However, I don't understand the blatant systemd misrepresentation/hatred
About 80% of the hatred comes from the bandwagon effect. I'll bet the vast majority of the haters have no idea who Poettering, only he's some bad guy we have to hate. The other 20% of the hate comes from graybeard sys admins who know the unique file formats of the 1000 different config utilities Linux has traditionally had and are either afraid to learn anything new or afraid that they might not be so indispensable at their jobs.
What systemd does is give a single consistent way of configuring the system. You want security nightmare, how about the 1000's of freaking shell scripts that call each other in a giant mass of spaghetti to configure a traditional Linux system.
One of the great benefits of systemd is that it is written in C and not a giant mess of shell scripts. With C, you actually get COMPILE TIME CHECKING. With these dammed shell scripts, you have no idea if they work up until they run, and you have no idea what execution path they could go through. Shell scripts are fine a glue code for user programs, but give me something with some static checking like C for critical components.
Have you actually looked at any of these shell scripts? The largest one in F14 is less that 400 lines and they are all straight forward to read. Where is the tangled mess and when have they ever not worked for you?