Authoritative vs. Trustworthy

A. Authoritative, but not trustworthy:

I chose this article because, despite being included in the Harvard Business Review, and being CEO of T-mobile, a relatively prosperous and well-known company, John Legere seems to lack a crucial aspect of leadership: trustworthiness. Simply reading the headline gives his advice a somewhat sleazy and unprofessional aura, which is ultimately what yielded my distrust. The further I read into the article, the less I believed what he was saying. Although these tactics may have worked in his situation, I personally believe they were a fluke, and that “trash-talking rivals” will never prove more successful than actually developing a strong, competitive product/service. Regardless of content, it is the manner in which he delivers such advice — his cocky tone and unapologetic diction — which truly make him, in my opinion, untrustworthy, for he does not embody characteristics of a business leader which I would normally respect and trust.

B. Trustworthy, but not authoritative:

This piece, in my opinion, lacks authority only due to the fact that it is an op-ed. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, conveying that you are a figure who’s opinion can/should be trusted is not easy, however, in this category, Leonhardt is successful. My sense of Leonhard’s trustworthiness derives from the nature of his piece; it is stacked with factual information, diagrams, and quotes from professionals who have the authority he lacks, lending credibility to his message.

Let’s all be “Politically Correct”

It's for real now...

I decided to get a head start on the reading due for next Wednesday this weekend. Our blog groups reading assignment is “Reading and Writing Without Authority”. The paper started with examples of writing from two people of different academic backgrounds as they were presented with the same controversial issue. While one, a college freshman, wrote as if she was a reporter vying for the favor both sides of the issue, the other, a doctorate student in philosophy began immediately by presenting a couple contentious scenarios for the reader.

As I continued to read, it became obvious to me that the author of the paper was making a point of writing that attracts and prompts critical reading. The phrase “politically correct” ran through my head a few times  throughout the essay. I’d be the first to admit, I don’t put much thought into who’s reading my writing when I compose an essay or a piece of creative work. I don’t really think much of the external arguments that may arise from a reader as they skim a paper for English 225. However, I do aim to be as controversial and thought-provoking as possible, without being politically incorrect.

So what is considered “politically correct”? I often find that when a writer wants to get the favor of every one of their readers through their works, they end up writing dry compositions that, in essence, are a report or summary of others’ research. How does a writer stay in the safe zone for criticisms of prejudice while still getting their point across?

The answer: You can’t.

The word “prejudice” has become just a taboo to think in terms of a person that most people would deny that they have any “prejudice” in their thinking or writing. What is impossible to deny is that everyone is prejudiced. I am prejudiced. You, the reader, are prejudiced. And it’s foolish to think that anyone can be UNprejudiced. We have all lived in this world with a certain point of view on everything. It’s the stereotypes that we have and the preconceived notions of certain people that we can socialize in society. Are all stereotypes valid? No. But they are an integral part of our psyche and form our interactions with others. So why try to disguise it in your writing if you are indeed prejudiced?

When I write, I want my opinion to be heard. I don’t think about exactly who audience is (something I do need to improve in)  and I, quite frankly, don’t care if the reader disagrees with everything I’ve written. I want my writing to challenge the way that the reader thinks about something, and I want the reader to challenge me. Writing without prejudice is writing without meaning. And you can disagree with me on all accounts of that.