15 December 2015

In the Name of Spite

There are people who go through life carrying spite with them.  Why is that?

What does spite mean, apart from being mean?

Why has the British navy had so many ships named Spiteful?

Why did the British airforce call the proposed replacement of the Spitfire the Spiteful?

Are you ever spiteful?

There are people who are spiteful even if they are unlikely to benefit from that spite.  There are also people who act in an ambivalently generous yet hurtful manner.  There are people who offer hospitality who later impose themselves upon former guests inappropriately.  There are also former guests who subsequently impose themselves on their former hosts in an manipulative, exploitative way.

In economic situations, there are many ways in which spite is expressed.  There are people willing to make the lives of others miserable in order to derive a spiteful pleasure from the consequences.  They deliberately spoil or block views of beautiful scenery.  They deliberately make things ugly to annoy people.  They spitefully put up fences and buildings in a deliberate effort to make other people unhappy.  They spitefully intimidate others through threats of legal action, or even conduct malicious prosecutions.  They spitefully create more noise than is necessary when pursuing an activity.

There are spiteful people whose main sentiment is resentment.  This is often expressed as an appeal to spite.  It is communicated through the crab mentality and malicious joy.  Spiteful people act out feelings of hostility in socially harmful ways, and even personally harmful ways.

Spite can also be expressed in relation to jealousy, envy, revenge, self-harming activities, self-destructive anger and criminality.  Spiteful people may also begrudge successful people in other ways, especially if successful people are perceived as snobbish or arrogant.

Snobbery itself can be viewed as a form of spite.  Conspicuous consumption is often a maliciously way to display material success.  It is aimed at encouraging envy.  Advertisements are therefore spiteful when they encourage the purchase of status symbols.

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