In My Opinion …

16 May

In My Opinion …

By L. Stewart Marsden

I often tell people my opinion and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee just about anywhere. Cheaper at McDonald’s, if it’s just the coffee with maybe some cream and sugar. They offer the fancy stuff as well for a little more of your hard-earned money.

Starbucks — depending on how much candifying and latte-izing and frappawrappa-dooing you want and need to dull the bitterness of the actual coffee — will take every bit of that Fairy Floss plus whatever sales tax the guv’mint allows you to pay them.

The basic meaning of the phrase, which my friends now consider well-worn in their presence, is that my opinion isn’t worth much in the long run. You can — if you so choose — pretty well get along in life without it.

The word opinion is derived from the Latin, opinare and opinio. Now, just say that word. Oh-pee-nee-oh. If I have to paint you a graphic picture of the inference here, then you truly need to go buy more Viagra.

Then it became used by the French (but of course!)

It has many definitions, all related. The Latin means “think or believe.”

An opinion can be a legal judgment. The judge rendered her opinion in the case Johns v. Settlemeyer.

An opinion can be of value, and sought after. What do you think about this new stock offering, Mr. Buffett?

An opinion can be unsolicited but offered anyway. Go no further than Facebook entries for great examples. The prompt below was Tavis Smiley says that poverty among black Americans is largely due to government programs that discouraged fatherhood and helped cause the destruction of the black family unit.

The social media opinionaters’ responses:

Dem gov led to this ignorrance† !!
Like • Reply • 2 hrs
Truman’s War on Poverty. Democrat Slavery.
Like • Reply • 2 hrs
Welfare was never meant to help. It was only to insure† the vote of the one receiving someone else’s money.
Like • Reply • 1 • 2 hrs
Ah oh!! This guy is going to get slammed for telling the truth!
Like • Reply • 2 hrs
So true!

†If you are going to give your opinion, please spell and use words correctly! “Ignorance” is the correct spelling (ironic, though), and ”ensure” is the right word.

It is a first-cousin of the word opine — which is an oft-used crossword puzzle word. It means to “hold and state as one’s opinion.” It conjures images of street-corner preachers thumping their Bibles and opining about the end of the world, etc. Or of congressmen filibustering on the floor of the House. Or political candidates, bellowing their opinions on everything from angels to zebras, then changing opinion as the winds of consensus and financial support change.

Opinion is also like a red herring that diverts attention from what really matters. Or is perceived as such if the opinion is aimed at you. “Well, that’s your opinion.” Rendering the opinion basically false and without value.

We are told that other opinions directed toward us should not hinder, deter or otherwise dissuade us from who we know ourselves to be. And yet, often the most reliable opinions are rendered not by our friends and supporters, but by people who actually know something. And we — should I say I? — don’t want to hear it. Keep your opinions to yourself, they/I say.

Counting myself among a group that commonly wants opinions — writers — I sigh at the “atta boy!”, “gee this is great!”, “you rock!” kinds of tidbits. Worse still are the social media that allow for “likes.” Whoever invented that as a response should be taken out immediately and drawn and quartered. In my opinion.

“I lost my beloved dog today … life partner for the last fifteen years!” 154 likes.

The opinions we writers seek will enable us to crack the steel ceiling of the publishing world. Or maybe dent it.

 

The Ultimate Rules for Opinions —

• The value of opinions lessens each time you give one.
• The accuracy of your opinion is in direct inverse relationship to the number of words used.
• Opinions matter less when not sought
• Opinions are the grist for the news media
• Opinions, and a five dollar bill, will get you a cup of coffee just about anywhere.

In my opinion, anyway. What’s yours?

 

Copyright © Lawrence S. Marsden, 16 May, 2015
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One Response to “In My Opinion …”

  1. InfiniteZip May 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    In my opinion, I just received an amusing insight via email that you are now following me….okay, hmmmm….I’m following you too😊 insure is to cover your car or home, assure is “I assure you that I am following, right?” Just kidding, like the photo on your about page…did not see it before…and I think Stinky is great too….

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