While being offered this opportunity to shout about whatever I liked, I made a very bold assertion: “E.Z. mate. I have an opinion on everything”.
Which, though slightly hyperbolic, is true in sentiment. Following the end of the conversation, I mentioned the task to a few friends who all responded in various degrees of amused apprehension: what was the allocated word count, because it would likely not be enough; which of my many rants about inequality would I be rehashing; how many people was I going to outrage; or alternatively, would my “opinion” be made redundant when everyone agreed with me and it was less of an opinion than it was simple common sense (no one said the last one but is it really that unlikely?).
As I pondered the endless possibilities, I became increasingly persecuted by a question of legitimacy. I had opinions, but did anyone really care what they were? This was unfamiliar territory for me; I am normally entirely without qualms when it comes to speaking out on various issues. The cancellation of Hannibal marks the beginning of the end for television standards. Virginity is a bullshit heteronormative social construct that should have been outmoded several decades ago. Mochas are not a “coffee abomination”. However, adding marshmallows or sugar to a mocha most certainly is.
When it came to declaring my opinions, I concluded that people would either already agree with me; call down various condescending curses upon myself, my ignorance and my children; or glance at the title before skipping past to the sudoku or The Moan Zone (you can’t fault Tom and Luke on their quality content)—so what was the point?
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I mulled this question over in the company of friends and several gin and tonics (a light and refreshing drink that does not deserve to be scoffed at), hoping to be thrown a buoy of inspiration amidst a sea of shanter (shit banter) and unnecessarily deep philosophical discussion. I can neither confirm nor deny whether this was a productive endeavour—upon waking I couldn’t remember anything.
I went on to research other opinion pieces and was largely met with well-written, fact-checked, meticulously constructed arguments. And while I agree that, ideally, opinions should have some sort of factual grounding, there remain plenty of circumstances where this is not the case. With regards to this piece, my opinions could be categorised with one of three considerations:
1) Too short for 500 words, e.g. kumara is the absolute worst vegetable.
2) Too long for 500 words, e.g. WALL-E is an accurate representation of how humanity will evolve using technology.
3) It’s just how I feel, e.g. Taylor Swift kind of annoys me.
With all three categories I continued to be obstructed by my initial concern: when it comes to being published, what makes my opinions worth anything? Sure, I could damn the patriarchy to all hell, but someone else would surely have done it better than I could last minute on a Wednesday night. At best an opinion piece will educate—but even then it is still a presentation of thoughts and information based on selective bias. Generally, people tend to seek out opinions that align with their own anyway—it’s why I don’t read anti-gay publications or reviews that say Sucker Punch is a good film.
So, after almost a week of constant dithering, I started throwing shit at a Word document to see what stuck (on reflection, that’s probably one of the lines that should have been cut) and I now present to you my convoluted and poorly structured opinion on opinion pieces. They can be entertaining and can, in some cases, spark a discussion of content—but ultimately, whether you agree or disagree with anything I have said, it’s very unlikely that you do so because I said it (and if it is, you need to reassess). But hey, you probably killed some time in that 3pm lecture and if that puts my writing on par with the sudoku for entertainment value, I’ll take it.
Elea is a second-year English Literature and Theatre major. This entitles her to simultaneously feel culturally superior to everyone, while bracing herself for a life of poverty—a future she may struggle with as she is morally repulsed by two-minute noodles.