Haters Gonna Hate…Or Are They?

Carrie Underwood as Maria (Photo: Nino Munoz/NBC)

Carrie Underwood as Maria (Photo: Nino Munoz/NBC)

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but a little while ago, NBC did a live version of The Sound Of Music.  As it aired (and after), there was much brouhaha about how people criticized the…well…everything about it.  Apparently Carrie Underwood (who played Maria) responded by opining that “mean people need Jesus.”  Now I didn’t see the broadcast, so I honestly have no opinion about the quality of the production.  It could have been amazing or horrible or both or neither – I really don’t know.  But I do have a definite opinion about the reactions…and about the reactions to the reactions.

As I understand it, in broad strokes, here’s how it went down.  The live broadcast began to air and, given the world we live in and social media and whatnot, people began to post their criticisms – some of which were quite harsh.  Were they accurate?  I have no idea – I really haven’t seen it yet. But, almost as quickly as the critiques began, other people (presumably) began the chants – literal and metaphorical – of “haters gonna hate.”

But here’s my point – if indeed I have one…which I do.  There certainly are people who are just looking to bash things – perhaps because they are jealous, perhaps because they are angry or bitter or just mean.  Those people exist and the internet has made them bolder and louder than most of them would be in person.  However, the thing about this whole “haters gonna hate” thing is that it lumps together and disregards any person who doesn’t like something you like – and that, ultimately, isn’t a good thing for our little theatrical community.

Haters gonna hate.

Maybe not the right attitude.

Not everybody has to (or should) like everything you do creatively.  But that doesn’t make them mean, or a bad person or a “hater.”  Because, while you can’t be creative based solely on someone else’s criticisms, it’s also a very bad idea to ignore every criticism.  Not every endeavor is a winner.  Not ever performance is perfect – or even good.  And, painful as they can be to hear, negative comments and criticisms can lead to growth and improvement – in fact, they should!

Where would some of our greatest creative minds be if, when they were told in their youth to work harder, do better and create smarter, they said “well, haters gonna hate” and continued at the level they were at?  In the end, what we all – myself included – need to keep in mind is that, as creative artists, we do ourselves a disservice if we take to heart every negative comment…or if we take to heart none of them.

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