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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Dear critical readers:

Over the course of this school year, I have had to frequently write opinions articles to fill my section. This hasn’t been a secret for those of you who have read my section regularly.
In fact, among the Cluster staff members, the Opinions section has often been referred to as ‘Cecilia’s Opinions.” I shrug at the reference and keep on writing. I have to.
Coming up with opinions pieces has never been easy for me. I’m not a particularly opinionated person. I usually absorb both sides of an issue and become ambivalent. I’ve always been that way.
It’s not so much that I don’t care, it’s that I prefer to just stay out of it, whatever ‘it’ may be. I think it has something to do with having a very opinionated father and it made him more mad for me to not have an opinion rather than argue against him. Whether that’s a cop-out, I’ll allow you to be the judge.
As far as writing opinions pieces goes, since I’ve had to fill my section in some way or another, I’ve developed sort of a technique. I usually avoid the really controversial topics like politics, but I will venture into the realm of discussions about homosexuality and I’ve considered talking about abortion (not sure if I ever did).
I’m not going to say that the articles I write are good. I rarely think they are. There have been a select few I’ve been proud of, but I can count those on one hand which doesn’t say much.
So in response to some criticism I have received throughout the year from previous editors of this section/the Cluster, patrons of Mercer, and local businesses; yes, my pieces are often fluff pieces.
If I had more submissions, I wouldn’t have that problem. Unfortunately, Mercer’s student body isn’t nearly as opinionated as I would have hoped leaving me to fill the void.
I have no problem with that, but quality had to take the back seat in most cases, i.e. the Starbucks vs. Jittery Joes article. Of course, if you have a conversation with me, I’m going to tell you that I prefer Starbucks, but that’s my personal opinion. It happens. It’s actually, the only thing I am truly opinionated about. That, and maybe the type of orange juice I drink.
I have a bad habit of digressing. What I intended to do with this article was to explain my article writing process. I’ve gotten quite good at it; like I said, I developed a technique.
Usually, by the Saturday morning before layout I can generally come up with a number of how many articles I’m going to need to write. I need roughly seven for my section.
If I get no submissions, I write seven articles, and so on. I usually hit up Google News for topics. Recently, Reddit has entered the picture, but I usually just stick to Google.
As I mentioned before, I usually stay away from politics, so if I see Obama’s face, I usually keep scrolling. I usually pick a few articles on a specific current event that many would be familiar with.
However, my absolute favorite articles are the ones with really random and rather silly headlines. Take this one for example: New App Helps Icelanders Avoid Accidental Incest. Those are the best.
I usually pick about ten different news headlines and narrow them down to the seven or so stories that get printed in the paper. I can generate 5-7 stories in a few hours depending on how snarky I feel. So, as my final printed words to Mercer: It’s been fun!
Oh, and just to quickly address the incest prevention app, in Iceland pretty much everyone is distantly related so relatives don’t end up ‘getting together’ if you know what I mean….
The app lets users “bump” phones and gives off an alarm if they are related. Their slogan, you may ask? “Bump the app before you bump in bed.” Perfection!
I about died laughing the first time I read the article that appeared in ABC News. The original use for the app was supposed to be a genealogy of sorts.
However, over time, the app morphed into the anti-incest tool. Some citizens were saying that it may be funny but that it is a necessary app to have.
If my country was only about 320,000 people strong, I’d be a bit concerned about dating my cousin, too. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about stuff like that. And hopefully with this app, neither will Icelanders.


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