Descriptive vs. Opinionated

Can language be descriptive without being opinionated? Can we ever say anything that is objective? We all have our point of view. I love that expression. If you’ve ever drawn one point perspective you know that the image changes depending upon where you put the point. We all have our own point determined by our genetics, social upbringing, work, ambitions, interests, relationships…and most obviously how we literally see the world. Even if you were a twin, you cannot see the world from the same point—it would at least be six inches off!

Fake news, conspiracy theories, religion, mainstream news, podcasts, academia, politicians, memes, Photoshop, deep fake videos, Instagram—blogs! Everyone has a platform nowadays. It seems that the loudest voice repeated the most often wins. Who to believe? I always fact check, but then someone asked, “what is the slant of the fact checkers?” I try hard to separate fact from opinion. When information is just the facts, it becomes very dry, and dry does not sell product which supports news broadcasts, which have become mostly opinion broadcasts.

Let just take January 6 as an example. The facts are: 2000 people entered the capital. 315 capital police responded. “…There was broken glass and other debris. Sound systems and photography equipment was damaged beyond repair or stolen. Two historic Olmsted lanterns were ripped from the ground, and the wet blue paint was tracked all over the historic stone balustrades and Capitol building hallways.”1

There are plenty of sources that have video, transcripts, tweets from that day: A partial list of Trump’s video: You can research “facts.” But what this blog is about is description. How do we describe the humans that entered the capital? Trump supporters who broke through into the capital. Insurrectionists that overtook the capital. Peaceful protestors who entered the capital. Angry mob that besieged the capital. Any of the above descriptions provokes a feeling and a visual idea of what happened.

The feeling of the capital police may have been overwhelmed, attacked, overpowered, stormed, assailed. The feeling of the congress may have been fear, alarm, panic, concern, dismay. The feeling of those unlawfully entering the building may have been thrill, righteousness, honor, duty, loyalty, patriotism. Depending on the feelings of who is describing the event will effect the slant or feeling of that description.

Whenever we describe something through our feelings, there is a subjective opinion, therefore NOT fact.

But art is all about feeling. A minor key gives you a different feeling than a major key. A gigue feels different than a march or a waltz. In poetry, an image evokes a sensation—a physical feeling. In acting we are taught to have the feeling and let that show through our eyes and motivate our action.

Is the news becoming art? Is politics now an artistic theater? Theater has often been political. Comedy comments on the social foibles of the times. Making people laugh at what troubles them. Stand ups do this all the time. Sitcoms address it. (One of my old favorites from the 1970’s is Norman Lear’s “All in the Family.”) I have to laugh at the Shakespeare quote, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…” 2

If we are all just players in this production, what is the role you have chosen? Here are Jung’s twelve archetypes: The Innocent, Everyman/everywoman, Hero/Heroine, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester and Sage. Here is a good link to hundreds more: Some listed are: Victim, Madonna, Persecutor, Sacrificial lamb, Child, Seducer/Seductress, Bully, Rebel…

I hope more of us can have the courage to break out of the innocent, everyman, victim, addict or any role we have imagined ourselves in that doesn’t help us shape our corner of the world in a positive, loving way. If being a larger archtype seems too hard, just imagine you are creating a story or a sound track to your life. Isn’t that better than being a character in someone else’s story?


my media checker:

1 more facts about January 6

2 for the complete monologue