Tag Archives: comment is free

Let’s not write all our opinion pieces like this

Something has happened in the news and I have an opinion about it. I’m going to try and convince you of my point, which you can tell because I’ve said “let’s not” in the title. This partisan polemic will be punctuated with lots of prescriptivist prose for pseudo-intellectuals to praise.

I’ll start by demonstrating how this thing that has happened in the news affects me personally. Perhaps something similar happened to me once, or I can get offended easily on someone else’s behalf. This makes me uniquely suited to telling you all what to think about it.

Next I’ll try and sum up the debate so far. I’ll go over the thing that happened in detail, even though you’re obviously already aware of what happened if you’re reading my comment. I’ll then explain what people have been saying about it so far. Look, here are some quotes from other comment-style articles! By laying out the debate like this I’m automatically making my opinion appear more valid; after all, I’ve surely considered all these opinions myself and still chosen to form my own. Patting myself on the back right now.

Now a whole paragraph in which I act as if I’m in any position to tell you how to live your life, or how government should form policy. So what if I’m massively over-simplifying how things get done? That’s not my problem. If I can write it, it can happen. I mean really, everyone would be better off if I just got put in charge of running the whole damn show.

Here are some statistics to back my point up. 25% of all statistics are used to prove points like this in comment pieces. Want a source for that statistic? Tough luck. I don’t need to back myself up, I just need to interpret the statistics in whatever way makes me look right.

But of course I wouldn’t say all this without thinking about the other side of the debate. Here are some imagined responses to my comment. Of course, they’re all straw men or ignore the nuance of real debate. But I win anyway! This makes it look like there’s no serious alternative to my point of view.

So that’s all pretty much case closed then. Here are some closing comments, even smarmier than the rest of the article. Feel free to let me know your point of view in the comments, which I have no intention of reading.