Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts with the label opinions

Picky, Picky, Picky!

As a kid I was known as a picky eater. Basically, if my mother didn't make it, I was suspicious, and my aunts learned to keep a jar of peanut butter around. That I'd always eat. Today, I'm less picky about food, but as a consumer of entertainment, I'm still picky. I know that sometimes that comes off as sour grapes or the I-could-do-it-better attitude. That might be true. I need some sort of logic in my comedy. Anything billed as "zany" or "madcap" is liable to go unread/watched. There are ways to do zany well--Mel Brooks comes to mind--but most of the time I get tired of silliness portrayed as comedic genius. I don't like those people. They need to grow up. I need plot authenticity in my dramas too. A few nights ago we watched a movie (It was too hot to do anything else!) and though I kept my comments to myself, here are a few logical flaws I noticed. *The millionaire bad guy had dozens of minions willing to obey his every command. So...he

Where Do You Stop Reading?

Last week I posted about the reader's delight: four great books I read all in a short time. Today I'd like to talk about the ones we don't finish. My most recent "I'm not reading any more of this" book started on a weak note, but I stuck with it while the author rehashed the previous installment, figuring maybe I needed to know the stuff to get Book #2. Then the protagonist put himself in a situation where he was locked in without telling anyone or giving himself an emergency escape. I thought that was unwise, but as an author I know that we sometimes ignore what real people would do in order to make a story work. It's a story, after all. The stopping point came in a scene that was clearly included only to shock the reader. The event had nothing to do with historical detail and didn't advance the plot an iota. It was simply degrading to the protagonist and uncomfortable for me to "watch." It was almost as if the author yelled from beh

An Argument for Better Arguing

"But can't you see how wrong you are?" Centuries ago, when I was in high school, I took up argumentation. I joined the debate team because my sister had done well there, and because the coach cornered me in the hallway and asked me to. I loved it. Research, constructing cases, looking for weaknesses in the arguments of others, and organizing information so I could get at it easily. It might not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but it was certainly mine. I ended up ranked in the state and got a scholarship to college. Debating in college was even more fun. The competition was tough, but we traveled to places I'd only read about and formed a close-knit group that loved to--you guessed it--argue. Play with language. One-up each other. Argue some more. Debate is formal argument , and it doesn't bear much resemblance to the real-life version. One can try tossing out lies and false evidence, but the other team is likely to call her on it. [Great example: we

Taking Criticism

E-book available on Amazon. Print soon Writers have to learn to accept criticism. It starts with your editor, who takes out some of your favorite passages because they don't advance the plot. "But it's a commentary on society!" you whine. "You're not a philosopher. You're a mystery writer," is the reply. Then you get the beta reader who wants the story to end differently. "Why didn't she hook up with the sheriff?" "I preferred to suggest that she might and let the reader imagine it. I didn't want to start another whole thread in the last few pages." (Pouty face) "I think you should say it." Later come the readers, who go on Amazon and say things like, "The author speaks of a 'dollar' but there were no dollars in Tudor England." Actually, the word was slang for a coin called a crown in the 1500s. But don't let my months of research top your assumption you know what you're talkin

Stop Making Stupid People Famous!

The title says it all. I'm pretty sure it isn't a new thing, but our 24-hour, please-watch-us media makes it difficult to ignore those who pander to the camera and try to shock us with their "honest opinions". The only thing you can do is turn it off. Stop buying the magazine. Change the station. And let them know you don't intend to watch uninformed asses bleat that they have a right to their opinion. If their opinions are based on stupidity and hatred, we need to ignore them, not play to their need for attention.

What Is a Good Book?

Which Are the Good Ones? I've read a lot of books, but we probably won't agree on which were the best ones. Why? Because each book speaks to us as individuals: where we come from, what we value, and how we want our leisure activities to go. Reading requires commitment: time for sure, concentration (some books more than others), and a degree of background preparation. The ability to read is the most basic level, but requirements build after that. For example, a person isn't likely to enjoy a book about modern immunology if she doesn't understand the vocabulary used or a book about WWII if she doesn't know or care who Winston Churchill was. Reading serves different purposes. Many people read to escape from hum-drum, daily stuff. They want to escape reality, and they don't mind how wild the plots get as long as they're entertaining. Others demand that their fiction be realistic, with characters who could be real and plot-lines that might actually happen.

You Know What They Say about Opinions

Here's the G-rated version: "Opinions are like noses. Everybody has one." America is a country that has long valued the right of each individual to have an opinion, and that's good. The problem comes when opinions are all a person has. Here's my take on the subject. *A person's opinions should be based on evidence, and that evidence must be real. It's difficult--sometimes really difficult--to look at the evidence, read or listen across a range of information, and make a conscious decision as to what you think about a subject. It's often easier to take the word of someone you think is smart or knowledgeable or well-read on the topic. The problem is that his/her opinion might be just as misinformed or slanted as anyone else's. If all it took to be right is brains or education, there wouldn't be so much disagreement in the highest levels of government. As a debater in high school and college, I learned that it's essential to look at both sid