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Un-Assignment: Not An Op-Ed

August 10, 2010

This week’s Weekend Assignment asks us to write an “op-ed” and tell our opinion about something:

Weekend Assignment #330: Op-Ed

Time to flex your writing muscle again, because for this week only, the Weekend Assignment blog is being changed to The Weekend Assignment Chronicle! Now, we need some Op-Eds to make things a little more interesting around here. Your assignment is to pick a current event and write your opinion regarding it. Anything goes. Write about politics, the economy, or maybe even your opinion about an incident in pop culture. It’s all good. It’s good to exchange opinions, especially when it’s done with respect. So, feel free to speak up here!

Extra Credit: Do you read the Op-Eds? Yes? No? Tell us about it!

And, guess what?  I have opinions.  About many different things!

And… I’m going to pass.  Because, yeah, I have strong opinions about important issues of our day.  And sometimes, maybe I fear exposing those opinions because I don’t want to stir controversy, or because I fear what others will think if they know my opinions.  But I’ve done it before, publicly.  I’ve shared my opinions on big topics here and in other public fora.

But that thing I fear: there’s something worse than that.  Because what happens when I share my opinion, and I offend or hurt someone that I actually care about or someone who’s contrary opinion should matter to me?  Was sharing my opinion worth it?  Even if I happen to be right?

Which of course, sometimes I’m not.  Because, for one thing, opinions aren’t just these ideas we have that cannot be proven right or wrong.  Not every opinion is the equal of every other opinion.  Sometimes, an opinion in misinformed, or predicated on false pretenses.  Sometimes, an opinion is just plain wrong.  And I’ve had those kinds of opinions in the past.  And they’re worth exactly the paper they’re printed on (and since they often aren’t printed at all… they’re worth exactly that, too: nothing). 

Interestingly, this is a response to some big news-worthy current events: I can think of at least two at this moment that I could be writing about in this not-an-op-ed.  And I have opinions on those.  But I’m not completely sure what that sharing my opinions on either of those or any other topic is of value at this exact moment.   On at least one of those topics I shared my opinion multiple times with certain people, and I’m now worried that having done so, I’ve hurt my relationships with those people.  And even if I think the contrary position is wrong, quite frankly the issue in my mind has absolutely no bearing on the nature of my relationships with these people, and hurting that relationship to say what I think is sort of like shooting off my nose to spite my face.  Or whatever that silly old aphorism is.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 3:49 pm

    Wow, you’ve just written your opinion on opinions.

    • August 10, 2010 4:03 pm

      And like all such opinions, this opinion is ephemeral. Tomorrow I might feel differently about opinions 😉

  2. August 11, 2010 1:50 am

    I agree with your opinion of opinions (I hope that doesn’t offend anyone).

    Personally, I wouldn’t share opinions on hot topics in an online forum because I think comments can be taken out of context, or offense taken when none was intended.

    Congrats for taking a stand on opinions, but you’ll still be respected should you change your mind in the future.

    • August 11, 2010 8:42 am

      The problem is, though, that I’m just too opinionated. But I’ve had some bad turns in expressing my opinion of late. The key, I suppose, is finding a way to express an opinion in a way that’s respectful of opinions that differ. But right now, here in the U.S. at least, we don’t live in a society where that’s generally possible because opinions, in general, are running high, hot, and heavy, and more opinions are being traded as facts these days. Oh well…

      • August 12, 2010 5:54 pm

        I’m offended by Janna’s opinion on opinions…I want to file a lawsuit.

        If I’m hearing you right, Stephen, you’re saying that opinions are not taken well? I would AGREE so much with you. 🙂 I think we need to be stop being so oversensitive about sensitivity here in the US of A.

      • August 12, 2010 10:30 pm

        Heck, here in the U.S. we don’t even call them opinions anymore… No matter what side of an issue you’re on, people tend to treat their opinions as fact. And if other people don’t automatically know that they are right and kowtow to the superior opinion, then they are branded as un-American or some other such meaningless epithet. I mean… I happen to be right about those issues, of course, but that doesn’t mean I should be rude about it when talking to other people… 😉

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