Thursday, 26 March 2009

No Opinion Fridays

It begins how it always begins, and it always ends the same way. In tears. Either mine or the people around me.

How it begins is this: I read the news, or leave the house (rarely), or switch on the television or radio, or even sometimes just flick out my tongue snake-like… and the complex taste of imminent disaster is at once revealed to me, like the odour of a two day old corpse.

What this taste forewarns, is that slowly, surely, and tragically ineluctably, AN OPINION is forming in my brain.

Like a shadow creeping across the face of the sun, it is the harbinger of doom. Or at least a heated argument at breakfast.

Seemingly impotent in the face of the all-consuming OPINION, I feel compelled to share it with anyone who will listen (or lacks the motor skills to leave the vicinity).

For instance this morning, upon hearing the pronouncement by the Grand Wizard of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that God would not intervene to save the planet from global warming, I felt an OPINION forcing it’s way towards my mouth.

However, now that I’m 40 and affecting an air of wisdom - conferred merely by age rather than actual experience – I confronted this OPINION and by a force of will so extreme that it made my eye sockets fill with blood, I stopped this OPINION dead in its tracks.

Having achieved this minor victory, I have decided to employ this tactic more often. Not every day, maybe just one day a month. Like dress casual days, or Hawaiian shirt Fridays (don’t ask, it was a long tour), I am about to embark upon an experiment.

On the last Friday of the month, I will express no OPINION on anything whatsoever. This may make me appear ill-informed, or apathetic, but it should go someway to restoring my self-image as a calm, rational human, rather than the vitriol-spouting demagogue I suspect I am deep down.

I urge you to try it. When you read something about the government consulting you over the advertising of condoms but not bothering to ask whether we should go to war or not, or torture people or not, or shore up the banking system or not… instead of rising to the bait, rise instead to the challenge.

Say nothing. Think nothing. Turn the page quickly, turn off the radio, switch to the weather channel. Express not the merest hint of outrage.

Do you think the world really needs another OPINION? No, the world now has a surfeit of opinions, roughly to the tune of 7 billion. Like my vote, my opinion doesn’t matter.

Give it a go. It will if nothing else make you seem enigmatic for about an hour. As if you have more important things going on than worrying about a celebrity wedding, or… I don’t know… a war or famine or something.

I for one feel much better about NOT having actually expressed the opinion that Rowan Williams is clearly a buffoon. I can let slip a self-satisfied sigh that I DIDN'T say that on past evidence the number of God’s interventions to save anything on this fucking planet look pretty fucking thin on the ground.

I’m proud that I DIDN'T shout at the top of my voice from the campus bell tower (high powered rifle by my side) that if God didn’t intervene to stop wars, famines, natural disasters, school buses crashing, or good people dying - whilst simultaneously ensuring that bad people suffer - at any other fucking time in fucking history, then he as sure as hell isn’t going to fucking start now, you fucking fuckwit of a sky fairy-believing retard.

Hold the front fucking page, "God to do nothing in face of catastrophe". Moron.

No, I’m glad I didn’t say that. It would make me seem unhinged.

Good luck with your own “No Opinion Friday” or whichever day you choose.

Be warned, however, that on the morning of the following day, you will find yourself deluged by OPINIONS of all sorts, that are desperate to be heard.

Thank Tim Berners-Lee then, that we have the internet. The forum for all unhinged people like us through which to share our lighter, happier sides.

I really, really need to get out more. Or less. One of the two.

Next week: Tom goes to a kitten sanctuary (and takes a course in anger management).

The week after that: he discusses how to write complete sentences (without the use of brackets).


  1. You have, much more eloquently than I (my OPINIONS usually spew out as an interesting selection of vowels, guttural growls and beeping noises) described the exact thought process I have being going through. Especially since, I have noticed recently, that even the dog roles his eyes and tuts at when I start ranting.

    So I intend, with immediate effect, to start implementing "No Opinion Friday" into my monthly schedule. If I am feeling particularly daring I may do it conjunction with "Hawaiian shirt Fridays"...

  2. what's wrong with being a vitriol-spouting demagogue? I sure as hell am. I mean, you have to stick at what you're good at right? Right?

  3. Personally I don't think I can do it, but I'm pretty sure that the uneducated idiot we have in L'Elysée would enjoy having a nation of opinionless people that would, for a change, stop going on strike and marching. Besides, it isn't like our demonstrating matters much.

    Of course I wouldn't mind if you managed to make your No Opinion Day a world-wide public holiday (now that's a purpose!) must be because I'm a lazy civil servant.

  4. Isn't it Thursday today?
    Anyway - I see you can't do it, which is just as well.

    I do have an opposite opinion though. Based on seeing God intervene, I believe he does - not in the huge ways you are talking about, but that could be the fault of Christians not attempting bigger things for him these days. Robert Owen, William Wilberforce, Mother Theresa, Cicely Saunders, Trevor Stammers, Desmond Tutu - all of them have been involved in far-reaching changes for the good of people - also the founders of Oxfam, the pioneers of fair trade, folk all over the world, working to transform whatever situation they are in, because they themselves are transformed people.

  5. What he actually said: "I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin"

  6. Trevor Huddleston.
    I meant Trevor Huddleston!

  7. I'm not too sure I have the willpower not to have an opinion on any day of the week. Its sad to think of millions of people thinking god would intervene in anything that is evil, that would be too good to be true so I don't think it would come as a surprise to many that he wasn't going to butt in eh!
    My opinion on my Friday was treated with disgust by my daughter who reckons one day my opinions will land me up getting planked one in the face. My crime........calling a twat an ignoramus because he went bang! bang! bang! with his finger pointing at a visiting German market vendor who was over for the twice yearly visit of International street market.If we stop giving opinions then we would possibly stop caring about nasty things or humans that happen around us and that would be tragic. The twat in trying to cover up for his ignorance and rudeness, told me he was just asking the German if he was interested in buying a nail gun.....aye right! and I just came up the River Forth in a banana boat!

  8. If you really need to get out more, how about bringing a guitar to my graduation party tonight? :)

  9. I saw the article on the BBC site. I got drawn in by the headline "God doesn't guarantee a happy ending".

    Then I saw the bearded delusionist pictured and scanned the rest to make sure it wasn't as interesting as it'd purported to be from the headline.

    Now forgive me for indulging my inner child but if the Beeb are going to gift me a headline like that how can they refuse to print my comment "God doesn't guarantee a happy ending - but he will love you long time." ?

    Ever since Sachsgate they've been no fun at all.

  10. Point taken.

    Except that this lot has such a stranglehold on public life because they weren't shouted down vigorously enough by rational people among them when they first started to peddle their nonsense.

    The reason I will counterpropose "All Opinion Friday" has more to do with *our* sanity than with theirs.

    In other news:
    I'm going to print t-shirts that say "Sky Fairy-Believing Retard" and give them as Christmas gifts to my applicable relatives.

    Not that they'll wear them.

  11. P.S.: I just saw this tiny silver sliver of rationality, and thought I'd send it along.

    Dr. Eric Maisel is mostly known for his books on creativity. He is also an athiest, and has written The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods. The book is his treatise around making meaning, rather than seeking meaning. NBC *actually* granted him an interview:

    The interviewer is a bit too unnerved by the whole idea of atheism to really make this exchange as good as it could have been. But it was good to hear Dr. Maisel say what he said.

  12. I like second the no OPINION and have added the Blank Gaze to that, forcing any sign of life or intelligence out of my eyes. It feels great! It makes one look rather zen or indeed pleasantly absent.

  13. When peoples react here it's like they were writting a book,they are so....inspired!!your"no opinion friday" remind me of "alice in wonderland"...

  14. May I still wish you a happy Easter, though? We could always pretend it's really about spring and stuff.

  15. Speaking of Esater, looks like the forum needs to be resurrected...again.

  16. Tom

    We are dying for another magnificent McRae Performance in Holland!

    Hopefully waiting :)


  17. Well a belated joyous Beltane to you all - who needs Easter when you have the festival of fire? That of course is my OPINION!!!!!!!! - possibly the only one I will have this year, my innate witchiness precludes me from actually deciding how I feel about most things as I always see veryone else's side. I have however made a decison which is that I am passionately in love with Sir Philip Sidney, who cares if the man has been dead for 350 years?

  18. Are you still alive? The silence here has gotten me worrying one of your fishing adventures has gone terribly wrong..

  19. Tom is busy recording new songs for his new album, stay tuned as when he re-surfaces there will be exciting news that will put smiles on our faces:-)

  20. Is it just me or is No Opinion Fridays turning into No Opinion Weeks? What are you up to, sweetie, give us some info to keep us from worrying! Recording new songs? Great! At least tease us with some details, eh? A song title, perhaps?

  21. he's twittering a little now and then....not quite the same as a blog, but at least a reassuring sign of life!

  22. Well that news won't be too exciting for me as I already heard what it will be about anyway

  23. Starting to miss your blogs,updates & tweets. Hope all is well!!

  24. Ditto. (Apart from the "starting to" bit).

  25. The last time i demonstrated was at your instigation 'Stop The War' July 06 ~ i havent had a publicly expressed opinion since then. i had resorted to a lot of private head shaking at the world and its ills. That was... until i read your post and then....a few came tumbling out. Thats what happens when someone suggests not doing something. i do the opposite.
    A suggestion for a chill out/campaign weekend (yes both are possible) please visit:


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