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August 22, 2001
Cameras on our old age?
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 22, 2001
For what's it's worth: An opinion
I believe the only Herald staff member I've ever disagreed with, argued with, debated and given advice on these pages is the editor. That is about to change.
Speaking of the editor, Mike Buffington is either good or lucky.
If putting Charlie Broadwell's "Some thoughts on PETA" next to my "This is a big pile of stuff" in the July 25 edition was done on purpose, he is a genius. If it just happened to be there by accident, he was favored by chance.
Either way, Broadwell's stuff belonged alongside my stuff. In fact, if his stuff had been moved over just two columns, it would have been substance (look up substance) on top of my big pile of stuff. Yuck!
I like definition no. 6: "substance: a particular kind of matter; stuff."
Get the picture? Smell the roses? Nothing like stinking up the paper, right?
But Broadwell and I are not alone. Tim Thomas makes a deposit (excuse me, contribution) occasionally. He called reader response to Broadwell's stuff "frenzied." (Look up frenzied.)
In my dictionary, there are two definitions: "greatly excited, frantic" and "crazy; mad."
I don't think the people who responded to Broadwell's stuff were greatly excited, frantic, or crazy.
Mad? Probably - and with good reason. I wouldn't like to be called a filthy, illogical, ignorant communist, either. Would you?
Whether we're talking about PETA, the KKK, the NRA, the ACLU, Boy Scouts, gays or the religion we love to hate, we should be somewhat civil about it.
That's my opinion, Charlie. (Look up opinion.)
Anyway, I got the impression that Broadwell was pretty worked up about PETA. I'll leave it to you to decide if he was greatly excited, frantic, crazy and mad.
We know he was enraged. He said so himself in the second paragraph of his "thoughts." And he got that way "within 30 seconds" after researching PETA on the Internet. That's all the time he needed "to find out how ignorant these people really are." (PETA people; has a nice ring, doesn't it?)
(Your boiling point may be a bit low, Charlie. That's also this old man's opinion and/or advice to a young, talented and budding journalist, and you can take it for what it's worth.)
And Mike, I was a little disappointed in your editor's note to one of the letter writers. You said "We're sorry that you find the free expression of one's opinion 'declasse.' Guess we aren't as sophisticated as you folks in Marietta."
You should have added cultured, debonair and suave to sophisticated. That's the way us rednecks usually respond to someone more sophisticated than we are.
Incidentally, I looked up "declasse" in the dictionary, and I still don't know what it means. I think what it means is, the Marietta guy who wrote the letter is smarter than I am.
I have no big problem, Mike, with "free expression," except we need to take it one step further. True, we are free to express. By the same token, we are free not to express. Sometimes the freedom not to do or say something is greater than the freedom to do or say it.
"One's opinion" bothers me a little bit. And I'm talking about yours, mine, Charlie's and everybody's.
In my opinion, a lot of our opinions are not opinions. They are off-the-wall, off-the-top-of-the-head, knee-jerk, hasty, foolish, stupid reactions. You can come up with one of those in 30 seconds. An opinion takes a little longer.
I took my own advice and looked up opinion.
"Opinion: what a person thinks about something."
So opinion involves thinking. But what does think mean?
On the way to think, I ran across opinionated.
"Opinionated: obstinate or conceited with regard to one's opinion; dogmatic."
"Think: to form (a thought or idea) in the mind, to reflect upon, consider, contemplate." That takes some time - a lot more than 30 seconds.
Don't be too hard on Charlie, Mike or me. We know the frustrating agony of having to meet a deadline. Too many stories to write; too little time to write them. Not enough hours to think, form, reflect, consider, contemplate; seconds aplenty to become greatly excited, frantic, crazy and mad.
Charlie may have been in a hurry. Could have been writing under pressure. And he was enraged, remember?
That may explain the use of that extravagant word, "most," in his opening sentence. "Most people are aware of PETA," he began.
Who was he talking about? Most people in Jefferson? Jackson County? Georgia? The U.S.? The world?
This is neither opinion nor fact, just a wild guess. Most people are not aware of PETA and have no idea what the letters stand for. I'm also guessing that most people don't give a rap.
Now, concerning that average person Charlie talked about, that one who wonders if there is any sanity left in the world. I sure would like to meet him or her. I imagine he or she would look around at all of us oddballs - those of us above or below average, whatever that is - and come to the conclusion that no, there isn't any sanity left in the world.
Charlie said that PETA people should at least try to give him some facts rather than trying to sell him an opinion.
Trying to separate fact from opinion will drive you nuts. That's a fact, not an opinion. And that is why there isn't any sanity left anywhere in the world.
You decide how long it took me to come up with that off-the-wall, off-the-top-of-the-head, knee-jerk, hasty, foolish, stupid, statement. Hint: it didn't take long enough for it to become an opinion.
To think, form, reflect, consider, contemplate: those are lifetime exercises and experiences that help us grow and change - hopefully for the better.
Please, don't give up on Charlie, Mike and me. Give us a little more time to mature.
Virgil Adams is a former owner-editor of The Jackson Herald.
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