The Art of Hating and Loving: A Defense of Dan Humphrey

At the end of Gossip Girl, there is a moment when Dan must decide whether to satirize Serena or to write an ode to her. He publishes the satirical denouncement of her character, while he gives the ode to her. She is mystified by how he could be so hateful if he loved her. Throughout the show, he deals with the same problem over and over again with other friends and family members.

I have watched Gossip Girl over and over again, but the most recent time this episode resonated with me. It kept echoing in my mind when I thought of friends I had lost and family I struggled to love. It occurred to me that I genuinely and deeply loved these people who I also profoundly and completely hated. I was as confused as Serena hearing it from Dan at first, but I started to see the similarities between Dan and I that explain how we could hate something and love it so powerfully, and incidentally, why the opposite of love is indifference not hate.

1. The first similarity between Dan and I is that we are both writers. We are living in our own novel/screenplay/blogpost, and everyone knows every written piece has a villain, and every written piece has a hero. If we are the hero then of course whoever we are struggling with would be the villain and vice versus. Moreover, every instant in our lives is a piece of a story and it therefore becomes more intense than it would normally have been.

2. We are both incredibly sensitive people. Dan Humphrey and I both feel things very deeply. Every single thing that happens to us is the entire world. If something is good, then it is a majestic perfect fairytale, if bad, then it is hell on earth. That being the case, when Serena slighted Dan it broke his heart and made his miserable, just as much as when she repaired their relationship it lit him up.

3. We are genuine. I think this is the most important of all. I think that if anyone really is honest with themselves, they sometimes hate the people they love, but there is a lot of fear about being honest about emotions in our society. Dan and I both strive to be honest about who we are and not to create a facade over our lives.(The fact that Dan was Gossip Girl doesn’t disprove this because even as Gossip Girl He was honest about who he was as a person.)

All of the above combine to create a perfect storm of whirlwind emotions. The important thing to note, though, is that the reasons for Dan’s hatred stem from his love for his family and friends. He is angry about what hurts them, or how they hurt themselves. We can see this in how he is willing to drop everything to help Upper East Siders whenever they are in trouble. It makes it obvious that love and hate are so closely related, that they are almost one.

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