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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Right to An Opinion

everyone_is_entitledEveryone has the right to an opinion. Or, do they?

Our eldest son is in university and as a writer of numerous old-school research papers, he has been informed by his professors, or more probably by their teaching assistants, that his opinion doesn’t much matter. Stick to the facts, period.

Opinions, hypotheses and educated guesses are allowed to emerge at the graduate level. Before that, tow the line and regurgitate what those more learned than you espouse, high-school “response papers” notwithstanding.

The response paper, where a student’s point-of-view matters, provides a welcomed departure fromth the usual research paper, still also used across the board. In the response paper, though, students are instructed to synthesize and analyze the information for themselves.

But not so fast. Have you earned the right to that opinion, some would ask? Or is it mere nonsense since you don’t yet possess enough information that would allow you to form an educated hypothesis?

It reminds me of a snippet I once saw on television of the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada”. The new assistant arrives at the fashion magazine and appears out of place. She can write well enough, yet her hair, makeup and lack of fashionable attire do not suit the position. She argues that everyone has their own sense of style….

Students raising their hand wanting to participate in class“No, no, no—,” the fashionista boss cuts her off, not accepting such a notion even for a moment.

It’s one of the comic highlights of the film, the notion bearing a certain thread of truth, that without being exposed to enough information, maybe your poorly-formed opinion doesn’t matter very much at all.

So go forth and learn… and then hold forth.

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