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An opinion on opinions

NANAIMO, B.C. (CUP) – Formulating cohesive opinions can be a challenge. Most people believe you can say anything and have it be a valid opinion.

It’s true that I could say something like, “The Eiffel tower is purple!” It’s true that it would be my opinion, but we all know that facts and science and about a trillion photographs could prove me wrong. The point is that having an opinion – one that you can back up – is a lost art.

It seems that in many conversations I have, people’s only defence for their controversial opinions is to say, “Well, that's my opinion.” What kind of bullshit is that? What are you, five? It seems to be happening with every topic: politics, smoking, hockey teams, and even books.

Argument and discourse are awesome things. To say that something is “just your opinion” and not have any facts to back it up is just weak. If someone disagrees with you, you should be able to unleash a full-fledged truth whirlwind of almost religious force onto his or her head. You should be prepared to practically die for your opinion. You should back your opinion up with questions that blow gaping holes in your opponent’s argument.

You should get passionate – even in the face of total unreason. It doesn’t matter how crazy, stupid, or illogical your opinion is, if you want to voice it, back it up.

University campuses are full of smart, well-spoken people – people who get straight A’s and write brilliant essays with thesis statements. Yet, when I’m talking to one of these students and say something like, “Hey, I think the Vancouver Canucks are the most useless hacks to ever touch a hockey puck, and I’m glad they lost to the infinitely better-looking, legendary Boston Bruins,” I’m met with blank stares followed by the refrain that drives me insane: “Well, that's just your opinion.” What? You wouldn’t shut up about the team for six months, and now you won’t even bother explaining all their stupid stats to me? 

Even if it has nothing to do with hockey, even if has nothing to do with politics, even if it comes down to a discussion about which colour is better, red or blue, you should back your opinion up – and not just on Facebook, either. Recently, especially in the fallout of the ongoing Occupy protests, it seems everyone has a malformed opinion to spew all over the Internet. But instead of putting their opinions on the web in a thoughtful manner, it seems most people are content to share single images with big text explaining entire world problems in six words or less. All you need is a damning picture and some size-90 Iimpact font, and bam! You’ve convinced everyone you have an awesome social opinion. You’re up to date on current events! You’re involved with things! If you really want to go above and beyond the call of duty, you’ll leave a short sentence about how you feel! That’s not an opinion; that’s empty posturing.

The changes going on in the world today cannot be boiled down to the pictures you “like” on Facebook. Do some research, form your own opinions about things, and don’t just follow the herd. If your opinion is controversial, defend it, and defend it well.

Brandy Tighe
The Navigator (Vancouver Island University)

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