Oh, really. No opinion? None? A blank piece of paper on the topic? Bullshit.
To make money to pay for my internet connection, food, and other stuff necessary to keep on, I spend my days as a media strategist at a marketing communications firm. (OK, fine. It's an advertising agency.) We spend our time trying to get people to initiate some kind of behavior. Buy something. Use something. Switch from something else. It's an honest living, though maybe close to the line. Anyway, we do a lot of research. Focus groups. One on one interviews. Copy tests. Taste tests. Surveys. And through all that, one thing that I find utterly baffling is when someone says: I don't have an opinion on that.”
How the hell can you be completely devoid of a position? I can understand some questions that people may opt not to answer… personal information like age, income and the like. But, I have to think that everyone has to have some sort of opinion on everything. To be sure, it may be a completely irrelevant topic, so totally unimportant that they have never really considered it one way or the other. But c'mon. It's an opinion. It doesn't have to be fact-based. Hell, it doesn't even have to be rational. Just take a stand.
Sadly, I've spent enough time selling people shit they don't need that I'm pretty ambivalent about marketing research and related opinions. Yawn. Don't care. Sorry. But on topics such as, let's say, the future of the world and all its inhabitants, I care. A lot. Someone please explain to me why, when asked a pretty straight forward question like “Should we begin to bring our troops home?', a small percentage will say “i don't know; I haven't an opinion on that subject.” Is it that the person is, perhaps, just stupid? I don't think so. Setting aside the truly mentally challenged, even the most basically educated individual should be able to pony (got the word in a diary!) up a yes or no. Or, is it that people just don't give a rat's ass? They are the center their own little world, and if it doesn't impact them directly — in the side of the head — then they just don't need to care. I fear it's the latter in nearly every case.
These people are hidden in the statistical pool, so I can't grab them by the lapels and ask, “It's a simple question… yes or no on starting to bring the troops home?' You can't tell me that you are completely and unequivocally… undecided. Liar. This was a tack I took with my older brother. The guy's 50 fucking years old. He doesn't apparently have any thoughts on this troops coming home thing. Or on universal health care. (I get it from work so I don't need to think about that.” Real quote.) I finally got him to take a position: he is opposed to any new taxes. (Care to guess which way he votes?)
A rant wasn't what I first had in mind for an inaugural post on this fine site. Alas, I apparently had a strong opinion here on something and just had to let it out.