Hate Something

For PGrundy

There was an advert on the TV a few years back. Visually it looked like an animated pastiche of one of those 60's psychedelic posters, with rainbows and flowers and bright, colourful birds dancing about beneath candy-coloured clouds. Except that in place of the word "Love" (which is what the sixties poster would have said) it had the word "Hate".

It was clearly making a reference to scenes from the Beatles animated movie, Yellow Submarine.

It was an advert for diesel engines.

Accompanying it is a song, which I've just looked it up on the internet. It's called The Grrr Song and was by a band called Be Nice to the Pigeons.

For some reason I always used to think that the words were sung by PJ O'Rourke. This is probably because he has a similar voice, and this particular advert definitely bore some of the hallmarks of his style.

As it happens it was by written by Wieden and Kennedy and was sung by Garrison Keillor.

The words are:

"You hate something, you change something; hate something, change something, make something better."

It's one of those irritatingly catchy tunes that once you heard it you can't get rid of it.


You will probably have heard it. It‘s probably going round in your head right now. In fact I'm going to make sure it is by putting the song up on this hub I insist that you play it while you are reading this hub, that way you will be plagued by it for the next few hours just as I was. Here it is, just to the right.

PJ O'Rourke, by the way, was a sixties radical who, for the sheer hell of it - for rumbustious amusement, and for the sake of his income, perhaps - reversed all of his sixties radical opinions one day and started saying the opposite. He's virtually made a living ever since out of taking every sixties cliché and turning it upside down, just to see what happens to it.

This is why I thought he might have been responsible for the advert: 21st century "Hate" instead of 60s "Love".

The point is that whoever wrote the song has a point.

I'm not talking about diesel engines now. Personally I couldn't care less whether diesel engines rattle or not. But the idea that sometimes it is entirely appropriate to hate, that I agree with. In fact I would go even further. I would say that hate was itself a form of love: not its opposite, but its compliment.

Think about it.

The simplest, purest love that I know is the love I have for my child. If anyone hurt my child I would hate them. It's as simple as that. No questions. No qualifications. No ifs or ands or buts. My hatred would be fierce and consuming, like a flame, and though I could probably rationalise my way out of it long enough to check the facts before I stamped upon anyone's head, I would still want to hurt the person who hurt my child.

This is hatred all right: hatred born of love.

Here is another example. A few years back I gave up smoking. In fact it was waking up in the morning with that tune in my head that helped me to pack up. It was nicotine I was thinking about when I sang those words to myself: "You hate something, you change something, hate something, change something, make something better."

I hate nicotine. I hate the grip it had had over my body and my mind for over thirty years. I hated the feeling of being a slave to its addiction. Hating this poison is clearly a form of health. By hating nicotine I was learning to love myself.

So hatred is a good thing then.

"All you need is love," as John Lennon sang.

Well yes. But sometimes you need a little hatred too.

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Well all this got me thinking. Maybe there's a few other sixties clichés that could do with the PJ O'Rourke makeover. How about this for one for a start: "Go with the flow"?

You'll remember the phrase. I'm not exactly sure what it meant. Something to do with the psychedelic experience, I think.

However, some people of my generation took this to extremes. They developed a philosophy of life around it.. They wafted about in a state of permanent flowingness, all airy-fairy lightness and whispering indulgence. They said things like: "step lightly upon the Earth," and "arms are for hugging." They went with the flow of everything. Often they wore flowing robes. They spent most of their time trying to discern which way the flow was going in order to go with it. They couldn't go anywhere till they knew which way the flow was going first.

It's a very self-satisfied phrase.

It was the teenage daughter of a friend of mine who put that one into perspective for me.

Some self-righteous hippie had been preaching his cod-philosophy at her. He told her to go with the flow. Maybe she was feeling a little put-upon. Maybe she just didn't like his tone. "The only thing that goes with the flow," she said, "is a dead fish!"

It has to be the quote of the millennium!

She's perfectly right, of course. Live fish don't go with the flow. Sometimes they go against the flow. Sometimes they go against the flow on purpose, just for the sake of it. Sometimes a fish will go against the flow in order to test its muscles, to chase another fish, to eat, or even just to have fun. A salmon will fight it's way upstream to find its spawning grounds, up waterfalls, against rapids, leaping rocks and whirlpools and all kinds of barriers, in direct opposition to the flow.

Go with the flow? It depends on where the flow is taking you of course. Right now, the flow of history seems to be taking us deeper and deeper into a world of crazy consumerism.

We went with the flow and got out-of-town supermarkets and shopping malls. We went with the flow and got fast-food restaurants and motorway service stations. We went with the flow and got by-passes and pollution, Celebrity Big Brother, Judge Judy and the National Lottery. We went with the flow and got the war in Iraq.

So, no, don't go with the flow. Be a live fish, not a dead fish. Test your muscles, find your spawning grounds, fight the tide, jump the rapids, and, for the sheer hell of it - for rumbustious amusement and to get on everyone's nerves - go against the flow for a change.

You know it makes sense!

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Comments 33 comments

AEvans profile image

AEvans 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Very Interesting article work is deeply appreciated.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hi AEvans, you make me sound so worthy.

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

My headmaster in high school was the first person to teach me hatred - this he did by trying to publicly humiliate me and by hurting me by pulling ny hair that he objected too. I once hit him because I couldn't stand any more. That was all he taught me to hate a man who picks on you constantly and that its a good idea to defend yourself under attack!

I love Leonard Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate and I love John Lydon's This is not a Love Song!

I am currently swimming hard against the flow at two forums where not believing in chemtrails any more is basically not in and means I am a "disinfo agent paid by the government". Or that I have been "drugged, hypnotised and recruited." So I have a job, Chris, the government are paying me - the strange thing is I didn't know this until tonight! lol

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pgrundy 8 years ago

CJ, this is so on target, and so appreciated right this moment, as I got 'in trouble' today from my fat Nazi lesbian boss (not that lesbians are all fat Nazis but my boss is both and that's not my fault) for wearing my 'red stapler' baseball shirt, which she said was 'inappropriate work attire'. God I've worn that stapler shirt dozens of times and no one ever said boo about it, and all I could think was, why don't you go look in the mirror you Nazi cow--but you know, there I was, in my little cubicle, where no one can see me anyway, being chastised by this big dumpy bitch in size 50 jeans for my sartorial disability.

So many people at the cub e farm are so afraid all the time, as if what we 'have' isn't a handful of crap anyway. So my stapler shirt is my little go against the flow thing, and she attempted to crush it out of me. I feel a gauntlet has been dropped. I'm still considering HOW to pick it up---it must be subtle enough to go over her head yet obvious enough to make her look stupid. Which she is.

Thanks for this. I see my work now, and I'm on it...

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Pity they're not paying you eh Steve? You must do it all for sheer love...

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

 "The only thing that goes with the flow," she said, "is a dead fish!"---

Now why didn't I think of that....tell her I'm completely jealous.   it's wonderful!  My mom used to say ( I don't think she coined it but it was said often in our family...) Open mind....  "A mind that is open at both ends is empty." 


And, I hate all the political apologizing all the time.

Can we not tolerate a little opinion from another?

Oh, I'm sorry, did that offend anyone?

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hey pgrundy, and they call it a "free" society! We are basically labouring under a dictatorship, the dictatorship of work. I guess you wouldn't mind this occasional resort to authoritarianism if it wasn't so damned petty. All over a red shirt. I'm sure you'll think of something. I'd love to hear about it when you do.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

marisuewrites, that's a good one too: "A mind that is open at both ends is empty." Yes. It's all about balance isn't it? I'll be thinking aout that.

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pgrundy 8 years ago

I just noticed the 'for pgrundy' at the top! Thank you! I believe this is the first bit of writing ever dedicated to me, ever. Now I MUST have revenge on her--it's required now. Also, so you know, the shirt isn't red, it's a very nondescript white shirt with navy blue sleeves and a small red stapler imprinted on the front. In order to understand what it means you have to have watched this film "Office Space" in which this mad, bumbling little man ends up burning down this corporate cube farm for terminating him without ever telling him that they did. So he keeps showing up to work, mumbling "I believe you have my red stapler..." and no one ever answers him or pays him any mind. At the end of the movie he torches the place. It's a pretty funny movie.

Backstory is everything.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I know the movie! Let me know what you have planned.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

This is the link for John Lydon's This Is Not A Love Song, in case anyone wants to follow it up.


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cvaughn570 8 years ago

This is really a hub that makes one think about whether they are going with the flow...like a dead fish.

Going against the flow makes perfect sense.

Thanks for the wake up call!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

What a great hub :) I really like how you write.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Glad you liked it Uninvited Writer, and I'd be interested in hearing about your experiments with going against the flow cvaughn570.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

I would say something nice but you stuck that infernal song in my head and now I may be forced to have to hate either you or it. (J/K).

Really cool post (as usual). I can't help but want to fence metaphor though. Surfers and kayakers might disagree about going with the flow. There is fun to be had in aligning yourself with forces greater than you are. Have to pick what flow you fight. But then again, perhaps that's more going with the torrent than going with the flow. Ok, I stand corrected by myself. You win.

Great post, horrible song, god, now I have to figure out how to flush it out of my head. Hope it doesn't try to fight the current of that.

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Thanks for the link to John Lydon's video, Chris! Brilliant video and I just watched Rise as well which is equally brilliant!

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Ananta65 8 years ago

So, aparently now the flow is to go against the flow ;)

Nice hub, CJ

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I like that Ananta65: "So now the flow is to go against the flow". So now in order to go against the flow we'll have to go with it.

Shadesbreath, you're right about aligning yourself with forces greater than yourself. But the point about white water rapids is that they might overturn you or smash you against the rocks. In this case you're going with the flow, but still struggling to stay on top of it. Tell you what, as an antidote to the song, listen to John Lydon - above. That should drive the Grrr Song out of your head.

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Ananta65 8 years ago

Don't you just love contradictions and paradoxes? :)

For me, there's only one flow to go with: my own flow.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Or as William Blake said, "All of life is but a fiction, and is made of contradiction."

Love Blake.

budwood profile image

budwood 8 years ago from Southern Nevada

Hey, CJ, you write pretty good. I especially liked your story about the kid who died in his majesty's service. - -Signs of our collectiveness.

Incidentally, I haven't noticed any "dictatorship of work"; maybe that's because I have mostly worked for this great boss: me.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hey budwood, yes, I tried working for myself last year, only I had to give myself the sack for being insubordinate.

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Agro Donkey 8 years ago from Ohio

If I started fighting the system wouldn't I just be going with the flow? If you tell me not to go with the flow and I listen wouldn't that change the flow? Do as you feel as doing, whether right or wrong, but stand by the decision that you have made. There are no knew ideas only less heard ones. Great hub and by the way I hate you Mr. CJStone for getting that stupid song stuck inside of my head. Good work and keep it up.

Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Good hub. You know, every time I'm faced with a difficult decision and decide to do what I feel is right, it inevitably ends up with me going "against the flow." I think this very interesting...

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Agro Donkey: there's an antidote to that song now as I've placed John Lydon's This is not a Love Song on at the end.

Constant Walker, I think that's right, you just do what feels right - what is proper and natural to do - whatever direction it takes you in.

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pgrundy 8 years ago

CJ, this is what I did: I went to work the next day wearing every piece of bank issued clothing I own--I had bank logos all over me. She came around to my cubicle wearing her standard jeans-flannel shirt uniform and I said to her, "Why is it that you are wearing jeans? I thought they were allowed only on Fridays and weekends--Are the rules different for supervisors?" She responded by saying that it is permissible to wear jeans after one meets one's sales goal. I said, "But you don't sell anything, I do." She said she doesn't own a bank logo denim shirt like I do. (Which, note, still did not answer the question I asked.) I said, "Yes I earned this as a prize for my sales one month, isn't it lovely?"

I knew I was pushing it but right at that moment the director (her boss) walked by with news that I'd won another dippy sales award where they hang an inflatable toy plane above your work station for being a 'Top Gun'. So it was a gift from the Revenge Gods I guess--totally undeserved, but I enjoyed every minute.

Now I have this dumb toy plane hanging over me---it's a big toy plane too, about the size of a Beagle.

God I wish they would fire me. But at least I was able to indulge in a little push-back.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

It sounds like you were having fun there. Me: I'm a great believer in those small signs of meaning in an absurd universe. That's what I'd take the director's "accidental" intervention at that moment to be. A sign of approval. Here's to you "Top Gun"!

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pgrundy 8 years ago

Thanks! LOL!

Rhym O'Reison profile image

Rhym O'Reison 8 years ago from Crowley, Tx

I didn't hate anything about this hub. It is interesting, thought-provoking, fun and wise. We are told to "love what is good and to hate what is bad", so hate can actually be a good force in our lives if directed in the right way. George Harrison said, "Life flows on within you and without you", so I guess we all have to decide which current we want to be on and which we want to go against.

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Rhym O'Reison, I'm starting to wonder if maybe "hate" is too strong a word. It implies something dark and irrational - something of the kind that Steve is dexribing above when he talks about his confrontations with a school teacher when he was young - whereas what I'm describing is more controlled than that. Directed anger, maybe. Righteous indignation. But I think you're right, that we have to know what we are against in order to know what we're for.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 8 years ago from West By God

Great Hub! I am also one who goes against the flow--religion, society, being a chosen Home Maker (one of my hubs) in a world where you simply cannot be happy unless you are paying homage to someone else or are comparing yourself to someone who they think is better than you. In my Home Ec (yes do they have those anymore!?) class way back when I was in High School, I had a teacher who set me on my course of being who I AM and not "going with the flow". She told me NOT to be like the sheep, but go my own way. Kudos to her wherever she may be!

Thaks for the Hub!

CJStone profile image

CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hey Lady Guinevere, do as your Home Ec teacher siad, and go against the flow!

babarushe profile image

babarushe 8 years ago

This is humorously educative. Yes, hate is good if it leads to positive changes.

I really enjoy this hub even the fact that you stopped smoking.

Good articulated job.


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