Passionately Opinonated

René Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am,” apparently to make the point that someone wondering whether or not he or she exists is, in and of itself, proof that something, an “I”, exists to do the thinking.

I suppose my equivalent would be “I opine, therefore I am,” to make the point that having an opinion and being judgmental is my raison d’être. There need not be thoughts involved.

There seems to be a general consensus among the people I’ve met from all walks of life in various periods of my life that I am a passionately opinionated person. Although people have made this observation about me as far back as middle school, I thought for the longest time that it was the norm to have an opinion. I just assumed that what distinguished me was I was particularly indiscreet about sharing my thoughts. It’s only been recently that I realized it’s somewhat unique to have opinions about everything, and strong opinions at that.

Some of my strongest opinions are reserved for things that few give a damn about but that are actually quite important. Take the abomination that is the “Manhattan clam chowder,” for example. Clam chowders come in creamy white sauce. That red crap they serve in fancy New York restaurants is nothing more than minestrone with clams. I can give–and have actually given–a thirty minute lecture about this culinary travesty .

Of course, I have thoughts on things that everyone else also has thoughts about. It’s always fun to talk about sports because the topic’s universal, regardless of people’s educational background, hometown, career or interest. Nothing gets fans riled as much as talking about the last game played by their favorite football team. There’s something immensely personal about sports that makes it simultaneously cruel and fun to call your friend right after his favorite team suffered a devastating loss and let him know that his team lost because they suck and he sucks for liking the team.

Then there are opinions that instill passions so strong it inevitably ends in a debate. Some of the most heated debates I have are essentially my efforts to straighten out friends who are wrong about everything political. They never wise up, but I think that’s important, too. I have to give props to people who have strong opinions that they stick with. That forms the basis of principles and values, even if they’re wrong.

I also have opinions on things that I know nothing about. I’m so completely clueless about art that I don’t see the value of going to the Metropolitan when I can get a Thomas Kinkade painting in my home. People love Monet, but even eyes as bad as mine can tell that the guy needed glasses to clear his blurry vision. And don’t even get me started on Picasso, because I know shit when I see one.

Of course, knowledge and opinions aren’t necessary mutually exclusive. In fact, it often helps to be able to articulate why I think the way I think. So, for example, I’m convinced that the United States Constitution does not say (nor infer) “separation of church and state,” having studied the constitution and its history thoroughly in law school. I’m even more certain that right to privacy cannot be read into the constitution because substantive due process is a contradiction in terms.

And then there are opinions I have because I just know them to be true. For example, I know that the earth is flat because, even in my unathletic, uncoordinated state, I’ve never come close to falling off the face of the earth. The corollary is I reject this phantom power called gravity. It’s common sense, really. Which is more likely: that the earth is round but there is this mystical, Jedi-like force that keeps me grounded or that I remain stationary because the earth is flat?

Reading this, you may think that my opinions have little connection to thoughtful contemplation, but I have my moments, like when I think about how life should be, for both myself and others. I think going out into the workforce has really added perspective in four short years–the reason I now believe every kid upon turning fourteen should be forced to get a job. I also have thoughts on this world and beyond, a grand topic that can also turn into a deeply personal introspection.

But I undoubtedly have the strongest opinions about myself. I for one think there is a lot to be infatuated about regarding myself, but whether it’s love or hate, I think everyone should have an opinion about himself/herself. After all, if you don’t have an opinion about the one thing that’s constant throughout your life–your existence–what can you have an opinion about?


6 Responses to “Passionately Opinonated”

  1. 1 Jay the Elitist April 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I agree. You are entitled to your opinions even though they are absolutely wrong.

    • 2 joesas May 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Jay the Elitist,

      Thanks for agreeing, but coming from a person who is consistently wrong, I have to say it means less…

  2. 3 John Ezzard May 15, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man

    • 4 joesas May 17, 2012 at 8:42 am


      Yeah, well, my opinion is all that matters, man.

  1. 1 I’m Available to Give a Lecture | The World According to Joe Trackback on September 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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