Friday, March 13, 2009

Opinions, Opinions, or Heeeeere We Goooooo!

Welcome to my blog. I can’t say I’ve always wanted to write those words, nor can I say I ever imagined that I might (thanks Kelly). But after some minor prodding, here it is, my blog, or what I’d like to call, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” (thanks David).

I imagine I’ll be covering a wide variety of topics, likely those that are of interest to me, but if you indeed subscribe, and we happen to go off on a tangent for an entry or twenty, well, that’ll be all the more interesting, won’t it? One thing I think I like about this idea is that if I happen to start to delve too deeply into a topic and feel myself (inevitably) in the quicksand of ignorance, or worse, boredom, I can simply move on. Ah, power! But it’s my blog and I’ll err if I want to. I’ll really try not to get facts wrong, though.

Many of the blogs I’ve seen are about something. At the risk of revitalizing a 90’s sitcom (and the now-dormant career of one Michael Richards), I can’t promise that this blog will be about anything particular. If I find I have something to say based on what I’m reading or observing here in the real world, I’m likely to want to post it – and again, perhaps encourage some kind of dialogue (multi-logue) along the way. So very little will be off-limits, except those things I have little to no interest in. I can promise, for example, that there will be little mention of snakes, except in the metaphorical context, because I’m afraid of them.

Christian Speed Metal is probably a long shot as well.

So given what I’d like to think may be an eclectic array of topics (although I’m sure someone will find a pattern – probably an economist – more on that in future posts), but is probably just a smattering of this or that and a lot of griping about pop culture I’m sure I’ll lose some of you for a week or five, but then I hope you’ll come back. Of course if I manage to contribute to this blog on better than a bi-weekly basis, then I think we will have really accomplished something.

But ultimately, the purpose of the blog is multi-layered. On its most basic level, I hope you find my musings both entertaining and thought-provoking (and sometimes both at the same time), but it will also provide me the opportunity to learn in the best Socratic tradition (although the dialogue schizophrenic [I’ll answer my own questions – which I prefer anyway] at the outset, as I have no idea who’s reading this), and maybe, together, dear reader, we’ll have some new answers to old questions and maybe even some new questions to ask (although my money’s still on the Celtics for this year – Kobe be damned!).

One quick word of note, I will NOT EVER comment on events that I am directly connected to in the real world, as I make my living as a public relations professional, and there will be no anecdotes in which clients who could possibly recognize themselves. I may mention things I’ve said to a variety of audiences, but I will never reveal confidences and I will never reveal two-way conversations carried out in a work context. That’s not to say I won’t mention a thought I received from a friend in conversation and then either expound on its brilliance or deride it as the drivel it is. That is also not to say that I won’t comment on the macro view of situations that have already passed and been put into the public domain. But I am bound by my dedication to my clients to maintain their privacy and integrity.

So let’s go!

Since blogs are generally a posting of opinion, I started thinking about the concept of opinions and how they differ from facts or experience or even dogma. We’ve all heard lots of funny sayings about opinions. Some of them aren’t particularly nice or G-rated, but I’ve tried to construct one that is:

“Opinions are like noses in three ways, everyone has one (repeated from many other interpretations), some are more prominent than others (I like this one), but mostly, they all smell.” I think at least the first two of that list are true (although not truth, necessarily), and the last one is worth considering both practically and in the comedic sense.

I’m not sure if I have a good definition of the difference between opinion and experience. I know opinion is derived from experience, but an experience is not necessarily an opinion. And I know that there’s a clear difference between dogma and fact. But what I’m not so sure about is where opinion and dogma fit in the continuum. Certainly there is a variety of dogmas out there, but who’s to say which are right? And if one is to take certain philosophic prodding (ancient, modern and contemporary), one can certainly get caught up in the question of whether fact is a priori, or if it is a matter of experience. And I think going on the theory of knowledge and Wittgensteinien philosophy is a little too

But believe it or not, where this gets me is last night’s The Daily Show with John Stewart where he skewered a Mr. James Cramer of Mad Money fame. I’m torn here because Mr. Stewart (a William & Mary grad, thank you very much) very much encapsulated my feelings on the way the financial markets have been covered on CNBC and elsewhere, and it very much mirrored my feeling that it was an insider’s club with a very snarky and exclusive membership requirement. But at the same time, was the severe editorializing that he did in that interview appropriate for the venue?

Today’s New York Times posited that it was more like a Senate hearing, where Cramer was so shamefaced that he remained silent out of deference to the Democratic Senator from MakingPoopJokesville. And while I was riding on my own indignation, I struggled to understand what the Times reporter was getting at, and how, indeed, Cramer would have the last laugh. Then it occurred to me – Stewart went outside his genre. He may have taken the mantle of serious news that the general public has been trying to bestow on him for years and ran with it for those 30 minutes. He’s done it before in other contexts. But here’s the bottom line and I think Stewart said it best at the end of the show:

It was awkward. Improper even. I LOVED that John Stewart had the audacity and the pulpit to say what he did, and it echoed my and many others’ sentiments exactly. But, he’s a comedian (albeit a very smart one with an excellent education from a top-notch institution). But if he’s going to express an opinion, it better damn well be funny and he should leave the desk thumping to those who actually have the authority to change things…unless he wants to start a blog.

Until next time, all – when I’ll probably write about my brush with Republican greatness or at least largesse – do as I say, not as I do, and you should be all right.


  1. I'm commenting on this myself so I can see a comment on the blog - you're full of hot air!

  2. Hiya Jules! Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!!! I've been here for about two years or so. It's fun. I don't know if you have ever seen my blog but I have some fun things on it that you might like to put on yours.

    Let me know if you need help with making it work on facebook. Mine updates every couple of hours so whenever I post, it goes automatically to my FB page.

    You make an interesting point about Stewart. It did make for good TV, though, and isn't that really the point?

    Looking forward to your next post.


  3. What's really interesting to me at this point is something my wife pointed out. The last time Stewart lashed out at CNBC, Tucker Carlson lost his job. Let's see where Cramer winds up. Truthfully, it's a little weird that the head guy at is also on TV. is now doing independent research, so the lines become once again blurry.