As I sat on my sofa Tuesday morning watching Katie Hopkins spunking her vile beliefs onto Phillip Schofield's begrudgingly accepting face I thought to myself "I need to get out more, this is depressing". Staring into the TV I painfully absorbed her opinions and the viewers opinions on those opinions. I then started to form my own opinions, I now had opinions on the public opinion of someone else's opinions, at this point I'm really starting to hate the word opinion. "Opinion", I've decided, is a terrible word (IMO).
We now live in a "tell us what you think" society where what's on peoples minds is strobed onto our retinas all day every day. No longer do we just have the rants of our elderly relatives at Christmas to look forward to but also real-time access to what Steve from Peckham thinks about the situation in Syria or what Ruth from Wigan thinks about her Instagram-ed lasagne (fair play Ruth, it does look top notch in black and white).
So does the constant bombardment of people's likes and dislikes affect the way we live our lives?
Last week I had the misfortune of reading another of Quentin Letts's joy sapping theatre reviews (I assume Letts is short for Letts-Not-Let-Me-Review-Theatre-Ever-Again). He awarded the National Theatre's production of Edward II, 1 star. Approximately 10 minutes after reading this review I had bought two tickets to see the play, not because I am a masochist but because Quentin Letts has a bit of a reputation for slagging off great shows. In January he awarded "Port" by Simon Stephens the very same snidey 1 star. Having seen Port and being blown away by how good it was it's clear that we both have very different views on what is good and bad. That's not to say either of us is correct but it is easy to trust the words of someone in a widespread public medium rather than your instinct or personal preference
Twitter of course breeds opinions faster than Nick Ferrari on a Waltzer. I no longer need to stand on the top of an African mountain to "find myself", I can quite easily log onto my 'interactions' to find that someone anonymously thinks I look like Ed Sheeran with AIDS. Thanks world, identity affirmed.
A few days ago on Twitter I ended up part of a "healthy debate" on the issue of offence in comedy (a topic which is tiredly dragged out of bed every week by comedy websites). Is there anything you can't joke about? I would, and I suspect most comedians would agree that there isn't, providing it is handled with care. Rob Brydon recently made a joke at the GQ awards about Stephen Fry's previous suicide attempt, ill-advised perhaps, but clearly a joke made about a friend with no malicious intent. Is that joke making light of anyone who has committed suicide? Of course not. People took to Twitter and that haven of knobbery - the dreaded "Comments section" to complain and defend in equal measure. "Brydon is an overrated creep" said one, "It really annoys me people are offended by this" said another.
The trouble with opinions is that no-one is right, no-one will ever have a correct opinion and there's nothing we can do about it. We can continue to rant, debate, discuss and suggest or we can walk around with our fingers in our ears going "la la la la" but no doubt there'll be some wise guy around the corner waiting to let us know we are shit at singing.
Maybe one day we will all agree on something, and we can skip around in a big circle while someone plays a harp. Until then, I guess we just have to accept that there's always going to be someone who disagrees with you.
Now, dare I say it, leave your thoughts below.