By: Sam Chan
You Hate to See It. The phrase “You hate to see it” is now a thing. A meme. Its usage has skyrocketed in the last few months. The Google Trends graph (see above) is basically an upward vertically straight line.
“You hate to see it” expresses a combination of criticism, schadenfreude, and dismay. But mostly it’s a lazy way of expressing faux sympathy.
- A high five gone wrong? You hate to see it.
- An ugly tote bag? You hate to see it.
- A kid throwing a tantrum in a store? You hate to see it.
- Your sister got a bad hairdo for her prom? You hate to see it
- Someone dropped a gimme football pass? You hate to see it
“You hate to see it” is a strange juxtaposition of concern but also detachment. Disgust but also bemusement. Empathy but also distance.
It’s a delicious panacea for the pains of everyday life. It allows you a brief smirk as you smile at the misfortune of someone else. No matter how stressed, bored, or over-whelmed I am right now, at least I’m not that guy with the bad haircut, ugly tote bag, or kid throwing a tantrum.
In the same way that you can be passively-aggressive, you can now also be politely-rude. It’s so delightfully cocky, smug, arrogant, critical, and self-righteous—all at the same time!
“You hate to see it.” But the truth is that you don’t hate to see it. In fact, you take great delight in seeing it. And now the joke is that we’re re-posting whatever it is so that others can also see what we hate to see.
It’s the ultimate “Sorry, not sorry.” The words say one thing. But you mean the complete opposite. Orwell’s doublespeak.
Which, is what makes Jesus in the Bible so counter-cultural.
In the Bible, Jesus is called The Logos. Literally, “The Word.” Or The Meme.
And the great claim of the Bible is that “The Logos became flesh.” That is, The Meme became one of us.
Instead of being all smug and detached. Jesus became one of us and took on all our brokenness, shame, misfortunes. So that we can be healed, honoured, and blessed.
Instead of being all smirky. Jesus made himself the butt of the joke. So that we can have joy.
Instead of being all cocky and self-righteous. Jesus became unrighteous for our sake. So that we can be righteous.
So the next time we post the meme “You hate to see it” think about Jesus who also hated to see the misfortunes of others. But unlike us, he entered the world of the unfortunate, and swapped his laughter for their pain.
Think of Jesus —The Meme Who Became Flesh — who became our laughing stock, so that we can learn to laugh again.
Article supplied with thanks to Espresso Theology.
About the Author: Sam is a theologian, preacher, author, evangelist, ethicist, cultural analyst and medical doctor.