Yes, It’s All About Opinions

Yet again, I have to engage in the supremely boring discussion that crops up with a daunting regularity on this blog. “Oh, these are just your subjective opinions,” people exclaim triumphantly.

Really? You don’t say. What a huge revelation. Because the header of this blog hasn’t said from day one of its existence, “An academic’s opinions. . .” Oh, wait, though. Yes, it has.

People come here to read my opinions on a variety of subjects and to express their opinions. They don’t come here to read my academic research. So questions of the “what kind of an academic you are if you are just expressing your subjective opinions?” variety make absolutely no sense. I’m the kind of academic who decided to start a blog to express her subjective opinions and made it crystal clear from the start that this was her only intention. Seriously, either just deal with this already or move on.

If anybody has any suggestions on how I can make it even clearer than I already have that this blog contains my opinions, feel free to share. Because I’ve written a variation on this very post so many times that I’m losing count.

45 thoughts on “Yes, It’s All About Opinions

  1. If it’s any consolation, as I found out eventually, the opposite of “subjective opinion” is not actually “rigorous academic research”, as you might imagine. What does the average person care or know about that, except that it is supposed to lend you abstract authority?

    It’s troll metaphysics. Nothing is more objective than troll metaphysics and if you happen to disagree with that, “you’re just being emotional!”

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    1. My blog is also a space where I can be as emotional as I like. I doubt anybody would even want to read it if I did nothing but post endless lists of facts delivered in a detached, cold language.

      For something like that, people could read Encyclopedia Britannica. Or the dictionary. I heard the phone directory is also a fount of objectivity. And there is not a single emotion in sight there.

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      1. My blog contains only emotional material, and I’m very frank in explaining so. I’ve been emotionally inert lately, hence the writer’s block.

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        1. That’s the only way to make what you write useful, in my opinion. Even in academic writing, the moment passion is gone, the readers feel it and tell you that you have become boring.

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  2. A lot of trolls, not just on the Internet but in real life, like to use the rhetoric that whatever women say or do has only a subjective point of reference. This is a dangerous line to take with me, because I generally can and do accept it as a challenge to ignore whatever the other party is saying that isn’t wholly objective. My early conditioning, up to the age of 15, was very, very devoid of emotional expression. I came from the British stiff upper lip tradition in an extreme sense to the point of not knowing even what my own emotions were like. Learning to acknowledge and experience them has been an ongoing project. So if somebody wants to play gender by implying that my views are somehow more “subjective” than theirs, I can turn off the tap of interpersonal feeling faster than it takes to switch a light off. I’m particularly inured to the playful spirit of Brer Rabbit : “Whatever you do, don’t throw me into the briar patch!” It’s where I was born and bred.

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  3. bloggerclarissa :
    That’s the only way to make what you write useful, in my opinion. Even in academic writing, the moment passion is gone, the readers feel it and tell you that you have become boring.

    I strongly believe this! Yet we have this awful school of thought that teaches our engineers and mathematicians to write in the most passive of voices. This is a style which makes it almost impossible to express any enthusiasm for an idea.

    Needless to say, I don’t adopt this style myself and only very occasionally get a review that chastises what the reviewer has seen as inappropriate informal language. Most of the time I get comments like (and this is a real one) “The paper is well written – it does a good job of including both the mathematics and the intuition of the authors’ ideas.”

    It is comments like these I like to rub in the faces of the communications lecturers who push this deadly boring writing style.

    Hmmm looks like that was my rant for the day, sorry

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  4. Jennifer Frances Armstrong :
    It’s troll metaphysics. Nothing is more objective than troll metaphysics and if you happen to disagree with that, “you’re just being emotional!”

    This is definitely the conclusion drawn by trolls when person being trolled is a woman. It is less clear what the conclusion is when the subject of the troll is a man. Do you have any thoughts on that Jennifer?

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    1. Well in a trollish universe, everything is binary — I mean absolutely everything. There are no shades of grey, only objective or subjective, masculine or feminine, us or them. I think you will find that if a troll disagrees with you, you will probably be cast as “feminine” in some way, even if you happen to be male. In troll-land, feminine attributes are purely negative and male attributes are purely positive.

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        1. That reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to ask you about Clarissaspeak but never got a round tuit. Does housewifery rhyme with midwifery?

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  5. bloggerclarissa :
    As I said before, my two most vicious trolls and cyberstalkers were two housewives. So I find it hard to see trolling as a gender issue.

    That’s strange. I’m sure trolls are good at finding our vulnerabilities. Mine was gender. And there are, in fact, a lot of gender based trolls out there.

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  6. Ok! One moment, Clarissa! ¡Tu no opinas en nada! to quote Mama Elena in Como agua para chocolate. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. 🙂

    I get paid to write & speak my opinion daily. If only more people would do so, instead of cloaking it as though it were “God’s Truth”.

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      1. The first book I read in Spanish was “Amalia” by Mármol while I was in high school. I found it very difficult also and have not tried to read it again. So I understand you hating “Como agua para chocolate”.

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        1. After a moment’s thought I am embarrassed to admit that I have not yet attempted to read a book-length work in Spanish. The first Spanish language book I ever purchased was Mil Ochenta Recetas de Cocina, which is apparently available for free, hopefully legally.

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  7. “Oh, these are just your subjective opinions,” people exclaim triumphantly.

    “Oh, this is just you wanking off because you’ve finally discovered how to read!”

    I suppose there should be a way to respond without calling into question trolls’ reading comprehension or masturbatory habits.

    But it’s been a long day.

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    1. To clarify — because context might not actually be there — my quoted response was intended as a mock response to trolls, not to you directly.

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  8. So what are your opinions? We would like to know what you actually think about things, and in great detail. Might I suggest a series of posts in which you tell us what your REALLY think? You might start with literature, feminism, politics, religion, and the FSU.

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  9. Allow me to offer a very simple solution to your predicament:
    Make it clear that it’s your opinion from the start. Sure, YOU know what you mean but try to see it from the point of view of visitors – in particular new ones. They usually arrive through links or searches which means they end up only seeing the title of the post along with the content of that post.

    For example, if you title a post “Pick-up Artists” that suggests something like a definition or description of the term. Instead say something like “What I think of Pick-up Artists” and then it’s clear.

    Also writing sentences like
    “The main idea behind this “art of pick-up” is that you have to be as insulting as possible to attract women’s attention.”
    are likely to be misunderstood as a statement of absolute truth rather than just an opinion because that’s exactly the way it’s phrased. Here you might write something like:

    “My impression of this “art of pick-up” is….”

    I have a feeling that might help.

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    1. The only thing I hate more than people not reading the blog’s header is people presuming to offer me advice on how to run my very popular blog. Those who are such experts on blogging should start blogs of their own and put all of their suggestions in practice there. I only started my blog 2,5 years ago, and already it is extremely popular. So maybe I know what I’m doing, eh?

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      1. Excuse me but it was you who asked for this advice in this very post:
        “If anybody has any suggestions on how I can make it even clearer than I already have that this blog contains my opinions, feel free to share.”

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