I could never sink into the 1973 film of Bang the Drum Slowly (Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro), and I never read the original 1956 novel by Mark Harris, and until last night I’d never seen the 1956 U.S. Steel Hour TV version with Paul Newman and Albert Salmi. Back then it was “rag on” but in a one-on-one context; these days “hate ons” are a form of performance art & entertainment — online blitzkriegs against actors, films, directors.

In the mid ’50s individually ragging on someone was cruel; these days hating on is par for the ironic course, gladiatorial combat for the chortling multitudes.