Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Big bubbles, no troubles! - by Michael Novakhov

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What a nice job to be a columnist! You can pontificate, analyze in depth or pretend to, play with thoughts and words, and make your valuable pronouncements on any subject. And people will read and listen!

Fame, money, respect. You become important and accumulate the self-esteem. Finally, in a while, the amazing thing happens: you start believing your own opinions since you become so important. It is not even necessary to have any opinions at all. Just say something, and if you said it well enough, it might pass for an opinion. Ain't it nice?

The main thing is to keep them short, sweet and on a point. In this bidniz the bigger ain't better. Some opinions are like the cheap hot dogs: when you keep them too long at a certain boiling point, they absorb water and become big, swollen, ugly, monstrous, and tasteless, and no one wants to eat them. You have to keep them slightly undercooked and juicy.

Another good thing here: there are no wrong or bad opinions, and you don't have to carry the opinion malpractice insurance. Imagine, what would happen, if the opinion makers were sued for their opinions: how someone would be able to prove anything? What is the harm done? So, you can say anything you want, and get away with it. No responsibility and no culpability. People are either interested in your opinions or not. Such thing as truth is elusive and does not really matter that much.

But why do people buy the opinions of others? Is it because they don't have their own, don't care, or don't know how to express them? Why do they find solace in these products? It remains a mystery.

How does the commercialization of opinion making affect its content and directions? "Hey, babe, take a walk on a wild side... American Express would do nicely, thank you, listeners." If the opinions are for sale... But the world second oldest profession is still a profession.

How do the editors decide what opinions are fit to print, and what are not? Is there any editorial bias in this opinion making bidniz? Why do the opinions of "The New York Times" columnists carry a greater weight, gravitas, and value than other opinions, for example? Not necessarily because they are smarter: how would you measure, quantify and compare their quality? And not necessarily because they are better written: some of them feel like a dense forest or some existential abyss, in which you are thrown in, lost, abandoned, and left all by yourself to search for the meanings, points, and the way out.

Opinions are more like fruits, than hot dogs. They should be healthy. Consume them. Savor them. Classify them into the common and gourmet varieties. They are selected by the opinion mongers and opinion peddlers who need to fill up their pushcarts with these goodies. Some of these fruits are exotic, with unusual aroma or taste, the others are quite conventional, but still delicious. They puzzle and tickle our mental processes and senses with thoughts, ideas, questions, emotions, doubts, and insights.

We want these Tutty Frutty, they are the essential part of our mental diet, while the cheap hot dogs, big, inflated, artificial; all that phony baloney, covered up with smelly and colorful mustard and ketchup, we can do without. Sometimes we fall for them too. But we know the real stuff when we see it.

And this is my opinion. Enjoy it. Get opinionated, bubble up like a glass of Champaign. Big bubbles, no troubles!

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The opinion makers are the media leaders. "1c per opinion, 2c for one, 3c for 5, or 3c for 10". Everything has its price and its market value. The "politically correct" ones are valued at a slightly higher rate. Sell them while they are still fresh and in demand. The informal power of opinion is the "push" behind the pushcart. Do not upset it. 

Michael Novakhov

10.28.16 | Last Update: 11.6.16 

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