Thursday, 26 March 2009
No Opinion Fridays
It begins how it always begins, and it always ends the same way. In tears. Either mine or the people around me.
How it begins is this: I read the news, or leave the house (rarely), or switch on the television or radio, or even sometimes just flick out my tongue snake-like… and the complex taste of imminent disaster is at once revealed to me, like the odour of a two day old corpse.
What this taste forewarns, is that slowly, surely, and tragically ineluctably, AN OPINION is forming in my brain.
Like a shadow creeping across the face of the sun, it is the harbinger of doom. Or at least a heated argument at breakfast.
Seemingly impotent in the face of the all-consuming OPINION, I feel compelled to share it with anyone who will listen (or lacks the motor skills to leave the vicinity).
For instance this morning, upon hearing the pronouncement by the Grand Wizard of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that God would not intervene to save the planet from global warming, I felt an OPINION forcing it’s way towards my mouth.
However, now that I’m 40 and affecting an air of wisdom - conferred merely by age rather than actual experience – I confronted this OPINION and by a force of will so extreme that it made my eye sockets fill with blood, I stopped this OPINION dead in its tracks.
Having achieved this minor victory, I have decided to employ this tactic more often. Not every day, maybe just one day a month. Like dress casual days, or Hawaiian shirt Fridays (don’t ask, it was a long tour), I am about to embark upon an experiment.
On the last Friday of the month, I will express no OPINION on anything whatsoever. This may make me appear ill-informed, or apathetic, but it should go someway to restoring my self-image as a calm, rational human, rather than the vitriol-spouting demagogue I suspect I am deep down.
I urge you to try it. When you read something about the government consulting you over the advertising of condoms but not bothering to ask whether we should go to war or not, or torture people or not, or shore up the banking system or not… instead of rising to the bait, rise instead to the challenge.
Say nothing. Think nothing. Turn the page quickly, turn off the radio, switch to the weather channel. Express not the merest hint of outrage.
Do you think the world really needs another OPINION? No, the world now has a surfeit of opinions, roughly to the tune of 7 billion. Like my vote, my opinion doesn’t matter.
Give it a go. It will if nothing else make you seem enigmatic for about an hour. As if you have more important things going on than worrying about a celebrity wedding, or… I don’t know… a war or famine or something.
I for one feel much better about NOT having actually expressed the opinion that Rowan Williams is clearly a buffoon. I can let slip a self-satisfied sigh that I DIDN'T say that on past evidence the number of God’s interventions to save anything on this fucking planet look pretty fucking thin on the ground.
I’m proud that I DIDN'T shout at the top of my voice from the campus bell tower (high powered rifle by my side) that if God didn’t intervene to stop wars, famines, natural disasters, school buses crashing, or good people dying - whilst simultaneously ensuring that bad people suffer - at any other fucking time in fucking history, then he as sure as hell isn’t going to fucking start now, you fucking fuckwit of a sky fairy-believing retard.
Hold the front fucking page, "God to do nothing in face of catastrophe". Moron.
No, I’m glad I didn’t say that. It would make me seem unhinged.
Good luck with your own “No Opinion Friday” or whichever day you choose.
Be warned, however, that on the morning of the following day, you will find yourself deluged by OPINIONS of all sorts, that are desperate to be heard.
Thank Tim Berners-Lee then, that we have the internet. The forum for all unhinged people like us through which to share our lighter, happier sides.
I really, really need to get out more. Or less. One of the two.
Next week: Tom goes to a kitten sanctuary (and takes a course in anger management).
The week after that: he discusses how to write complete sentences (without the use of brackets).