What Makes Haters Hate? (Part I)

Oh the many times I've been deep in the midst of a passionate ode to one of our many wines or whiskies, only to watch the eyes of an annoyed companion roll wayside in their contempt! -The K&L Bard

I've been there. I'm sure many of you have been there. You're gushing about your passion for quality booze and someone says, "It's just whisky." Not to us! For me, alcohol is my biggest hobby, not to mention my profession. I derive oceans of enjoyment from delving into the history and the production methods, while building relationships with the people who make it. I'm not asking anyone else to care as much as I do, but I at least want to share with others what I feel makes good booze so exhilarating. Some people have a problem with that, however. It bothers them that we care so much about something they don't.

We're not alone either. There are many other people who feel this way about their own personal interests. Shoes. Traveling. Pizza. There's a guy in San Francisco who makes amazing pizza at a place called Una Pizza Napoletana. He's dedicated his life to making the perfect pie, so much so that he was written up today in the SF Chronicle. You wanna know what the comment field said?

It's bread with cheese on it. Sure, good food is nice but why do people get all religious about it?

Sometimes people don't get it. Sometimes not getting it makes them feel defensive. Feeling defensive causes them to speak out. Speaking out makes them a hater.

However, the mentality of a hater isn't a simple one. You can't just pigeonhole these people into one type of group because not all of them are the same. I've been thinking extensively about this subject as of late and here is what I've come up with. We'll start with the following scenario:

Let's say you're at an every-day, working-class bar. You pull up a stool and you ask for a glass of Scotch. Everyone else in the bar is drinking Dewar's, but you ask for the fancy stuff because you don't want Dewar's. People in the bar immediately glare at you for doing so. Why is this happening?

1) In their mind, we think we're better than them. The first thing that haters tend to think about people who enjoy fine spirits is that we think we're better than other people. Sometimes this is true, so you can't necessarily fault them for their stereotypical view. There is a good deal of wine and spirits afficionados who buy expensive bottles to make themselves feel superior. However, haters are usually unable to decipher between drinkers who simply enjoy good booze and people who want to impress others, so you're going to feel the wrath regardless of which group you fall into.

2) Knowing more about something than someone else can cause dissension. Some people don't like it when you understand something they don't. Science. Art. Music. Literature. Pop culture. Booze. However, this point needs to be further subdivided. 

a) You don't really know anything and you're faking. I know many people who think that wine is wine and beer is beer. Anyone who thinks a bottle of beer should cost five dollars is crazy and/or stupid. They're just acting like it's better because they want to feel cool or superior (see point #1).

b) You're being a pedantic know-it-all. Some people don't like to be lectured or have anything explained to them. There are plenty of pedants who feel the need to brag about their heightened sense of culture, so again you're being unfairly stereotyped if you're not one of these people. Even if you sit and drink your fancy single malt quietly, they're not going to be able to get past the idea that you know something they don't and that makes you a know-it-all. Otherwise, why would you be drinking that?

c) You actually do know something and they're jealous about it. I feel like this scenario is the least likely to happen, but it's the most commonly-used retort when dealing with a hater. "They're just jealous." Anyone who actually says that is probably wrong, but it can be true. People don't like the idea that they may be missing out on something. Most people who are curious about a new experience will seek that experience out and try it for themselves. Some people will not. Those that don't will sometimes experience anger towards those to do because they have the means, courage, or desire to follow their curiosity. This can result in a general defensiveness, as in, "Whaddya wanna go to that fancy college for anyway? I didn't go to college! You think you're better than me?" (again, see point #1)

d) They like whisky too and they feel they're in a competition with you. Some people are in a competition to know the most, be the smartest, or live the most authentically. Who knows more about Bauhaus architecture? Who knows more about singer-songwriters from the 1970's? Who knows more about whisky? If you order something they're not familiar with it could make them uncomfortable. What do you know that they don't? Grrrrrrr........

3) The idea of dedicating so much time to one thing is ridiculous. I hear this one all the time. "Who would spend so much time thinking about wine? It's just foolish." However, that point of view can easily be turned around on just about anyone so it's a pretty dangerous thing to say. I can just as easily judge the way someone else chooses to spend their time, as well. That being said, people who work hard, have kids, mortgage payments, medical bills, and are facing other serious issues in life may be offended by someone who dedicates their free time to whisky. You can't always blame them.

4) Your enthusiasm for whisky is very uncool. Ironic, hipster culture hates enthusiasm. If you're enthusiastic, you're not paying attention. You might be in a bar full of bearded, twenty-something, basket weavers who are drinking Dewar's because it's antiquated and not currently popular. Here you are, drinking your single malt, all enthusiastic and shit. So uncool.

5) They're simply bitter people who hate everything. You are in a bar. The chances that many people around you are drinking simply because they're mad at the world are very high.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll