being the unique people they really are.

There are three basic types of hate that can be applied to a people in general: race, religion, and orientation. This monograph is not intended to deal with personal hatred of an individual, that being a different kind of hate. If someone ravished your aunt Francis, or as occasionally happens your uncle Nigel, you may well hate the perpetrator (obviously this presupposes you have a healthy relationship with your aunt) for a specific and demonstrable reason. Saying “I hate that man, he raped my aunt” at the Gleberman’s holiday party is a perfectly reasonable expression of hate, as these things go, although what she was doing in that part of town is anybody’s guess. The kind of hate we’re dealing with here is the abstract hate of a large group of ‘persons unknown’ because they are who they are, as far as you know.

Race is an easy method for hating people, when available. But what with all the mingling that has gone on in the past few centuries, it’s easy to get things wrong. Let’s start where everybody starts and talk about colored folks. If somebody is really, really black, easy enough. But Colin Powell–what race is he? He’s half turnip, at least. Tiger Woods: Coon or Gook? And if you hate someone because they’re a heathen Chinee and then it turns out they’re from Korea, who looks like a fool? It’s Chink this and Ching-Chong that and all along you’ve been hating a Zipperhead! Race is not a reliable criterion for hating anyone. After all, there’s a Jew or a Spaniard or a dusky Moor in almost everybody’s background somewhere, and if you don’t know about it, it’s because Grandma’s secret died with her. I recently found out I was half Zulu–what an eye-opener that was. Now I have to find a new golf course to join–but at last I know why my golf partner rubs my head for luck. Thanks, you’re a wonderful audience. So if race doesn’t work, what about religion?

Again, the problem is figuring out who’s who. For example, all those broads or bims with dots on their heads–you can hate them for wearing dots on their heads, but what’s the point? Better to learn they sport the tika or bindi because they are Hindus. Now you have a handle on something hateworthy! After all, Hinduism is a religion, and what better reason to hate someone than the way in which they commune with the supernatural? Unfortunately, since Gwen Stefani started dotting her eyes it’s become fashionable outside the trekker/bellydancing set, so the bindi is no longer a reliable indication of anything. Hindu men are even worse because they often don’t wear anything particularly noteworthy. Some of them sport turbans, but who doesn’t? Sikhs, Muslims, old-fashioned Hindus and chemotherapy patients all wear some variation on the turban, and many of the cats actually blowing themselves up on buses lately don’t wear them at all–they wear the keffiyeh, or head scarf, traditionally held on with a bit of string, or as John Cooksey (the noble Republican congressman from Louisiana) describes it, “[A] diaper on his head and a fanbelt wrapped around the diaper” See? There’s hate in action! And as usual, it doesn’t work. Because he was describing the keffiyeh, but talking about Osama bin Laden, who wears a kind of spiral-wrapped chiffonet. Best to just hate them all. But that’s so damned un-American, or used to be. Worse, many religions do not require any outward appurtenances such as turbans, yarmulkes, or hooks through the nipples (Hindus again, but only on holidays). Apparently many persons of religious feeling express their faith only through spiritual communion and modes of living. How queer is that? Clearly, religion ­even in combination with race–is not a reliable indicator. That leaves us, speaking of queer, with orientation.

Orientation is also a piss-poor way of sorting your enemies out. The Fedex man who comes to your house is gay, did you know that? I didn’t know it either, until I’d been making out with him for ten minutes and suddenly realized he knew what he was doing. You can never tell. And by orientation I don’t just mean sexual preference. We’re talking gender (you can hate all women, for example, as many men and Dr. Laura do) political allegiance (Republican, Democrat, or Disenfranchised) and lifestyle (no-goodnik artists! Working class bastards! Bourgeois pigs!) But so many people behave in more or less the same way, regardless of the way they’re wired. Women who act like men and vice-versa are fairly common, although Jaye Davidson and RuPaul still turns heads. My best pal is as gay as a goose and he’s far more butch than I’ll ever be, and I’m profoundly heterosexual–I have three women a day (that’s on average; sometimes it’s ten women one day and then a week off. The Fedex guy was a fluke.) I know a long-haired Republican who smokes cheeba and does crystal therapy and a wild-eyed Marxist who look exactly like Alan Greenspan. Orientation is useless in the hate department, because you have to really get to know people to find out whether to hate them or not, and by that time you like them. So how are we to hate anybody? I suggest food. Eating habits are a dead giveaway.

There’s been a lot of talk about different kinds of Muslims. It’s probably easiest to just hate them all, and if that means hating the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, so be it. The Muslim eating habits are pretty easy to spot. All Muslims are supposed to eschew alcohol, or at least not drink it (not everybody can sneeze on command). They’re not supposed to eat the flesh of swine (this includes all pig products and anybody from the Senate) or any animal that has died of natural causes. Basically the Muslims may eat foods which are halal, which means kosher, or in other words, exactly what their arch-enemies the Jews eat. It’s probably safest to hate both the Jews and the Muslims, rather than fiddle around trying to figure out if anybody’s drinking Manischevitz instead of grape juice. Certainly this is the compromise most people make. But at least we have learned that anybody who won’t tuck into a mess of jambon a la choucroute is either Muslim, Jewish, or vegetarian, and therefore safely within the categories of people worth hating. Note that Jews are also not supposed to eat badgers, so if you go to a badger restaurant in the hopes of hating some Jews you will be sorely disappointed.

The Sikhs can be spotted in the average dining situation because they regard kosher and halal meats to have been slaughtered in an inhumane manner and prefer a vegetarian diet overall. This is why cows and sheep are vegetarian, although not all cows and sheep are Sikhs, so maybe hate them also to be on the safe side. Sikhs may, however, eat some meat, as long as it’s jhatka, meaning killed as fast as possible, preferably so the head flies across the room. Roadkill is not included in this definition, which may be why so few Sikhs eat armadillos. But you can reliably identify and hate a Sikh by the way he won’t eat veal, so go to a veal restaurant and hate anybody who got the salad as an entrée. Sikh and you shall find. Hindus, on the other hand, may eat almost any damn thing, which makes them much like the detestable Belgians. Except Hindus have one universal proscription, which is beef, whereas Belgians consume upwards of an entire cow per capita every year. So you can easily hate Hindus and Belgians separately. Many Hindus are also vegetarian, and thus can be hated for that alone. Buddhists are generally supposed to be vegetarians as well, although they cheat, especially Zen Buddhists who know that there is no meat. Only the illusion of meat. We’re on a roll now. You can hate Catholics simply by observing who gives up meat for Lent, or occasionally cream buns, although this minority is already hated by the other Catholics so it’s not worth pursuing. And of course if you’re anything other than Christian, you may identify and hate Christians simply by observing who favors cheeseburgers and pork fried rice.

If the party is question is Asian and therefore possibly not Christian, you can dispense with religion and simply hate them for having epicanthic folds or using chopsticks. What could be easier? If you’re blind, you can hate black people by asking them if they’d like a glass of milk. Many persons of the African persuasion are lactose intolerant and will therefore politely decline the offer, although many Asians suffer the same condition, but who cares? They’re all worth hating. The surest method for blind hatred of black people is to shout “All niggers must hang!” and hate the first person who punches you in the head. For my sighted readers, remember you can hate blind people and they won’t even know.

Food is even a reliable indicator among Europeans: you can identify and despise people from the UK because they hold knife and fork in the wrong hands, the French because they favor fifteen different kinds of glass at a single place setting (water, beer, white wine, red wine, etc. and that’s just during the appetizers), and the Swiss because they dip everything in molten cheese and nibble it on the end of long forks. Australians and New Zealanders, who are not strictly European but resemble Europeans in low light conditions, can be identified by their unusual ability to drink an entire hogshead of beer at a single swallow. With Germans it’s fifty gallons. You see? Ethnicity and race are easy harbingers of hate if you watch what people are eating!

Finally, persons can be identified and hated by orientation through food preferences, as well. Starting with sexual orientation, homosexual men are forever on the Atkins diet, as are many straight women, so although this won’t help distinguish them you can safely hate both groups. Anyway, what’s the difference? They all eat cock. Except lesbians, of course, who can be identified because they don’t. Simply demand oral sex from any woman and if she doesn’t agree to it, she’s a lesbian. This traditional diet-based criterion is still effective at determining why a particular woman should be hated. If you’re a woman, I hardly need to explain why you should hate a man on dietary grounds; it’s not what he eats but how inept he is at eating it (get it? See, that’s a joke about I’ll just keep going, shall I? Or not.)

Beyond carnal matters we have lifestyle eating modes: you can pretty much hate anybody who is fat, skinny, on a diet, or not on a diet, because they’re all out of control and disgusting; there are the vulgar drunks who consume alcohol and the repulsive puritans who do not. Artists subsist on stolen cheese from their last gallery opening. Working class people eat whatever they are given, and eat all of it, too; reprehensible, but not as putrid as the middle class that eats only half of it because it’s fattening, or the impossibly abhorrent upper classes who eat all of what they are given, and then eat everything everyone else was supposed to get, too. Political orientation is also revealed through food: Republicans pay $2,000 a plate to eat vinyl chicken, while Democrats pretend to like Jim Carville’s barbecue recipes, and most Independents have been reduced to eating dirt. The Greens are all vegetarian; you can tell who they are because they look freaked out in burger joints. Anarchists are easily distinguished because when they go to a burger joint they pile all the booths in the middle of the floor and set them on fire.

I think that covers pretty much everybody. You can figure out who to hate in a reliable fashion simply by observing what they eat. The only real shortcoming to this method is the danger that you might be eating something that indicates you should be hated too, but at this point, jump in and be hated. At least the food’s good. Wait, though–have I missed someone? The Aleut, who eat walruses and whale blubber? The Samoans, who apparently eat elephants? What about elephants, for that matter? In fact I did leave one group of people out, a very large group, and one worth hating more than all the Dagos, Bat-Gwais, Spics, Canucks, 9-Irons, Abos, Bazis, Bohunks, Yids, Eurinals, Pakis, Eggplants, Towelheads, Gyppos, Hatchet-Packers, Dinks, Nips, Camel-Jockeys and Swedes put together: let us here note the non-voters, who can eat shit and die.

BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter and cartoonist. Ben also has a lot of outrageously priced crap for sale here. If his writing starts to grate on your nerves, buy some and maybe he’ll flee to Mexico. If all else fails, he can be reached at:

Ben Tripp is America’s leading pseudo-intellectual. His most recent book is The Fifth House of the Heart.