Clickbait intended. I’m trying to be ironic.
Maybe you have noticed– more often the titles of opinion pieces popping up online start with one ubiquitous word: No. Like this one! I’m always hip on the new trends. I myself am a trendsetter, it’s just that nobody seems to catch on…
Intimidation is a useful tactic when making a point. It can be especially killer in the case of a triple threat, implemented through who is writing it, how they word it, and where it’s coming from. Right off the bat, the title of a piece can plant an idea in the brain that is positive or negative. If you disagree with the statement, it could be worrisome. Why is that? Let’s say an article was posted on HuffPo Women that reads: No, You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Tampons. Add to that, it was shared on Facebook by a person who is universally accepted to be “cool”. That’s a threat to your social status right there.
This two letter kickoff (no) is probably the simplest part of the lengthy word salad you’re about to read, but likely also the most effective. Right away the point is clear, and it’s on the offensive. Don’t agree with the statement? Then you’re wrong. Done deal. If “no” isn’t doing it for you, try “stop”! Immediately makes a point, rejects disagreement under the protective cloak of cool, and the conversation is over with.
“Cool is identified only by defining others as uncool.” -Gutfeld
Intimidation effectiveness also depends on who is writing the thing. Is it Johnny Hipster from Salon.com, eco-friendly animal rights activist with a passion for tending to an array of succulents in his cozy Manhattan apartment, or is it Walter Whiteguy of WSJ, economics major with an Austrian preference, a Rothbard fanboy who just wants to get his ideas out there? Muh liberty movement!
Walter doesn’t have the image on his side, and nobody will be afraid of him. He probably wrote a respectful, fact based argument lacking emotional charge and is welcoming comments from opponents. His ideas will be challenged, and then met with a intellectual defense. Johnny, on the other hand, doesn’t need a defense. His fashionable army will be there to mock the challenger with more daunting words and perhaps a follow up article titled “No, We Can’t Fix Climate Change Without Government” in order to attack Walter, probably.
Writers are just people too. They are not all-knowing beings, no matter the harshness or confidence in their words. Cool websites with nice coding and attractive, cat eyed journalists shouldn’t intimidate us into a viewpoint through angry words, because our thoughts and ideas are just as valid as theirs. Nobody is a superior thinker just based on their image, company, or bright red lipstick…
There are some topics that cannot be disagreed with. Case closed, hands down. For example: rape culture, white privilege, climate change, universal healthcare. If you do disagree about the existence of any of these or want to abolish the last one, you are wrong. And journalists will tell you that with condescending, carefully worded scare tactics and a cool militia at their disposal for when ideas are met with intellectual challengers. It’s easy to identify those who are full of crap. They need to have this definite answer without discussion or rebuttal, they need the word “no”, because:
“When you lack truth, all that’s left is exaggeration.”
So, no doesn’t always mean no. No means “I am right and you are wrong, no matter facts or statistics”. Which often means, Yes! Everything on this website could be a load of crap! You don’t have to believe it and I’m not trying to be intimidating, if that’s at all possible. I mean, there are a lot of knives in my apartment. This is the problem with the new media, that some outlets are threatening to disown you socially if you disagree, while others want a bastion of free thought and acceptance. The latter is much cooler. When it comes to your menstrual agony and wallet woes, why not try to instead title your piece:
Should We Have to Pay for Tampons?
The Price of Tampons is Too High
Pity Me, For I Bleed
Vagina Band-Aids for All
Soak Up the Red Hot Savings This Summer with Government Distributed Feminine Plugs
Write whatever you want. Believe whatever you want! Just remember,
“The cool hate nothing more than when a genuinely original thinker rejects them.”