April 9, 2013

The opinionater


opinionI found myself yelling at the tele like I tend to do on Monday nights when Q&A pops on. I was angry last night about the focus of the all women panel. I was waiting for thoughts on child support non-payers, equal pay, promotional opportunities. What did we get? An argument about chivalry and an uncomfortable silence about whether or not little girls aspire to be sex workers.

I was still thinking it over this morning. I was still thinking about how a person gets to turn their inside opinion to the outside via the media and where they get the guts to do that.¬†My dad ripped a story out of his magazine for me last month, it was waiting on his large dining room table when we stopped by for lunch the other weekend. He pointed at it and said he thought I’d enjoy it.¬†Carrie Miller’s short piece was written in the way that so many pieces are at the moment, with a real life spin but a global voice. A sense that the writer is writing on behalf of nameless crowds when in actual fact that are only writing from their little corner of the universe.

It got me thinking about where is the space between opinion and truth? The way the media is geared at the moment if you have a strong personality, a media presence and availability then you are given the chance to talk. Qualifications aren’t necessary but a capacity to speak for the masses is valued. Who these masses are is another point entirely.

The piece by Carrie Miller in the Spectator spoke about the ban on children in some cafes and the ways in which this new need to speak out about the challenges of parenting (which Im quite sure isnt a new thing, its just a new platform of doing it) and that ‘since the rise of the parenting industry’ and the over-emphasis on the elusive work/life balance that parents have tweaked their behaviour to placing their kids first, that poorly behaved children are a product of parents who couldnt be bothered giving them attention.

Thats the problem with opinion pieces, they state a persons fact – either in paper, or on tele – and they dont give you a chance to truly reply. To say ‘um no I don’t think so’, to deny the fact that there is a rising parenting industry (what does that even mean??), that we can talk about what women want without women being given the chance to ask a question and reply or choose to remain silence. Some days I want the chance to have a 2-way chat. Or is that missing the point of social commentating entirely?

Whats your take on the opinionater? Love them or perplexed by them?

Image from here

Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. I too was somewhat disappointed by Q & A last night, blogged about it a minute ago. But on your other point – I think we are living in a time where opinion rules, which makes it very difficult when you are person who sees the world in tones of grey rather than black/white. While there is a place for opinion, I think it is a dangerous to consider a time where objective journalism disappears and everyone regards opinion as the honest-to-god truth. It is simply one perspective (often with little fact to back it up). While the on-line world has given a voice to many who once found it difficult to be heard, there comes some responsibility with that power and we should all be careful that we don’t end up simply ranting and raving our opinion without thought for the impact of our words or consideration for other viewpoints.

    • Thank you Janine – that is so eloquently put! Im always concious that I never place my words in the position of me saying something is black and white, words have the capacity to start wars (and whilst I know that I dont have the audience to start those – or want to) its important to read back over my ideas and make sure that they cant hurt people who are feeling vulnerable! Heading over to read your thoughts now x

  2. I thought GG was in form last night but yes, felt a similar frustration with the topics! I’m not sure how to feel about the other. Digital has given rise to this co-creation of content where everything a journalist writes is instantly critiqued and according to my uni notes (which I’m possibly reading wrong!) has resulted in the decline of jobs. Have we ended up with what we deserve/asked for? Who knows, but if I never read another “child in cafe” story again it’ll be too soon. Great food for thought x

  3. I’ll extend the child in a cafe concept Carli to basically any tips about parenting where someone passes judgement on why a child behaves in a particular way. I think when you merge the worlds of people who have quals, or experience, or professional ethics with people prepared to give their 2 cents worth it makes people think they cant comment. I like to listen to informed people with global thoughts – Im happy to be passive. Commenting because you heard someone, saw something, read something is a totally different thing… lotsa food for thought x

  4. Sarah – I didn’t watch Q&A last night. I was pretty stuffed with our two plus nephew. I am really torn, because on one hand I think the voices of many parents (and people) are a rich tapestry and often validate our own feelings, or challenge our thinking, in ways that objective journalism can’t. On the other hand, as a former journo, I feel that there is a strong place for objective journalism, and rue the rise of opinion. I think opinions can be great only as long as others are considered….great post (IMHO)..hee. hee

    • I love that line Kathy ‘opinions are great as long as others are considered’ – it hits the nail on the head . Im all for opinions as long as they are qualified as that – its frustrating to hear people talk on behalf of others when no one asked them to talk in the first place…

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more Kathy, journo’s must be hanging their heads in frustration at the lack of well thought out, considered, and expert arguments and instead watch in despair as the masses flock to the consensus of those that really aren’t in any position to guide those too inept or lazy to form their own.

  6. I don’t really have a problem with opinionators. I used to, but I guess maturity (for use of a better word!) has enabled me to take on board their opinion and then draw my own conclusions. We are all different, with different upbringings, values and views on life so will ultimately have different opinions. Yes, some are more forceful than others, but I think it is the reader or listeners responsibility to remain objective and form their own opinion based on facts and their own feelings.
    Having said that, I think it is okay to have an opinion and share a point of view, but it is when that opinion is a judgment that problems arise.

    • I think Ive learnt to not get in to heated debates either Jodi if I disagree with people, based on their opinions. Its just that there seems to be a fine line between opinions and enforcing judgement or misconceptions on others. I think I need to watch some trashy fictional TV shows for a while and calm it all done. Thanks for commenting x


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Mental health, Parenting