Let’s Talk Opinion | Lunchtime Edition


I am rather fond of opinion pieces. Opinions offer no certainty. They are more likely to engender a multitude of questions rather than the opposite, and yet there is an intrinsic freedom to these flighty expressions of views and feelings. We all have them, and in exploring uncertainty, armed with some degree of experience and oftentimes incomplete knowledge, we find the courage to draw the veil and let others sift through our treasure trove of conclusions in the hope of finding kindred spirits or perhaps in order to test the strength of our convictions.

Since opinions always fall short of absolute conviction, they also allow space for communication. There will be those who will agree and those who will challenge our views. And yet by the very virtue of open dialogue, all parties are enriched, if only by glimpsing a world of possibility hitherto unknown.

“We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?” – Mahatma Gandhi

I initiated the Let’s Talk Opinion series several months ago as a means of engaging with issues that are important to other bloggers and in doing so I hoped that we may journey together to discover – if not answers – at least new ways of questioning the world.

The first post of the series, titled You Will Be Offended asked you to consider “where do we draw the line between opinion, self-censorship and free speech in the blogosphere?” as well as establishing what I hope to achieve with these posts and what I do not. Whether you have been keeping up with the series or are new to ShardsOfSilence, I hope you will enjoy taking a peek at the articles that have faired best so far. Here they come!

RAPED_683000 #1 Drunk Sex / RAPED This November piece, in conversation with Sifting Reality, made it to the top of the list. Does regret in hind-sight play a role in reporting intoxication-related sexual assaults? This author begs to differ. 


untitled#2 You Are Not White Enough! “There’s no man in this world who will reject you because of your unbleached Bermuda Triangle.” This anti-fairness advocacy piece is a humorous rant against the racist vagina police. In conversation with Jezebel.


Man_Vs_Woman_by_joshnickerson#3 Men vs Women | Crossing the Divide adds another doze of humour to the question of gender difference. By all accounts, having failed to fit nicely into what OM, my interlocutor for this piece, describes as “typical” female behaviour, and afraid that I may well be facing an identity crisis as a result, I relied on that oh-so-British love of subtext to fashion a tongue-in-cheek reply.


#4 Get Naked. Be Art. skyferreira_albumI am certain that this will not be the first, nor the last article that questions the intent behind nudity in the music industry and beyond. luna luna asked the reader to consider the divide between art and marketing ploys: between instances when nudity is empowering and disarming, and when it is just a gimmick, aimed at increasing sales. This article, although by no means definitive, is my attempt at an answer.


baby-on-board#5 BABY ON BOARD | Discrimination This post considered the issue of discrimination in the workplace in reply to Quinn, who claimed that offering any special consideration to working parents constitutes “blatant discrimination – “family” vs. “individual””. Gloves were off for this one!


I hope you enjoy revisiting these posts. If they are new to you, then I hope you won’t shy away from sharing your opinion. I am certain that at least one of the above topics will be to your liking. Nonetheless, should you be left searching for just the right topic for you, tune in tomorrow for the next set of Let’s Talk Opinion favourites.


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

November’s Darlings

Feeling a little blue and want something to cushion your first winter day?

Take a leaf from Cumberbatch’s homely delights on this. Light a fire in the grate (it is winter after all), pour yourself a good measure of whiskey (when in doubt, always go Scottish on this), and get yourself comfy for a good read. When only the best will do, here’s our critics’ pick of November’s Top Ten Shards guaranteed to satisfy.

untitled#1 You Are Not White Enough! Laughter and tears was the overwhelming reaction to this humorous rant against the Racist Vagina Police. “There’s no man in this world who will reject you because of your unbleached Bermuda Triangle,” says Vic. This anti-fairness advocacy piece is our critics’ favourite shard.

#SherlockLives#2 #SherlockLives  This piece, courtesy of The Batch on Sunday, took the Tweetosphere by storm. It chronicles the fandom’s reaction to the surprise trailer for the third series of Sherlock, as well as musing on the meaning of John Watson’s upper lip décor. The latest news is this: Sherlock comes to UK screens on the 1st of January!

RAPED_683000#3 Drunk Sex / RAPED This is the second Let’s Talk Opinion piece to make it to the top of our critics’ list for November. It is a counterpoint to the claim that regret in hind-sight plays a role in reporting intoxication related sexual assaults.

skyferreira_album#4 Get Naked. Be Art. By delving into a discussion regarding the intent of this choice, whether artistic or commercial, the author attempts to think through whether nudity in this context is empowering and disarming, or whether it is just another gimmick. “Nudity sells. It has done for as long as there were people willing to be nude, and those with the skill to depict it,” says Vic in response to Sky Ferreira’s C.D. cover and her choice of exposed nipple.

thinkoutsidetheboxcold#5 Clichés | Avoid them like the plague! Now this one’s the bees knees! Despite being a late November entry, this little escapade into the world of clichés, has clearly found resonance with readers and critics alike. “Provoking and funny,” says Michael Alexander Chaney, whose piece  Clichés I Don’t Get  happens to be the source of inspiration for this shard.

#6 Brokeback Mountain Whispers is an opinion post about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights. The horrific stories of abuse and murder suffered by members of the LGBT community do not make for easy reading.

Marie_Antoinette#7 Temptation is the only poem in the November repertoire to make it onto the critics’ Top Ten list. “Oh hoah, V. A little hot in here – wanna open that window? This one has some of the best lines I’ve seen on this blog yet,” says Holistic Wayfarer. Tempted?

Vogue Issue#8 Child Pornography and The Sexualisation of Children  Establishing a connection between paedophilia, child pornography and the sexualisation of children by the fashion, film and music industries, this article argues that amongst other harmful consequences, the increased sexualisation of children in the media may inadvertently result in lax attitudes towards abuse.

cuffed#9 Cuffed “They came for me in the late summer of 2011,” begins the story of a young journalist whose life is turned upside-down when the police turns up at her door with a warrant for her arrest. It is the first snippet of a novel, currently under revision. “Ever read the first page of a novel and just immediately know you’re in for a great ride? I have. And I just did again,” says JMC813. Hope you agree.

Johnlock#10 #BrokebackSherlock In the latest instalment of writer turned director Vic Briggs’ Dreamscapes epic, she takes the Johnlock relationship to another level. “We need Johnny, Benedict and Martin to see this thing. Seriously. God, I am still laughing,” says beddyburc. This is one for the boys.


Do you agree with the critics’ choices?

Which was you favourite November shard?

Now… You are in your favourite armchair, the fire blazes in the grate, and the whiskey shimmers amber at the bottom of your glass. You’ve got your nice reads at the ready. What could be more wonderful on a cold December day? Here’s to a beautiful winter.

Get Naked. Be Art.

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Http://lunalunamag.com

skyferreira_albumluna luna: “The photograph is naked and raw and pained. Underlying it is some frustration that likely comes from heartbreak, being a young girl judged to death and becoming a music industry tool before you’ve hit 18. It’s full of depth and tumult accrued in the years it took her to make her music. As she said in the same interview with Stereogum,

“I don’t really feel like my left nipple is all that important.”

And she’s right. The associations in this image are more about anger and angst and sadness. The nudity just becomes a symbol of vulnerability and an act of expression instead of a marketing ploy. And sure, at the end of the day, it is partial marketing — she’s trying to sell albums, after all — but there’s no reason she can’t do that with honesty.

An important question here, however, is whether or not you could chalk up the same “this is art, this is expression” argument if this was Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry. […]

So where’s the divide? Do you need a history of difficulty and clamor for your nudity to seem “real”? When is it empowering and disarming? When is it just a gimmick? It’s a woman’s body, after all. She should be able to qualify it as art when she feels like it.”

For luna luna‘s full article please follow: http://lunalunamag.com/2013/10/24/art-or-not-art-sky-ferreiras-boobs/

Art or NOT Art?

Does it come with a narrative? Does it create meaning? Is meaning created through it?

Perhaps I shouldn’t have answered your question with three of my own, but to me: the artist creates meaning and from this follows the most straightforward definition of art.

Art just is. Whatever we – artists – give meaning to, is art.

It may be somewhat broad, but I do not think that art can ever exhaust reality, nor that reality can ever exhaust art.

So… when it comes to Sky Ferreira’s C.D. cover, and her choice of exposed nipple, then I suppose the question is one of intent as well as meaning.

Commercial intent would not automatically de-categorise it as art. Think Andy Warhol. When it comes to art produced for the masses, or even when it comes to mass-produced art, as long as the artist defines it as such, then – whether you like it or not, buy it or not – it is art.

Sky’s career will not be hurt, I imagine, by this un-cover-ing of herself. Nudity sells. It has done for as long as there were people willing to be nude, and those with the skill to depict it.  If all her past efforts have crashed and burned, and she decided that her label-imposed commercial image does not work for her, then taking control of what she wants to put out there and how she wants it packaged – or unpackaged – certainly seems like a step in the right direction.

There is something haunting in her looks. The grit, the emotion, the hurt all come through. Whenever I see nudity in art I always question first whether its appearance is gratuitous, or whether it adds something to the performance. I refer here primarily to my perception of nudity in plays, but it works in the context of art in general. In some cases the conclusion is the inevitable first: it is there to get bums in seats that otherwise would’ve not paid to see it. Most of the time, however, there is a point to it.

Nudity brings with it both power and vulnerability. Nothing offers the potential to explore both more.

When the performer gets it right, the audience can feel it. And they will, in their admiration, reflect the honesty of the artist.

There is no doubt however that women are asked to take their clothes off more than men. In all art – whether music, photography, theatre, cinema, painting, and in literature too, it is women that are uncovered most often.

Men still dominate all the arenas of artistic and commercial expression. Is it too simplistic to point at this as the key reason for women’s nudity in art and commerce? Whether we accept this or not, the question of whether this is empowering or disarming remains unanswered.


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)