Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Opinion as Fact

A Difference of Opinion: Not only are your wrong, but you're an asshole.

Awhile ago I wrote a post here on “Killing the Discourse,” about why sometimes giving every “side” equal time is a bad thing, because not all “sides” are created equal.  And I’d like to revisit that topic in light of a couple of recent events.  These events included someone trying to use “Well, that’s just my opinion!” as a “get out of being a wrong douchebag free” card.

The first event was an “editorial” piece that ran in the East Carolinian (not linking to them, because this adolescent bullshit should not get rewarded), a student newspaper at East Carolina University, by nursing student Ben Cochran.  The piece was supposed to be one half of a “Both sides” feature about whether or not the student health clinic should offer birth control to female students.  In Mr. Cochran’s half he bemoaned having to wait for half an hour with a cold, because the appointment ahead of him was girls getting birth control.  His original draft, which someone on the editorial staff “accidentally” posted, contained attractive turns of phrase like “cunt problems” and referred to the female genitalia as a “hatchet wound.”  His entire argument boiled down to “I spent half an hour in the waiting room, and, and SLUTS!”

Yeah, hard to figure out why he’s still single, isn’t it girls?

After public outcry over this piece, Mr. Cochran issued an apology, sort of.  In it he apologized for the misuse of the word “conscientious” when he meant conscious, but as to his attitude toward women and birth control, and the use of incredibly misogynistic language, his defense was that it was his opinion and that made it valid.  The end.

This?  This is my unimpressed face.

The second incident happened on Facebook, or rather has happened repeatedly on Facebook, Tumblr and Livejournal, but the most recent incident was on Facebook.  I have often opined that the main purpose of Facebook is to make me read things written by people I used to party with, and wonder if we really used to do that much drinking and drugging, because either they were completely different people back in the day, or I was really stoned.  A lot.

A friend posted that irritating pic of protestors at Occupy Wall Street, that snidely points out all the corporate made stuff they’re wearing and calls them hypocrites for wanting to end corporations.  1.  That wouldn’t even make them hypocrites IF they were calling to end corporations, which they aren’t.  Because really, I suppose you wear homespun wool and linen, and weave your own clothes out of treebark or something?  So, it’s pointless.  And 2. They aren’t calling for the end of corporations, you idiot.  This lead to several of us chiming in to correct this person, and a couple of other people who didn’t get it.  And led to one lengthy discussion at the end of the thread with a guy who responded with, “They don’t even know what they’re protesting!  They’re just dumb hippies, LOL!”

So, another guy and I provided links to Keith Olberman reaing the Occupy Wall Street Statement.  Then he went on to complain that he was poor and he knew that he needed to work harder  (BOOTSTRAPS!) and some of “those people” called themselves communists, and the US spent so much money on fighting communism that it was un-American, and wrong, and they’re just dirty hippies blah blah blah…  After several more replies from me and the other reasonable person involved wherein we obliterated his arguments, he finally said, “Well, I’m not a good debater! LOL!”

“Perhaps if you bothered to investigate the thing you’re trying to debate, you might be better at it.  Just sayin’…” I replied.

He then responded that his friend was down there (Occupy Seattle) and said they were all just dirty homeless people.  I let him know that I was getting a steady stream of tweets and posts from down there, so I was pretty sure his friend was full of shit.  He finished off with a, “This was fun, but I have my opinion.”

“The Occupy Wall Street protestors don’t even know what they’re protesting or want!” is not an opinion, it is a lie.  I can give you a source to demonstrate that they do know what they want, they have released a statement of what they want, and they have nowhere in that statement said they want to destroy corporations.  If it can be refuted, it is no longer an opinion.  I mean, you can think it, but the fact that you think you’re right in the face of all evidence doesn’t make you any less wrong.

“I think the earth is flat,” is technically an opinion.  That doesn’t make it any less wrong.

“I think vaccines cause autism,” also technically an opinion, also very, very dangerously wrong.

Saying the phrase “I think…” in front of a lie does not magically make that lie any less false.

You can hold any opinion  you want, but that doesn’t make it immune from people disproving it.  Nor does free speech mean that you are free of consequences for your speech.  If you say something stupid, hateful and inflammatory it is neither censorship nor is it un-American for people to tell you you’re full of shit.

And let’s face it, you can hold any opinion you want, but if it’s hateful, sexist, racist, homophobic or classist, I reserve the right to hold the opinion that you’re an asshole.  And a terrible human being.  Honestly, yes, I do hold the opinion that if you think healthcare is a privilege and not a right, you’re a terrible human being.  If you think POC are inferior, you are a terrible human being.  If you think women always lie about rape, you’re either stupid, or a terrible human being.

But that’s just my opinion.


2 comments on “Opinion as Fact

  1. Rachel
    October 15, 2011


    This post should be printed in every damn op-ed in America.


  2. Lexica
    October 17, 2011

    You might appreciate this quote from Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake:

    “If you want to disagree with my conclusions, you need to address the facts on which they’re based rather than acting as if these were simply matters of opinion. They’re not.”

    Source (HuffPo, unfortunately): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leslie-bennetts/the-feminine-mistake_b_44690.html


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This entry was posted on October 14, 2011 by in Featured Articles, Feminism, Media, Politics, Sexism.

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