Opinions are necessary aren’t they? I mean they provide insight into the speaker’s perspective, ideals, values and inherent biases. But… they’re pretty darn entertaining as well. Frankly speaking, our generation and the culture of the twenty-first century is grounded in opinion articles, opinionated “facts,” and opinionated actions.
Now you must be wondering, what in the world does she mean by that? Take a seat and let me explain.
The media we call social, the memes that adorn our feeds, the innocuous stickers we place so precisely on our rear-windows and freshly shined bummers; these are all forms of opinions. They are part of our narrative. They say something about us without us even having to speak. These symbols of our beliefs create an “identity kit.” One that may help build our credibility amongst peers or completely trash our reputation amongst scholars and mentors.
Nonetheless, we all have opinions and according to popular belief: “you’re opinion MATTERS.” Does that same subjective and comforting logic apply to opinion writers and editorial press? Perhaps in a different way.
After reading some of the opinion editorials, a similar theme painted across my mind as I swiftly scrolled through the pages. Opinion writers, not all mostly jog a conversation about a topic that is headlining in our nation or around the world. I did my best to read these articles from the viewpoint of a general audience member, aka an American. Not a college student, not a minority, not a liberal, not a democrat, not any other categorizing label. Just your average face in the crowd. Changing my lenses and adopting a new pair, I was able to notice the structure of this genre. Mostly short and to the point, opinion editorials read like a manuscript of a dinner conversation… Where only one person is doing all the talking, though.
Person A states everything they want about the chosen topic, they may or may not sprinkle in some quotes and facts to somewhat fluff up their ethos, but the conversation always ends in someone asking: “So what?! What are you going to do about this? Oh well, that’s politics for ya.” Haven’t we all heard that before?
My college student persona did creep in eventually, to be honest. I don’t mean to judge, but it was hard to remain objective and absorb the information presented to me in the Op-Ed articles. Even if I agreed with some issues more than others, I see them as mere igniters of debates and much-needed dialogue amongst their intended audiences. Completely opposite to the structure of an academic paper, OP-Ed articles serve an important purpose- they present the narrative of he writer, discuss important topics, engage audience members to add in their two-sense (hopefully back-up by facts) and help exercise our first amendment rights.
You can use pathos! Everyone can use pathos! Not in an enthusiastic way with Oprah shouting and pointing across the room, but in subtle ways to persuade Americans. Op-Ed articles are at times relatable to people who are sick and tired of political correctness and teleprompter speeches. Op-Ed articles, although not always based on logical facts, do serve a purpose.
That purpose of Op-Ed articles are to engage people. Either in a collective discussion or a heated debate, they spark interest in issues that poke at their ideologies and examine their underlying biases.