Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up Front Guides: How to Be an Opinion Columnist

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  • Emma Hart,

    I feel I should just make it absolutely clear that this column is not intended to be a reflection on anyone I work with or for. Or around. Or "work with". Or even drink with.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4339 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson,

    Brilliant!

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Thanks for that. I've never, ever fudged a stat (or, more precisely, not been arsed to fact check properly hard on a deadline) -- what kind of degenerate Muppet would do that. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11858 posts Report Reply

  • Jacob Powell,

    Just make shit up: that’s your job.

    Where can I get an application? Does the job come with medical insurance? What about minions? Can I have a minion to treat inappropriately in a public forum?

    Angry of Oranga Heights.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Briscoes has regular sales on minions, check your local paper.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author,

    Good insight.

    They’re groups. Collective nouns don’t have feelings.

    I never anthropomorphise collective nouns; they hate it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Briscoes has regular sales on minions, check your local paper.

    Better yet: become a graduate science student. Undergraduates volunteer for minionship. If you play it right, you will never wash another dish.

    (Okay, you will, but it will be many fewer dishes than you would have washed without minions.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Better yet: become a graduate science student.

    But then you'll be a graduate science student, by definition a minion for your supervisor.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6161 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    Mmmmmm..... Mignons...

    (Channeling Homer J Simpson in a more classy oeuvre...)

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 190 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Emma,
    Do you really think it's helpful to make this information publicly available? Surely that will only encourage others.

    </sarc>

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Thanks for that. I've never, ever fudged a stat (or, more precisely, not been arsed to fact check properly hard on a deadline) -- what kind of degenerate Muppet would do that. :)

    Yeah, I mean, there's no WAY I'm currently considering simplifying some history to support a point...

    Do you really think it's helpful to make this information publicly available? Surely that will only encourage others.

    You're not looking forward to reading Winston in the SST?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4339 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Nice one, Emma.

    In your up-coming followup post, entitled How to Succesfully Internalise the Opinion Column Opinions, don't forget to include a section on using talkback to reinforce even the most narrow-minded rhetoric.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 453 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Er, Emma? The Greens don't have a policy on supporting same-sex marriage proper. Right to Life NZ got clobbered by some regulatory authority for circulating a dodgy questionnaire that implied they did (I think it was Elections NZ, though). Also, note the current Redmer Yska book about Truth (which I intend to buy tomorrow), That tragic tabloid has gotten donged by the Press Council over its inaccuracies and gaffes, and sued for defamation and lost several times. And don't forget former Fairfax sock con columnist Bruce Logan, his daughter Alexis Stewart and that nasty brouhaha about copyright...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 369 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    The rule of thumb goes like this:
    Read the Opinion piece. If you agree then the Opinionated is very clever and enlightened.
    If you disagree then the Opinionated is a stupid, cretinous, bigotted disaster and must clearly be a stooge for the other side - even if it is your Mother.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    It helps too if you have children who can supply shining examples for other children, or offer endless instances of cuteness. A good starting point for attacking teachers, too.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Young,

    Craig: didn't mean to imply that they did (though, obviously, I'd actually like it if they did). That was a reference to an opinion column in The Australian about the Australian Greens:

    Among the reasons the Greens are so keen on same-sex marriage is that they want to reduce the population and drive down national fertility. Their refusal to discriminate positively in favour of heterosexuality and uphold the distinctive value of normal marriage shows their political project yet again for what it is: a dead end.

    The whole columnn is well worth a read, it's hysterical. Deborah writes about it here.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4339 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    But then you'll be a graduate science student, by definition a minion for your supervisor.

    Of course. Undergraduate minions are practice for when you can have your own, graduate student minions. But you've got to start somewhere.

    (I described my undergraduate as a minion to a potential new lab undergraduate the other day. She laughed. Nervously.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Self-parody must be the highest form of tabloidy opining. Garth Georges don't grow on trees.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16466 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Collective nouns don't have feelings.

    More importantly, collective nouns can't sue for defamation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Craig Young,

    Er, Emma? The Greens don't have a policy on supporting same-sex marriage proper.

    The policy says:

    We support the extension of all legal partnership arrangements and rights to same-sex couples

    Yes, it doesn't explicitly say "Same Sex Marriage", but you can hardly extend "all legal partnership arrangements" without serious consideration of whether this ought to include marriage; indeed, it is hard to justify not including it.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 453 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    As Mark Twain wrote, way back in 1873, That awful power, the public opinion of this nation, is formed and molded by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on the way to the poorhouse

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2285 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ian MacKay,

    Not quite, Ian. I agree with John Roughan a lot more often than not, but it's always a coin toss whether he's going to be 'Good John' (rational and tightly argued) or 'Bad John' (mad as a sack of kittens rolled in crystal meth) from paragraph to paragraph.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11858 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And one for the 'FFS, people, grow a spine' file this notorious pack of wet urban liberal shirt-lifters coming screaming out of the gay marriage closet.

    At the weekend the Territory's ALP conference passed a motion supporting changes to the Commonwealth Marriage Act.

    While the vote is not binding it adds to the pressure on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to settle the debate before it is raised at Labor's federal conference late next year.

    But that has not stopped Labor members in the Territory putting forward a motion urging their federal representatives to urge the Gillard Government to go one step further than backing gay civil unions.

    Labor's NT branch president Senator Trish Crossin says it shows the majority of people at the conference support gay marriage.

    "I think it sends a clear message to people in the community who are lobbying for this that we are a progressive party and we are prepared to debate these sort of issues and resolve these issues," she said.

    IIRC, Senator Crossin is generally placed on the "right" of the ALP but I'm happy to stand corrected.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11858 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Is it irreponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    That was a reference to an opinion column in The Australian about the Australian Greens:

    That's great stuff. An argument against gay marriage on the premise that if we continue to stop gays marrying, they're more likely to marry women and produce children.

    Toilet paper is too good a use for that section of the paper apparently.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6161 posts Report Reply

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