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Facts and Opinions

Posted in i'm right you're wrong by dingodonkey on August 28, 2009

Lots of smart people — and I’m talking borderline-Asperger’s smart here — that I know have trouble distinguishing between ‘facts’ and ‘opinions’.  And some of them really love drawing attention to it (“That’s just your opinion!”).  So I’m going to fulfill the dream of every blogger (mouthing off unwarranted opinions as if anybody actually cares) and teach these folks a lesson.  Since many people learn visually and by examples, we will first require an ugly painting to make the point:

Franci's Bacon's Hideous Masterpiece, Man in a Cap

Francis Bacon's Hideous Masterpiece, Man in a Cap

Once you have sufficiently admired that thing of beauty, we can move on and compare two different statements expressing similar sentiments about this horrific piece of crap art.

  1. This painting is ugly.
  2. I think this painting is ugly.

If I say (1), obviously I’m stating my opinion.  If I have to explicitly tell you that what I’m stating is an opinion, then you have a social disorder.  If I say (2), then I’m making a statement of fact about my opinion.  See, the first statement is an opinion of the vomit print painting, while the second is a statement of fact about my opinion of the anal giblets high art.  Opinion.  Fact.  Different.

Similarly, if I say something like “man, it always rains on my day off,” I don’t mean that literally.  With a harmless little example like that, I think it’s plain as day that I couldn’t possibly actually mean that it rains every single day that I have off work.  So since we’ve established that convention — part of a whole world of devices called “figurative language” — I can say that women are worse at sports and math than men and that Coldplay sucks and you can’t get mad at me.

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2 Responses

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  1. Ruth said, on August 30, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    hey dingodonkey,

    I agree with your opinion that this painting is ugly, but art doesn’t always have to be pretty flowers and half naked women, even though I’m sure the half naked women you wouldn’t mind. I do believe this painting is quite dynamic and has a rather complex composition. It uses the rule of thirds quite well in the upper third region the painting is quite chaotic. However the meaning behind the painting is I think about the inner soul of a man in uniform and at war whether with himself or with society. I like the painting a lot actually and that is my opinion. Also, my opinion is that there are who women are great at math and sports. I like Coldplay as well and you can’t get mad at me since it is my opinion.

    Luv ya mattie

    ps when r u coming down to ny

    • dingodonkey said, on August 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      Ruthosaurus!

      I have no idea about the meaning of the painting, but I agree with your thoughts on its dynamism. I just think it looks hideous ;). And you’re right, I can’t get mad at you because it’s your opinion but also because it’s a bad idea to get mad at a friend who is destined to be a rich and famous fashion designer (someday I might want to cash in!).

      I’m going to be in NYC the 2nd and 3rd weekends in September, first for Jon and Annie’s wedding and then to go to that Mets game with you. You’d better not forget! Also, I’m going to need a place to stay. Mind if I crash with you?

      Sad that you’re never online,
      Matt


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