Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Echidne Thought: On What Opinions Mean.

It would be easier to write a post if one didn't have to do research first, sigh, just as it's easier to give strong opinions without first thinking about the topic carefully. Or at all.

This has to do with something I read quite a while ago which stated that opinion writers should write about topics on which we don't have any good evidence, that this is the proper role of opinions, and that those opinions should be strong ones, to maximize readership.

I was left shaking for a while after absorbing that, because everything I wrote was All Wrong! It was a liberating moment, exhilarating even. But it left me thinking that I should simply kill this blog. You can see the ladders and maps (or training wheels on my bike) in the archives everywhere, the attempt to base things on evidence, the hedging and on-the-other-handing! I'm a wimp goddess. Yessir.

The most recent reason for this whining post is with the burden of doing research on why people vote against their own best economic and sociological interest. I get entangled in those academic articles, coming out covered with spiderwebs and soot and carrying the oddest academic terms in my hands, to ponder over them for hours. What do people mean when they say that voters want structure? What do they mean when they talk about values? Why are my values not real values and why is the structure I want not regarded as a structure?

Now, had I written that post on why peasants vote for their feudal overlords without doing any research the post would have been snappy and spiffy and clear. Who knows what it will be now if it ever gets created.

Which is to point out that pure opinion writing might be easier, after all.