Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Go ahead, share those opinions
May 2, 2011
For the last dozen years, at least once a week someone, somewhere, says, “Hey, Dick, why don’t you write a column about (fill-in-the-blank)….”
Although I might have rolled my eyes a few times (OK, a few more than that), I never take the suggestion as anything other than a positive reinforcement of opinion sharing.
After all, that’s what a newspaper commentary is, right?
The suggested subject is almost always directly connected to an issue that the “suggestor” is highly passionate about at that point in time, and usually because they have very recently been personally affected by said issue in a not-very-positive way, and they wish to share that passion with the masses.
In other words, they have an opinion, and strongly desire (to put it mildly) for the rest of the world to know, and in a few cases actually even understand, what it is.
Some have been known to write an entire column and then send it to me along with the “suggestion” that I put my name to it, as if the opinion is my own, out of fear that others (re: friends and/or customers) might associate them with such nefarious ideas and not like them anymore.
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In other words, let Dick be the bad guy. He won’t mind. He’s used to it. He loves that kind of stuff.
These are typically from friends, and my response is usually along the lines of: “Just send it in. I promise that your words will not have anywhere near the impact upon others that you envision, either positive or negative, but you’ll feel much better about it yourself, and that’s what really matters.”
And most of the time they do, and most of the time they’re glad they did.
So if you have an opinion worth sharing, here are a few other pointers.
If you actually fear losing a friend because of your opinion in a local newspaper, then allow me to suggest that person is not really a friend in the first place.
If you are easily offended by caustic personal attacks aimed at your opinion, then either have a stronger retort, or sit on the couch and watch “Glee.”
If you are bothered in the least by an online comment from some nitwit who does not possess the courage, much less the intelligence, to use their real name, then do not bother sharing your opinion with anyone. Just stay on the couch and watch “Glee.”
And most of all, never forget that opinions are not always one-dimensional quips intended to offend or inflame, but those can indeed be, from time to time, damned entertaining.