Sunday, May 24, 2009

on my own opinion


i learned the hard way last november how your opinion can get you into trouble. or more accurately, being too concerned with your own opinion. that is, letting other people know what you think all the time. it's a problem pretty much as old as humankind itself. and i struggle with it.

the problem last november is that there were so many opinions swirling, and it was so easy to get caught up in the mania of the election and forget that, hey, we go through this every four years, and despite the fact that our society may actually be slowly disintigrating, this election alone could not change that.

the hyped sense of urgency is manufactured every few years (in direct relationship to the magnitude of the election) by the parties to try and "get out the vote." ironically, i believe it actually has a lot to do with the way that americans approach (or neglect) elections. everything is do or die, and most people don't like being put into that sort of situation. it's a little like when i would try to diet in the past few years...get myself hyped up to believe that it was now or never. and then when i failed, i despaired. with urgency comes inevitable despair. similarly, most americans either feel an unnecessary urgency and/or despair.

two items managed to capture this almost perfectly:
1. south park's episode on "vote or die" is absolutely perfect when it comes to describing the way that our society approaches voting. when you refuse to vote, you are immediately relegated to the extreme wings of society (where else would you go, right?).
2. the onion captured the perfect post-christmas-esque let down most obama supporters felt after a year solid of obama frenzy.

concerning the problem of my own opinion. to put it simply: i got caught up in the frenzy of urgency and despair. starting up my own google reader feed had a lot to do with this, honestly. the constant stream of information and ideas made it impossible for me to remain evenhanded. any strong opinion (and there were many!) was enough to send me off the deep end.

unfortunately, i had an outlet for this instability: the facebook feed. i was posting articles like crazy. in the end, however, without meaning to, i ended up hurting a very close friend, not so much because of my opinion, but rather because of the insensitivity in which i posted it. it didn't even register to me at first, that i might hurt somebody, but i was so far off the deep end, i'm not too sure anything would have registered.

so now, you might ask, why am i blogging? isn't blogging centered upon the immediate publication (and hopeful exultation) of one's opinion? well...yes. but, let's be honest...blogs are old school. and on the constantly sliding scale of the internet, when compared to twitter and facebook feeds, blogs are the place of disciplined opinion. that's the problem with twitter, on a more fundamental level--it's unbridled opinion without discipline. or at least, being a new medium, it invites that lack of discipline. nowadays, it's the blogs that finally have come into their own as opinion that is finally coming under the reign of self-control. all those who were completely unbridled have left blogs for twitter. let's face it, when my old agrarian leaning prof, mark mitchell, is blogging, something has come to the blogosphere that is worth holding onto.

and so, it is with this in mind that i plan on blogging in such a way that is disciplined in opinion, in hopes that i actually have something interesting to say.

oh, and i thought of a catchy new phrase to describe this blog....punctuation, without capitalization. like?

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