As I’ve aged, my edges have softened. There was no avoiding it. Whether by natural decline or deliberate change, I’ve tapered down the animosity and upped the empathy. It felt unavoidable. The more I went through, the less simply I could blindly judge without consideration. Is that what growing old is? Innate understanding through experience? Inescapable worldly wisdom? Compassion as a rite of passage?
I’m burying the lede, but what I’m trying to say is that despite all this, sometimes it’s really fucking fun to hate on things with no good reason.
John Mayer. My distaste for John Mayer originated in that same petty part of my teen existence that shunned pop music because it wasn’t tailored to my tastes. It was cool to act like you were better than others (believe me, I knew I wasn’t. Social hierarchy and my affinity for fedoras taught me as much). The early 2000s were my height of needless animosity. All the dime store Hootie and the Blowfish imitation acts, anything bubblegum or “techno” or syrupy ballads. To teenage Leon it was all shite. John Mayer fit squarely into this mould. “Your Body is a Wonderland” had vast reach and all of that saccharine bollocks I loathed. Plus he was popular with girls and I wasn’t. That was about all it took. The fact that he was an quite very accomplished guitarist was just fuel for the fire (not that which I desired). Jesus, just listen to Neon for fuck’s sake. What a smug bastard.
I was overjoyed, then, to discover that he was apparently a total prick. Snide and arrogant, rude and self-centred. Plus he was (intentionally or not) rude to Kumail. What’s not to hate? He was on this week’s Harmontown, surprising by any yardstick. He just didn’t seem the kind of guest they’d have on. I had no idea how I’d feel about him, given all that growth talk I shoehorned into the intro. Would I have gotten over it all, given that I’ve changed in leaps and bounds since I was a teen? Well, it doesn’t sound like Mayer has changed all that much. It wasn’t so much that Mayer was rude, but was still as self-absorbed as ever (though that’s rich coming from a Harmontown fan). His attempts to sound self-deprecating came off as endless bragging. He was nowhere near as clever or funny as he thought he was (as evidenced by his past stand-up material). All in all, I was vindicated.
Why any of this should matter, I have no idea. I don’t know this guy. His material has no bearing on my life. Still, I get some perverse joy from holding the guy in low esteem. Then again, Mayer isn’t the only thing I purposefully hate on. Without further commentary, here’s some other stuff I loathe for no good reason:
- The DC Comics universe.
- Stella Artois.
- Marble cheese.
- Mark McGrath.
- Star Wars branding on produce.
- Portable media.
- The Emoji Movie.
- The Big Bang Theory.
- The Munchkin games.
- The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ band name.
- Carlos Mencia.
- Canadian bus stop ads.
- Wearing more than two layers.
- Orange Pekoe tea.
- Katherine Heigl.
- Jimmy Fallon.
- Kevin James.
- Boss Baby.
- People complaining about award ceremonies.
But mostly John Mayer. My life has no room for squares.