They all start with that one line on its own.
You know the one, it’s always super vague to the point that it draws you in and you have to read on. Before you know it, you find yourself reading an introductory paragraph!
Those are even worse; they’re only there to bridge the gap from the clickbait opening line to the paragraph that actually begins to lay out the main argument.
This is just one of the many problems that opinion pieces all share. Every opinion piece is incredibly formulaic: It starts out with a collection of evidence, and then it uses that evidence to make a conclusion. This incredibly simple set-up makes them rather repetitive to read. Why should I return to the op-ed page every week if all I will be greeted with is a variety of students expressing their different opinions?
It’s not even a variety of students either, it’s a collection of college students who attend Xavier. Who would even want to read a college student’s writing? I personally have no interest in reading some sloppy opinion piece with a poorly written thesis statement. Because of both overused writing techniques and the fact that it’s written by a small group of college students, opinion pieces are bad.
I was actually reading an opinion piece the other day when something tragic happened: They began to tell an anecdote. I was appalled by what I was reading, especially when they tried to sound relatable. I mean, I was so mad I needed to take a breather and watch my favorite show, “Tiger King.” And when that wasn’t enough, I went and sang in the shower. Still stressed, I decided to blow off steam by procrastinating my homework.
But it wasn’t enough. The anecdote had destroyed my life with the way it tried to pull on my heart strings. For pete’s sake, I’ve lost all four of my great-grandparents, I don’t need some opinion piece trying to make me sad! I don’t want to feel for some random college kid I’ve never met! After emotionally manipulating me, the author tried to tie the anecdote back to the main point of the argument. This is when I knew I had to write a take-down on op-eds.
According to the Xavier Newswire Institute of Opinion Pieces Studies, approximately 87% of op-eds contain opinions that are objectively wrong. This statistic is made up. However, it doesn’t matter because 100% of readers skip this section of a piece. Right between the anecdote and the concluding arguments, there’s always a paragraph that you can tell just from a glance is about statistics, because it has numbers like 14.58 and cites institutions with long names like the Federal Insurance Bureau for Fictional Institutions.
It doesn’t matter what you include in this section because the average reader just skims over it, blindly believing that the author’s claim is probably backed up with numeric evidence. There’s no telling what authors have put in this overlooked section and claimed as fact considering 95% of people who write opinion pieces are actually weirdos just trying to push their own agendas.
The end of every opinion piece is when things start to get serious. This is when the author begins to call upon the reader to do something, to change the world in the way that this college student wants it to be changed!
We as a society need to stop heeding these calls. You should never listen to what a college student tells you to do just because they wrote it in a newspaper with an anecdote and some statistics before it.
If you ever find yourself at the end of an opinion piece, ask yourself, “should I really listen to this guy’s advice?” Just take a look at the picture below the article and really consider if that’s the weirdo you want guiding your way of life.