When I read the over-saturation of opinion pieces littering the pages of the media, written by a superiority of didacts who have such high opinions of themselves that they regularly plaster 1,000 words of condescending, cynical and, quite frankly, joyless, copy into an email and fire it off to an editor to be published, more often than not, the end result is a rise in my blood pressure.
Sunday’s piece on the Guardian’s site, written by Charlie Brooker, telling us all what he thinks we should ‘stop doing immediately’ was no exception.
Basically, in his words, Brooker has decided to set ‘New Year’s resolutions for everyone in the world except me.’ His reason? Quite simply that we have been doing the things on the list for too long.
Brooker believes that thinking for ourselves is so 2011 and instead, we should all defer to his better judgement on matters of taste.
Apparently, we all ‘pretend’ that cupcakes are brilliant, find Lady Gaga and Beyoncé ‘endlessly fascinating’ and watch too many ‘pretentious’ super hero movies, all whilst, being impressed by variations on the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ theme.
Now, I’m not a humourless sort. I enjoy a bit of cynical banter as much as the next, it’s ‘our thing’ as a generation after all, but there is a time and a place for this, the pub with your mates for example.
When I pick up a newspaper or magazine, or skim through news sites, however, I want something more than self-serving narcissists who clearly love nothing more than to be given the space to pontificate their views to a ready-made audience through a written diatribe, which provides no educational value whatsoever, other than a depressing glimpse into the mind of one particularly egotistical human being.
So, in response to the piece, here is my plea to all editors for a New Year’s resolution they might want to consider: humour and wit are great in opinion pieces when a degree of wisdom is also proffered. But please be sure, when considering writing those hefty cheques to these barely somebodies, that good value is offered beyond the mere name written in the byline. Quality should not be sacrificed for a modicum of celebrity.
A happy, prosperous and free-thinking New Year to you all…