Nickleback and the Neurochemistry of Irrational Hatred

It has often been said that people hate Nickleback because the internet hates Nickleback. By religious commandment, I must love everyone and hate nobody therefore I have been unable to indulge in this felicity. I, therefore, love Nickleback. With agape, of course. Certainly, not with eros and the band members are complete strangers to me so philia and storge are out of the question. Nickleback’s legacy of being hated is a facinating case study in human stupidity. It is a case study into the psychology of why people hate people for no apparent reason.

On a chemical level, why do people hate people for no reason? Foremost, likely, the two worst neurochemicals in existence: oxytocin and dopamine. The chemicals most associated with hatred and narcissism. In short, people look to see what is “in” because oxytocin makes them want to be accepted in a particular social group and if they are met with approval for successfully conforming then they get dopamine. Oxytocin forms stronger bonds when the ingroup is juxtaposed against an outgroup therefore the best way to get into a social group is to be “the enemy of their enemy”

Whenever someone dissed Nickleback, they got a shot of dopamine. They felt cool doing it. It was, of course, the opposite of cool because being the hapless puppet of neurotransmitters as opposed to using one’s prefrontal cortex and using your conscious more than your subconscious is actually lame as fuck. When you express an opinion, it is best to go through the common cognitive biases and be critical of whatever social influences you may be under the spell of. To be truly cool, one needs be timeless, universal, classic, chivalrous, and the like. In an earlier article I scribed:

“It is why, in part, I have no tattoos. You cannot go wrong not getting one. No one complains about non-tattooed skin and it is always in style. I do not and can not know what fads in aesthetics the future shall hold but I am certain that non-tattooed skin shall be in style. If you hate someone, you might be proven wrong at some point, they may be exonerated, mores may change and the misdeed may lose gravity, psychology may advance and yield a hitherto unknown diminished capacity excuse, but forgiveness is always noble and you can’t go wrong with it. There are many ways history can judge your hatred harshly, it will never judge forgiveness as anything but good.”

A dick pic will look silly in decades to come but a well-penned sonnet will be taken as seriously as it first sounded. While they say, of course, sex sells, it should be noted that the most popular figures in world history have preached chastity. It is the greatest paradox in psychology that if you sell people sex, you’ll give you their fandom; if you sell abstinence, they will give you their soul. Working in politics, knowing why marketing chastity makes gods while marketing sex makes pop stars is very important. In political communications, knowing why that is outweighs literally everything else.

It is because of truths of the human condition. Sex is a faustian bargain which, for all of its euphoria, leads to drama and pain while not having sex and the hobbies one replaces sex with, tend to lead to significantly less pain. Even the religions I don’t consider divinely inspired, sell asceticism successfully because that is a perennial truth of the human condition. Humans recognized that by sacrificing their most acute and fleeting pleasures, they gain chronic and lasting joys. Forgiveness is good lots of moral reasons but most germane to an individual’s want for less suffering in their own life, it is the most effecient means of letting go and divorcing themselves from painful memories.

By preaching forms and degrees of asceticism and mercy, one does not only appeal to the purely abstract, metaphysical, and supernatural truths of the incorperal paradigm but also the natural truths of the human condition which are ultimately selfish even if they lead to selflessness. While those natural truths are true, they ultimately fail to constitute a universal love or eudemonia since their aim is the abolition of suffering which they accomplish at the price of anything and everything human if heeded in the direction of the complete abolition of suffering. Still, it is a guide to communication and, germane to this piece, style. That style should be guided by the truths of the human condition. Know what will be timeless and steadfast and aim in that direction. Do and say things that people know will ultimately make their life better, not just give them a high. If you do these things, you shall always be in style and be seen as a source of wisdom.

The brain tricks people into a false sense of what is cool but that is ultimately cheap and fleeting. What people ultimately love, not lust for, is something one must recognize despite one’s cognitive biases and do sometimes in defiance of the laws of statute, society, and social more. It requires the courage and political acumen to look at the metaphorical George Wallace and, understanding the short term pain and that one may lose the short-term battle, to know who will ultimately look better. From a PR standpoint, not only from a moral one, Martin Luther King won, by vastly more, than Malcolm X. My comrades in Black Lives Matter saw MLK as soft and X as militant but they were both politicians and MLK was a better one. It is as if Taylor Swift, during the infamous VMA incident with Kanye West in 2009 openly forgave him and said she loved him thinking “I’m going to look like a saint and you, my dear, like a crazy person.” It is not just moral but the best mode of politics for lasting victory.

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