The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Lovin’ beats hatin’? Sorry, McDonald’s. I’m not lovin’ it.

Has McDonald’s met the Internet?

I didn’t think I’d have to ask this question.

But then came word of the company’s new slogan, “Lovin’ beats hatin’,” reportedly launching (whoops, launchin’) next year in tandem with the current “I’m lovin’ it.”

This leaves me with two questions: First, what became of all the G’s? They are nowhere to be found. By all appearances, there was a great G purge somewhere in 2011 that left no survivors. One lone G hid successfully for months in a back office at the start of the words “gnarled,” but I just blew its cover. The final G would have been there on the end of hating, but after watching all its kin go the way of the passenger pigeon, it lost its will to cling on and dropped, like an autumn leaf, a fly or the name of a celebrity you met once during college.

Whither the G’s? Is McDonald’s so eager to give its apostrophes stable work that it feels the need to drop every G it comes across, for all the world like President Bush givin’ a speech on somethin’ important and serious-like? Is it because people so often forget that McDonald’s is a possessive? What’s goin’ on?

Second, have they not met the Internet? “Lovin’ beats hatin'”? Do they not know how haters behave? As Taylor Swift so eloquently and succinctly put it, “Haters gonna hate (hate hate hate hate hate).” Do they not realize that, with this slo(g)an, they have left us no choice in the matter? Haters are gonna hate, and now that hate has been given a target.

And, frankly, that’s not such a bad thing.

It is time someone spoke up for the haters. Hatin’ is valuable work. I am not speaking of curmudgeons, who go around hatin’ indiscriminately. I am not talking about actual hate and threats and bullying. I am talking about criticism. I am talking about those who gripe about one specific thing for specific reasons — not because “haters gonna hate,” but because they have some kind of legitimate beef that should not be instantly tarred with the broad dismissive brush of “hatin’.”

“Lovin’ beats hatin’?” Maybe I am not hatin’. Maybe I am exercising judgment.

On the Internet, there is no Dislike button. But it is moments like this that make me think we need one.

How many things do you have to love to prove you aren’t a hater? How much pablum must you eagerly digest? At what point can you say, “Listen, friends, I have established my credentials as one who is not a hater. Why, last week, I liked seven or eight things, totally unprompted. So it is with this credential in mind that I would like to tell you that I did not particularly enjoy Lorde’s sophomore effort.” But no. Hate one thing, and, the tautological refrain informs you, you are just another of those haters who are gonna hate (hate hate hate hate hate).

And Haters are not to be listened to. You want to be heard? Stop hatin’. Become the backlash to the backlash.

Some people who hate are, yes, fine, all right, haters, who would hate anything and just like seeing light and beauty sucked out of the world. But many people hate with grounds. Or dislike. Or have constructive criticism to offer. Tarred with the broad brush of hating, these people are silenced, and we are deprived of a valuable service.

“Hater” is a terrible term. It silences. As Chris Richards put it in his (hatin’) review of Taylor Swift’s latest effort, “Clap a little louder or be excommunicated to the valley of the haters. Those are your options in this ludicrous world.”

Just because I don’t enjoy the latest Taylor Swift album does not mean I’m a hater. It could just mean that I do not enjoy heavy synths. If I do enjoy them, it is not because “lovin’ beats hatin’.” Lovin’ does not always beat hatin’, unless “Lovin’ ” is your fun, hip way of referring to the landmark case Loving v. Virginia, in which case this is literally true.

“Why you hatin’?”

“In this case, I’m not hatin’! I am constructively criticizin’!”

There is such a thing as taste. Yes, as Voltaire once put it, “the best stomachs are not those that refuse all food,” but, seriously, havin’ discriminatin’ (no, never mind, I am annoying myself now) taste is not an Internet crime, no matter what they tell you.

Don’t listen to the tautological refrain. You can judge something without being a hater. You can dislike it. You can object to it in colorful terms. This is not personal, creators of slogans and art and music of the world. If we loved everything you did, our approval would be meaningless, as my parents used to tell me after school plays.

Hatin’ is necessary. And as for this slogan?

I’m hatin’ it.