Unanswered Questions: Why I Write Essay

Hi y’all,

My core question from my “Why I Write” essay is as follows:

“When should one write a piece that challenges an authority figure and irrevocably tarnishes his reputation?”

I’d love to hear your responses and questions.

Cheers, David

6 thoughts to “Unanswered Questions: Why I Write Essay”

  1. I think that it’s acceptable (and expected) for someone to publish a piece that challenges an authority figure and may permanently damage his reputation when this authoritative figure is at risk of inflicting severe harm or damage to the citizens he presides over. So, if this figure is lying or acting manipulatively within his position of power, that’s unacceptable, and he should be exposed even if his reputation will be flawed. If someone is ruling unjustly, they should be called out on those actions and behaviors.

  2. David, thank you for the clarification. I am intrigued by this question you’ve posed. For me, I am using the initial “Why I Write” piece as a point of entry or a lens through which I will approach some greater ethical or moral dilemma. What interests me about your topic is that it explores ethics specifically in the field of writing. Does or does not the nature of writing warrant that the writer can challenge anything? Thanks for sharing; this has facilitated the flow my creative juices!

  3. I would love to actually hear more about your paper and how exactly you came about this question during a “Why I Write” paper and who you specifically had in mind when you asked this; however, I think that it is still a very good question to approach on a broad scale.

    In my opinion, it comes down to a combination of morals and the concept of a “greater good”. On the moral end of things, I think it’s important to identify whether or not tarnishing the authority’s reputation is being done for personal gain or not. Obviously, if the intent of tarnishing the reputation is primarily for this reason, then I think it is wrong to do. In terms of a “great good,” however, I think that if the authority figure is doing something that would – on a general level – be deemed “wrong” that is also leading to harm of others in some way or another, then the answer is a resounding “yes!”

    It is the middle-ground where things get shakier. For example, if exposing something that is “wrong” would also be a way for the writer to gain some sort of personal advantage or position. In this case, I think it comes down to what the specific situation is, but as a general rule, I think it would still be okay to tarnish the reputation of the individual if there was a good degree of harm being caused to others.

    Shifting gears a bit towards my own personal question, I began to wonder if it is “right” or “honorable” or [term of choice] to change one’s writing to fit the reader. Primarily, this came about during my thought process of trying to answer the original question. I initially had a very deep, “smart”-sounding essay that I thought might appeal to whomever might be grading my paper, but it did not feel right to me so I changed my approach altogether. I have, however, done this sort of thing in the past; once I began to understand a certain teacher’s preferences in writing style, I would make sure my writing was written in that style so as to appeal to the teacher.

    So, everyone who reads this, is this something you think is bad to do? Is it something you outright avoid? Or is it okay to do (perhaps under a certain set of criteria)?

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