Opinion or Argument

Over two weekends in September 2011, I enjoyed attending the Melbourne Writers' Festival.  I participated in six sessions: the first reflecting on the impact of the books we read as adolescents on our current writing, the second listening to Argentinian author Cesar Aira being interviewed about his experience of writing eighty books, the third session dealt with the topic of Information Overload and the implications of the internet on our writing, the fourth considered the role that the classics play on our thinking and our writing today, the fifth discussed the nature of the essay and the sixth session took the form of a launch of Stan van Holt's new book on the virtue of Hope.  All these sessions provided great stimulation in an environment of learning, writing, publishing and conversing.  One emerging theme focussed on the balance between opinion and argument.  The consensus seems to be that here in Australia we have moved too far towards expressing opinions, and as a result writing shorter articles, and too far away from writing pieces expressing substantial and well thought through arguments. Arguments develop over a lifetime and it is good to have such an accessible means of publishing as a blog, to test one's pet theories and proposed arguments.

John McMahon


Marist Tertiary Developments

International Communication