No Defence Necessary

I’m getting tired of conversations in which I have to defend and support my opinions. If I was posting every day, I’d say that maybe my blog has me used to saying what I like. But I’m not.

So I’ve thought about it. I am used to challenging other people’s opinions, especially when I know they’re based on bad information or I don’t understand it. That doesn’t seem like the same thing. Challenging is asking direct questions. Not just asking why. I feel like an example is needed, but I haven’t really got a ready one. I’ll make one up about books, that’s usually easy.

Their Opinion: The ending of this book was really clever.

My Challenge: I thought it was gimmicky. The whole thing led up to the hero making a noble sacrifice. But then everyone died but him. It didn’t make any sense.

Their Rebuttal: That’s why it was clever! Subverting expectations.

My Further Comment: That isn’t always clever. Sometimes it’s just a gimmick.

See? This is a conversation. You don’t have to agree, and you don’t have to be butt hurt. Maybe not everyone ends up happy with it, but it’s better than this:

My Opinion: I thought that killing the sister was a cheap bid for pathos.

Their Challenge: Why?

Sometimes I can answer the question, but other times I just get flustered. There’s nothing to respond to with Why. It’s basically like saying No. Sigh. Maybe it’s all in the tone. One I hear a lot. I don’t know what it is about my opinions or the way that I voice them that invites people to challenge, disagree, or dismiss me. If I don’t have an answer, then my opinion is Wrong.

Maybe Why isn’t even the problem. Maybe it’s just the dismissal thing.

…BTW, the answer to that question is that the sister character was barely around, never exhibited a single flaw, and clearly existed only to excite certain emotions in the main character, e.g. protectiveness, human-to-pet affection, and responsibility. They didn’t even hang out together. I knew she was going to die before the end of the first chapter. It was only a question of when.

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2 thoughts on “No Defence Necessary

  1. I often find in situations where I have an opinion that is critical of some aspect of a work, that I will have to provide support from within the story depending on how far from the general consensus about the work is. In many cases, it’s about a sort of “distance from center.”

    For example, if everyone LOVES a movie because of X and thinks it’s a great “go team!” moment, but I find it depressing (opposite emotional response) due to mixed messages, then I have to provide examples throughout the narrative to support my dissenting conclusion.

    Over time, I find myself less and less willing to voice a dissenting opinion when I can gauge how much effort it will take to get my point across. In a way, it feels like moving magnets — the more drawn an individual is to their opinion, the more effort it takes to separate them enough that they can reevaluate their position.

    In the end I don’t want to change people’s minds, instead I’d rather enable them to make “more-informed decisions” with fewer distractions. So often we’re asked to decide how we feel based on incomplete information, amid numerous competing sources — it feels like such a waste.

    We have brains. It’s nice to have the opportunity to use them. And fiction seems a fantastic place to stretch our brains. :D

    –Dither

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