Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TO OPINE

A comment from Brown-haired Megan (if you read the comments deposited here you know her as Keli'i and Megan) sparked a thought. A consideration.

My opinion on opinions.

Some people aren't highly opinionated. They're oft apathetic or neutral; they're selective in their persuasions. I'm not one of those. And though I'm sure I was already aware of these people, last week Megan reminded me of their existence. She was surprised (but wasn't, but was) that I had opinions on fonts. And I was truly surprised that she did not. That anyone wouldn't.

I have a tough go finding topics that I don't think merit a ruling. There are so many worthy bits on which to opine . . .

Music. I'm not a fan of female singers. Give me men. I can't abide moany woman music, the slit-your-wrists-cause-he-broke-up-with-you kind of tunes. There's a good woman ditty here and there, but 95% of the music on my computer is made of men. I'm no kind of musician, but it doesn't mean that I haven't developed an opinion on the stuff.

Weather. I hate cold winter. (I am using the word hate about cold winters.)

Billboards. It's probably a good idea not to get me started regarding the billboards along I-15 in Utah Valley. See, I worked in advertising in Vegas for a while. (Yup, I was paid to promote the slut and smut of Sin City; now I work in what some deem an equally vile industry promoting things that help folks live longer and healthier.) And during my tenure in that position I learned about outdoor signage. And now I know what good looks like. And what bad looks like. And ugly.

Fonts. But you already knew that.

Health. I am passionate about good health and have a robust opinion or two regarding the modern disregard of health. It's not because I want everyone to wear a size 2; it's because so many people (most people) ignore or disregard their health to immense detriment that they don't care to research, understand, or react to.

Food. Want to have a really, really, really long conversation? Ask me about food.

Probiotics. There are good ones and there are bad ones. The good ones are helpful to your digestive tract. The bad ones are useless. And I could play a starring role in a vigorous conversation on the misleading advertising of the useless ones.

Meat. These opinions are ones I do keep to myself. But they're there. Why I don't eat Bessie, Babe, Nemo, and Mary's little companion: my opinions.

Birth control. Use it. If you neglect it I will outright call you an idiot. Unless you're purposefully seeking pregnancy, in which case I'm more than happy to send you a Target gift card and some handwritten, sincere glad tidings of great joy. Do what's best for your family. But if you aren't seeking or ready for children, use birth control. Otherwise you're irresponsible and stupid.

Child-rearing. Yeah, I've never done it, so I shouldn't be allowed an opinion, right? Wrong. I inhabit a world populated with badly-behaved children and parents who refuse to take responsibility and teach their kids some friggin' respect. Like this: it is unacceptable to stand on chairs and booths in restaurants. Not okay. It's not all right to let your kids run amok in said establishments. Teach 'em to behave or take 'em home. And any parent that says it's impossible to keep control of your children isn't my mother. She had six daughters that were in no way permitted to behave like banshees in public.

Thank-you notes. Write them. By hand. On notebook paper if you've got nothing else. A hand-written thank-you note is real thanks and a withering art.

Sex. It's essential in a healthy marriage. If anyone I know reveals to me that their weddedness is less than blissful, my first question (that I don't expect them to answer, perhaps only to consider) is How's your sex life? Sex helps marriage. No question.

TV. Turn it off. And don't leave it on when you have guests or are trying to hold a conversation. Talk. Or just go read a book.

Exercise. Do it already. There is no reason, excuse, or satisfactory notion why it's not necessary for well-being of all sorts.

And there's more. So much more: Taxes. Art. Blogging. Soymilk. Dogs. Pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical ignorance. In-laws. Afghanistan. Yoga. Lake Powell. Abortion. Lake Tahoe. California. Vinyl wall sayings. Your blog (if I read it). Iraq. Weight. American presidents. Conference calls. Births. Family relations. College. Nevada. Slaughterhouses. Hawaii. My phone. Complements. Kiwis (the people and the fruit). Talents. Literature. Homosexuality. Road trips. Curse words. Energy. The West Wing. Entitlement. People. Mirrors. Mini van drivers. Female coworkers. Etiquette. Emails. Plastic surgery. Water. Mac gear.

If I continued typing to exhaustion this list could outdo the Magna Carta. All these these topics elligible for opinion and not a single opinion arbitrary.

Each of the above is a theme I've seen as meriting the consideration necessary to conceive an opinion--a strong and defined position without impulse or haphazardry. An persuasion that's been crafted, weighed, can be very long-winded in explanation, and is informed in that it is born of research and experience. Some opinions are positive. Some of 'em negative. Some compelling to some and some compelling to others. None of them neutral.

Any one of these subject headings and innumerable others may ignite or find themselves the feature of one of my posts, but regardless of whether or not I choose to devote a few Remarks paragraphs to any one, each of the above topics I feel worthy of judgment and know that I'm capable of executing at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted diatribe on each.

And these are so few of so many.

My friend Brown-haired Megan reminded me that not everyone operates this way. Some people don't have an opinion on slaughterhouses or entitlement. They couldn't care less. And I don't understand that. If I encounter something, be it small or significant, I work on figuring out what I think of it. Some people just let the new something wander by without devoting consideration to it. I think that way of being is probably much less fatiguing than my method.

For I'm quite sure that it's not actually necessary that I have an opinion on your blog.
•••

In a response comment to my Rabid-friend a while back I said that I'm fine with other folks having opinions. It is our right. I really believe that. But I think that it's imperative to be able to substantiate one's opinions. Evidence. Reasons. Logic. Having a cause for a thought.

I am fervent about learning and have discovered people of all sorts to be remarkable resources. There have been plenty of occasions that I've listened to an opinion, one that's not random and is well-presented, and have found myself changing my mind, altering my own trained opinion. I cherish those types of dialogues, the ones built of evidence and experience, for they are the kind that have might.

•••

Don't forget that I'm unloading my first iPhone 3G. Head here to enter the giveaway. Get this thing off my desk. Your opportunity kicks the bucket tonight at midnight.

13 comments:

Keri Beth Mason said...

I am attempting to conceive. Do I get a target giftcard? and great tides of whatever?!

I also love the West Wing.

And my marriage is always way better when we're both having sex. With each other, that is.

rabidrunner said...

Encore! Encore! I want more!

I have an opinion on cell phones. Love 'em and hate 'em. I love that they keep us all connected. Hate how they disconnect us. Cell phones tend to fragment everything - by interrupting time dedicated to something.

This is what impressed me most about you: Within our three-hour conversation, not once did you glance down at your phone, pick it up to call someone or sneak a text in under the table. I knew at the time how important your little gadget is.

That, friend, is rare. It's a gesture that made me feel important. Deserves a thank you note (amongst the stack I already owe you). I honestly cannot remember the last time I met a friend for lunch (or something else) and wasn't rudely interrupted with their many unimportant goings on.

You didn't ask for an opinion, but your talk of restaurant manners sparked this thought.

I also just realized that I could have sent this in an e-mail, but oh well. Copy and paste is broke.

Maria said...

One of your topics on your list has caught my attention. Mini van drivers. I would so love to hear your opinions on these people. :)

Shelby Lou said...

Have you ever listened to Tristan Prettyman? I think she is amazing. I know what you say about whiny girl singers, but give her a go. Really. She sings with G. Love & Special Sauce, and Jason Mraz.. if that makes you feel more inclined.

I don't think I have much of an opinion on anything. IF I tried to have an opinion on HALF of the stuff you do, I wouldn't have enough information for it to be legit.

Jaime Stephens said...

ha and that is why it takes me 15 minutes and 25 backspaces to write a comment on here .. Scared of the opinion you may have... And thats because I respect your opinions not because I am scared to have a different opinion because opinions are good...

meg said...

Well then I'm flattered that you do choose to leave comments here, seeing as it can be time consuming. But be not afraid of my opinionater; you're quite charming and when it comes to comments I judge gently, for I myself generally leave my response comments using my phone, thus leaving behind many an uncorrected error.

And Rabid, you gave me a great complement in your comment on my phone etiquette. It's something The Husband and I make a priority, so thanks.

repliderium.com said...

I think it is scientifically impossible for me to not have an opinion. On anything..... even if I know nothing about it.

Brandon and Julie said...

I'm opinionated enought...but probably not outspoken enough. I have my areas that, I assure you, if you test me on them, I will fight hard (disabilities, autism, mental disorders) without thinking twice about it. And then there are other things I have an opinion about that I just won't share, like politics or those uninformed on bi-polar disorder, mainly because an opinion in some such arena's wear me out, are tiresome, and you always seem to encounter someone or several someones who have based their opinions on absolutely nothing valid. I don't care to get into a heated discussion about important things with uninformed people.

But I am thinking maybe I should speak up a bit more. I sometimes struggle to verbally articulate the importance of what I am feeling. Maybe I need to choose another arena to express myself. There is power in opinions and I have to respect that.

J said...

this past weekend my mother told me that she loves that i have an opinion about everything. problem is, i can't keep my mouth shut sometimes and i have on ocassion told people they are full of shit. yeah, not really good for making friends. i have to reign myself in sometimes (or the husband kindly pats my shoulder and shooshes me when i get out of control). opinions are good things, but i've learned that sometimes we have to moderate them based on the situation because the opinion may fall on deaf ears.

Misti said...

I would love to hear opinions on all of this. Keep it coming!

And the birth control opinions...exactly!!!

The Porter Family said...

Couldn't agree more with your sex opinion...so true.

Wendy said...

I think the word "opinionated" just has a bad reputation. I have opinions about everything on your list but I've never considered myself an opinionated person. Maybe I don't want the negative qualities society tries to assign to people who care? Guess what? I do care.

I actually have a draft of my thoughts on tv in my post list.

somethinggirl said...

First, I also am not a big fan of female singers. Give me a man with a guitar.

Second, I also don't understand the people who have few opinions. I tend to assume they aren't educated or thoughtful.

But I AM glad that I'm not as opinionated as I used to be. I'm happier this way. Less indignation. Less frustration.

There are only three things I can think off, offhand that get me riled up when other people don't agree with me: health care, education, gun control. Otherwise, I have an easy time having my opinions and allowing other people to have their own without thinking they're "wrong" or stupid or any way inferior. I hope you're the same way.