You Actually Don’t Have a Right to Your Opinion
Why you should create, instead of comment.
I have read somewhere that Victor Hugo wrote until noon, then spent the rest of the afternoon holding “salon hours” for those who wished to engage him in discourse. People would come and debate him on various subjects. In person. It carries a certain responsibility, sharing an opinion that can be traced to a mouth with a name and last name attached to it.
I also read one of my favorite interviews in Fast Company, by Prince Harry, where he unpacks about much-needed Social Media Reform. In the piece he says something that stayed with me:
“Recently, I’ve been thinking about Speakers’ Corner, an area in London’s Hyde Park which is home to open-air debate, dialogue, and the exchange of information and ideas.
I used to go past it all the time. This concept of a ‘public square’ isn’t anything new — it can be traced back to the early days of democracies. You get up there and speak your piece. There are ground rules. You can’t incite violence, you can’t obscure who you are, and you can’t pay to monopolize or own the space itself.
Ideas are considered or shot down; opinions are formed. At its best, movements are born, lies are laid bare, and attempts to stoke violence are rejected in the moment. At its worst, intolerance, groupthink, hate, and persecution are amplified. And at times, it forces lines to be drawn and rules or laws to emerge or be challenged.”
Again, in Speakers’ Corner, people offered opinions under their face, name, and last name.
Did you watch Midnight in Paris, by Woody Allen? I found it interesting how every generation depicted in the movie declared how they are living in the worst time. I often hear my parents say how they lived in the worst time. Also, my grandmother said she lived at the worst time, and recently I read an interview given by a 27-year-old influencer saying how she belongs to a generation who was born in the worst, most turbulent times.
I don’t know about you but I confidently think my grandmother might win this race, having had parents that survived the first World War and few plagues/viruses, and surviving a second World War herself, few viruses, only to have to witness the War in Croatia at 63 years old.
Anything that will follow this will sound dumb, it feels dumb to write it. Every generation has its struggles.
I do feel this generation's struggle is hatefulness online. It might not be as deadly as wars, but it’s deadly in other ways. Mentally. Emotionally. As well as claiming actual physical victims.
I can not believe I will quote Jake Gyllenhaal next and about Taylor Swift, after talking about death and suffering, but hear me out, out of the context this is a really good deconstruct by Jake. When asked by an interviewer why he closed his comments section after Taylor released a 10-minute version of a song she wrote about him, he said:
“At some point, I think it’s important when supporters get unruly that we feel a responsibility to have them be civil and not allow for cyberbullying in one’s name. That begs for a deeper philosophical question. Not about any individual, per se, but a conversation that allows us to examine how we can — or should, even — take responsibility for what we put into the world, our contributions into the world. How do we provoke a conversation? We see that in politics. There’s anger and divisiveness, and it’s literally life-threatening in the extreme.”
Anger and divisiveness.
I wrote an article about the phenomenon of Rihanna’s pregnancy pictures and the excitement it caused, even among celebrities that reposted the pics in the fashion of a giggling fan; I started my article with a funny comment left on the pictures official photographer’s page that said: “I’m more excited about this than my own child I’m having next month.”
It’s meant to be funny, cheeky, and I wanted to showcase the temperature of the excitement and its phenomenon. I got a nasty comment from a 55-year-old divorcee, saying: “How can you say something like this, it’s unrealistic and ass-kissing thing to say, and who in their right mind can be more excited about someone else’s child, one's children, and family is sacred and you will understand it when you have your own kids!”
Mam, I see you need to brush up on your sarcasm.
When I responded to her asking her why she feels the need to leave nasty comments on my article, clearly not even understanding the tone of what’s written, she told me how she has a “right to her own opinion”.
I wrote another article about Sex And The City reboot and said how I find the character of Che sexy, mainly because I find the actor Sara Ramirez sexy in real life and she gives me tingles when she comes on screen, nonsensical plotline on the side.
This is my view, stated in my article. And no one has to have the same view as me or agree with me. I write about how I see the world. I got a comment on Twitter cursing me out, asking me “how on earth can I like such an ugly character.”
Again, we are talking about LIKING something and someone taking their time to reprimand me for LIKING something. Not talking about some event or situation that transpired you might disagree with, but liking something. You literally feel you should tell me off for liking something you don’t?
The most tiring sentence in any language is: “I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY OPINION”.
When I see that sentence, I about want to weep.
You will find the following statement contentious. You actually do not have a RIGHT to your opinion. Not like this.
When someone puts an effort into creating quality content, an article that I wrote after extensive weeks-long research, where I linked it to numerous sources to back up the subject, and when I shared that quality content with you for free, you can read it, agree with it or not. Learn something, get some perspective, or maybe not get anything out of it.
I tell stories that move me, and you can use them to inspect your own life or your world, or maybe have no use from it; you can also realize you don’t agree with me, and go on your merry way.
Why do we have this sick need to tell people we disagree with them?
Why do we cruise the realms of the internet to find something that offends us?
Honestly, think about this. You see someone saying something online that you disagree with, and you leave them an insulting comment full of rage because you disagree. But are you expecting the whole planet to agree with you? Why is a differing opinion poking you in the eye?
I used to be annoyed with people who have idiotic opinions. And if I knew them, I would sometimes write to them — how can you think this? And that is the most nonsensical thing anyone can do for our mental health.
You can train yourself not to react.
Why do you need people to have the same opinions as you? Isn’t it enough you have this opinion, if it means to you?
You are on the right side of history, politics, social issues, global crises, entertainment, fashion, celebrity culture; why do you care then, others are not?
Trust me I sometimes see people writing horrible things like — slaughtering 8000 people is just a regular killing situation, it’s not genocide, and I want to write so much shit to them in rage, my finger is almost there, but then I stop. Why would I? Am I going to change this person’s opinion? I won’t. What will I get out of this? Nothing.
Instead, I ignore the things I don’t agree with and I stay with people I agree with. When I read an article I agree with, or a post I find interesting, accurate, I say something nice, I add on the conversation if I feel like I have something to contribute. And when I see articles or posts or stories I don’t agree with, I just realize I don’t and swipe away.
To get back to the — You don’t have a right to your opinion; I want to deconstruct this sentence I strongly stand behind.
You can have your opinion. Then after realizing you have it, you should research it, back it up with facts, links, etc., then you should post that opinion on your social media profiles, and stand behind your opinion. That is the form of the opinion you have a right to.
The opinion you don’t have a right to is coming to someone else’s social media profile to read a researched article they spent weeks on and offered it for free, not taking time to understand the subject or a tone of what the author wanted to say — and leave them a hateful comment, disrespecting the time put into creating this content.
The latter is not stating your opinion.
In order to state your opinion, you need to also research the subject as much as the author did, have actual facts down before you can join the discourse. This is not about — leave me a positive comment and don’t leave me a negative comment. This is about — don’t come in superficially, on someone else’s social media profiles where they shared their work and piss all over it because you were looking for something to offend you on a Wednesday afternoon.
It’s the laziness that offends me.
Also thinking something is directed to you. Celebrities that say stuff are not saying it to YOU. They are saying it. And you can choose to read it or not. And if you disagree with it, write a piece, write a few lines on YOUR story, or a post analyzing why you disagree with someone.
Don’t go on that person’s social media to tell them how they offended you. Repeat after me, they are not talking to YOU.
Usually, the loudest ones are the halfwits so out of touch with the times we live in, subjects, culture, social issues — they can’t even comprehend the analysis, but they have little opinions.
We became an alarmingly angry, obnoxious society with individuals that allow themselves way too much. The freedom of speech isn’t saying every dumb thing that comes to your mind argumented with “but I have the right to my opinion”. Freedom of speech is an opinion said out loud that is formed on facts, information, research; the one that you can back up with said facts and a sprinkle of logic.
Think of the internet as the supermarket. Do you go to the supermarket, cruise the aisles, see a rotten avocado, buy it, come home and complain about how rotten it is?
No, you don’t.
You skip it, and you buy beautiful stuff that you like. Can the internet be that for you? Where you can come, unload, see and “take” what you like, engage with it, learn from it, or just enjoy it and avoid stuff you don’t agree with or don’t like?
The quality of my life instantly approved since I started avoiding things I don’t like. It takes practice. We live in extremely turbulent times, there is so much to unpack, there are wars, racism, divisiveness, crisis, intolerance, health issues, identity issues, sexuality issues; you will see the things you don’t agree with online, daily.
Coming at the person that stated something you don’t agree on, on their own social media profile, won’t change their opinion.
Did you ever hear anyone say; “You are right, and I’m wrong, we learned something from this discourse, let’s move on?” Never. No one ever stopped and admitted being wrong about anything.
Mind you, people actually have the right to write about their opinions on their social media. You coming for them does nothing.
It’s the commenting, instead of creating.
If you disagree with something, create a post, story, article, blog, or few sentences why you think differently.
Create instead of commenting.
In 2009, Ricky posted “A Letter of Warning” to his blog readers. A sort of a disclaimer:
I enter this blog knowing that there will be swear words and politically incorrect terms of abuse that may make me cry if I am a little nonce.
In fact, even if I find something so offensive that puts me all in a tizz, I will bite my tongue or a lovely big cock, whichever is tastier to me or works as a better pacifier.
I may well find things that I don’t find funny, but I promise I won’t try to deconstruct the “so called humor” on forums read by 12 other losers as that would be as constructive as writing things in shit on a toilet wall.
No, instead I will show Ricky how comedy should be done and become more successful than him, as the best revenge is living well.
If I am a sensitive little flower and, not heeding this warning, still read the blog only to find something that offends me, I will never read the blog again. To do otherwise would be stupid and show that I am a masochistic and feeble nerd with no life.
I have read the above and agree to the terms and conditions.
Instead of commenting, create, and show us how it should be done.
Leaving hateful comments on someone else’s work only means you want to be seen. You are not seen in your life, you don’t matter or make any difference, and hatefulness makes you valid. Seen.
And it takes much less effort than creating something better. Shitting on people that actually took time and created something.
Let’s not contribute more to the anger and divisiveness that is already, slowly consuming us. There will be nothing of us left, soon.
Instead, let’s be proud of our own opinions and what we stand for; other people’s opinions don’t diminish our own. Let’s look for things online that add to us, inspire us, teach us; and let’s bypass the things that don’t.
Don’t even message your friends that posted something you don’t agree on, let them have their opinions, however wrong they might be.