There is a cool little trick that I’ve learned, writing here on the internet. It’s a trick for getting people to read your article, and I will call it the “Slate Effect.” The rule is this: it’s better to write something people hate than something people don’t care about.
As long as you don’t delve into the comments — which will cripple you for two to three weeks and will thus dilute the effectiveness of the Slate Effect — writing something that people hate is a pretty good way to ensure that they’ll rage share it with their friends, or that they’ll at least engage with the article on social media. This is a good thing for the blogger, because the bloggers bills are paid for with clicks, shares, time spent on their page, and engagement.
It’s an extension of something the world’s great spiritual leaders and also Emperor Palpatine have known for a while: Hate can be good for the thing or person you’re hating.
Emperor Palpatine: The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.
Hating someone takes energy, and energy requires attention. And attention is a greater currency than you realize: attention is what millions of daily blog posts, advertisements, books, songs, shows, movies, political opinions, religions, and people are begging you for every day. You have a finite amount of time in your life, and we, the producers of the world, know that your attention is valuable. If we can’t get your attention by being chill and kind, then doesn’t it pay just a little bit to be obnoxious?
The golden standard for turning hate into personal gain is Donald Trump. The man is a perpetual outrage machine. He wants your attention so bad he can taste it. So he says outrageous things, and because the media knows it will get and keep your attention, they cover it ad nauseum while poor little Bernie Sanders gets way less coverage (despite polling better).
The insidious thing, the reason Palpatine said that hating him gives him power, is that your hatred then reorients your thinking around the person you hate. We were not, as a country, spending any of our time or energy defending the concept of allowing Muslims into the country a few months ago. But now that’s something we feel the need to fight against, because a loud hairpiece we really, really hate made it something we have to defend.
Does this mean we need to ignore Donald Trump? Well, no. Ignorance isn’t a good thing, no matter what the circumstances. And the Emperor wasn’t defeated by the Rebel Alliance simply ignoring him. He was defeated by Luke refusing to hate him, and by Darth Vader letting go of his hate and his anger. Donald Trump’s power comes from the anger and the hatred he provokes. If we can move past this, and he will fade away, just a sad little rich boy screaming into the dark.
Featured photo via Imgur