On Opinion Articles February 14, 2014 3 Comments Share tweet Patrick Cirenza By: Patrick Cirenza Opinion articles are worthless. If anything, they detract from the fabric of society. When I read a newspaper, I never read the opinions section. Why would I? Opinion articles are the value judgments of others in which facts are selectively used, ‘I’ is a permissible pronoun, and reactionary extremism is required to garner any notice. The only prerequisite for writing an opinion article is the urge to get on a soapbox and opine. In the words of Trish Hall, Op-Ed editor of the New York Times, “Anything can be an Op-Ed.” Yet in almost every newspaper in the world, from high school papers to The Wall Street Journal, there is an opinions section. To understand why, it is necessary to view the issue through the lens of supply and demand. I completely understand the supply side – authors of opinion articles are the type of people who love hearing their own voices. Why not see it in print? As long as vanity remains a part of the human psyche, I suspect there will never be a shortage of opinion articles. What is more of a head-scratcher is the demand side. Why do people take time out of their busy days to read purposeless articles like this one? Today, I am contributing nothing to you or your intellect. After reading this article, you will neither be any smarter nor more informed than you were before you read it. I therefore urge you to stop reading. With the exception of the poor copy editor who has to revise this, you have my full blessing at this point to put down the newspaper and walk away. I posit (for those who are still with me) that people read opinion articles because they are lazy thinkers. Opinion articles are pre-packaged arguments and deductions, ready-made for appropriation and subsequent use at cocktail parties, in prison and in other circumstances that necessitate conversation for the sake of conversation. As a reader, if you agree with an opinion article, you can mindlessly annex the argument and claim it as your own without too much strain on the brain. It is possible to think even less if you disagree because of how easy it is to disparage an article as simply wrong without asking why. On balance, this seems to be an unhealthy practice. A robust mind should always seek to form fresh opinions. That is why I advocate that you, the astute and perceptive reader, should read every other section in the newspaper and develop your own thoughts. Leave the opinions section, a desolate wasteland of vacuous convictions, to those who are unwilling to ponder or reflect long enough to come to their own conclusions. If you have made it this far, I hope you share my opinion that all opinion articles are worthless and, indeed, make our society as a whole worse due to their sloth-inducing nature. In the height of hypocrisy, however, I intend to perpetuate the problem and will continue writing opinions for The Daily. Thus, with the exceedingly low bar I have just set myself, I will now begin my weekly column in the opinions section. As columnists go, Patrick Cirenza is the quintessential rebel without a cause. Convince him that his job actually has meaning at firstname.lastname@example.org. 2014-02-14 Patrick Cirenza February 14, 2014 3 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.