I'm a counterpuncher.
If I read something stupid, something infuriating, something evil, I can hit right back, turn their own words against them, nail them to the wall so hard they will wish they had never opened their mouths. I can be vituperative and vengeful, venomous and vilifying, sarcastic and snide, derisive and derogatory, hateful and horrible, malevolent and mean.
There's an old expression about someone in an argument picking up any available stick to beat a dog with--I will do that, pick up any argument I think I can get away with, even if I know it's not quite fair.
All of that is a function of my personality. I'm impatient, get disgusted easily, am quick to fly at someone's throat, slow to cool off, and, at my best, I'm not noticeably full of goodwill, nor do I suffer fools gladly.
But I'm not a puncher. I'm not especially strong when it comes to working up an opinion piece from scratch, which is what I have more or less assigned you to do for week 10. Myself, I'd rather have a target than be a target....
Feel free to counterpunch if you can find a target.
Check out my two sample persuasive pieces from my blog. They both are attacks on one of my favorite targets--school administrators. I strive for humor and sarcasm in both. I do my best to make those hs principals look like idiots, mean as that is. I spare them nothing, perfectly willing to toss the kitchen sink at them if I could only lift it. I feel strongly about what I am writing. I want you to agree with me!
'School and Jail' from my syllabus is also a piece that reacts to something, that counterpunches. I am reacting to fellow instructors who apparently have time to worry about navel rings, ripped jeans, daisy dukes, druggy t-shirts, cellphones, hats worn indoors, foul language, food eaten near computers, tardiness, and a million other trivial things. They imagine their personal tastes, preferences, and prejudices should be translated into professional decrees.
I don't: have time to worry about anything but my students' writing, or think that my opinion about anything other than writing is worth wasting students' time with.
Many of my colleagues think I'm irresponsibly abandoning a college instructor's job as role model to the masses; I, in turn, think they are self-important fusspots who need to get over themselves.
That's the background to 'School and Jail.'
You will notice, I hope, that in all the samples I keep it close to home. I don't write about abortion, politics, capital punishment, euthanasia, legalizing drugs, and any of the other 'big' topics we all have opinions about but only know from a distance and, usually, from a vantage point of ignorance.