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Op-Ed: A Guide to Writing the Perfect Op-Ed

With the month of Adar just a few days behind us, a reader took a look back at some of the more controversial Op-Ed’s that have been posted, and put together his “guide for writing the perfect Op-Ed,” in an humorous tone.

by An Op-Ed Enthusiast

1) The best op-eds are Anonymous but anonymity puts people on edge. They end up commenting things like “What’s your name”? I am brave I will put my name on the op-eds that I write, maybe not my real name, a combination of my middle name (that nobody knows) and my mother’s maiden name. This will take away the anonymity element.

Better yet, I can categorize my name on the op-ed not as a Proper Name but more as an adjective with a noun. For example, if I were to be writing about the shidduch crisis I could go under the name “A Struggling Shadchan”, if I were to be writing about the Tznius problem I would be “An undercover Tznius Cop” and if I were writing about the high cost of living in the neighborhood I would be “A concerned hard working early-rising Amazon reselling real estate agent crown heights father of 3 and another on the way”. 

2) The best op-eds take aim at everything and nothing at the same time. I will take aim at everyone but at the same time I will never spell out what exactly I am saying. I will verbose. Verbosity is important. If I were to be addressing the problems with tuition and education, I would write ambivalent views in the same sentence so that people can be confused and at least I will get sympathy from some people in the comments section.

Like my op-ed will say like this:

“We face a tuition crisis of epic proportions, I propose that we raise the salaries of teachers, lower tuition, give our kids the best education and have no extra costs ever and some teachers should not be paid so much because based on my theories the tuition crisis is not a crisis at all, it is more like a tuition issue, crisis is reserved for Shidduch Crisis because it rolls off the tongue better.” 

Tell me that there are people in the world that could disagree with any of the above?

3) A great op-ed needs to be controversial. At the very least have a controversial headline and then be watered down. For example, a good op-ed title would be, “Who would be kicked out if Trump ran our Community?” and the article will explain how we all need to come together and not kick anyone out. It may be simpler to headline the article “A controversial op-ed by a problem-ridden neighbor.” The first sentence of the article will be poetic as that draws people in. Like, “The community that I love that was once the apple of my eye now seems to be rotten but not to worry because things need to rot in order for great things to grow from them, I love the community”. That is perfect ambiguous controversy.

4) I will not offer solutions. Solutions are not for op-eds, and solutions mean that we are moving on, op-eds mean that we are opening a dialogue. Solutions may stop the dialogue.

5) At the end of every sentence, I will put a disclaimer, don’t judge. So it will be like this:

We have a crisis with the traffic lights, DON’T JUDGE.” I will create variety by adding in things like, “Live and let live”. That would look like this, “we need to do something about the crime in this neighborhood, live and let live.” 

In this way, people could be well aware that I don’t intend to judge anybody in my highly judgmental article. And just remember, if you think I am judging you, you are actually judging me that I am judging you so Don’t JUDGE”.

These are the rules for the perfect op-ed!

18 Comments

  • 1. Yakov Kirschenbaum wrote:

    BH

    I did not read any of the op-eds, including this one.

    I’ll give one crucial tip on writing a good op-ed: The author should write his name, instead of being anonymous. If the author cannot stand behind his article, what is it worth?

    When was the last time the New York Times, or any newspaper, published an anonymous op-ed or any article?

    Reply
    • 2. Berel wrote:

      Greetings, space traveler!

      On planet earth it is increasingly dangerous to write anything even remotely controversial or offensive to pretty much anyone else. Say the wrong thing and you WILL have issues getting certain jobs and if things go real south, you can get doxed or even swated. Remember, the internet is forever.

      Some people have the ‘right’ views and are pretty much safe (for now) to bloviate on the current state sactioned pablum, but as rule of thumb, for the kiddos playing at home, NEVER associate your real name with an op-ed or any other internet search engine discoverable statement, unless there is a clear need or benefit in doing so.

      I know we live in generation stupid, where asking smart sounding leading rhetorical questions like ‘If the author cannot stand behind his article, what is it worth?’ suffices for argument, but a pig without lipstick is just a pig and you shouldn’t buy it.

      Stay safe

    • 3. And here we have "how to write the perfect comment" :) wrote:

      Step 1) Don’t read the article
      Step 2) Take the headline at its most literal sense and expound on how that sentence describes the deepest bane of our existence and is the ultimate problem facing society
      Step 3) Add a line about how restaurants are bad for Crown Heights
      Step 4) Chastise the writer for being anonymous
      Step 5) Correct someone’s grammar
      Step 6) Tell commenter #27 why they are absolutely wrong
      Step 7) Tell commenter #31 that you have a shidduch for them
      Step 8) Recommend that readers should really get off the computer and not spend time reading articles such as this and comments such as yours!

    • 4. Nope, Berel wrote:

      I’m still wondering where in that snarky little ramble of yours is the truth you profess to espouse. You seem to be all talk yourself and proved Mr. Kirschenbaum’s point. I’ll always have more respect for an identifiable person with whom I disagree then some anonymous keyboard warrior named Berel or Shmeryl or Tom.

    • 5. Berel wrote:

      Ignore captain irony, kids, you can live without his respect.

      he wont be there for you when you apply for a job in a decade an HR googles your name and finds out about your flavor of ism or your political leanings or religious extremism.

      You need not aspire to the kind of dull you’d need to be to see no sense in sensible words with out a named source.

      You gain nothing by putting your full name next your blog wisdom except for an exposure to risk.

      Don’t get sucked in, it isn’t worth it.

      Say your piece anonymously, we are reading.

  • 6. the point wrote:

    One line op-ed

    We either laugh, blame, shame or yell when people explain the problem, so the problem is never addressed. The end.

    Enjoy the snow.

    Reply
  • 7. A Guide to Writing the Perfect Comment wrote:

    I did not actually read the article, but I would like to comment on something completely unrelated that I know nothing about.

    In fact, for all I know the author may have bothered to make the exact same point, or to address the counter-point I’m making. How would I know?

    In any case, the article is bad and the author should feel bad, no offense intended

    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    • 8. worth it wrote:

      This comment is worth getting out from the lurky shadows to say this was absolutely awesome – great writing fellow anonymous person.

  • 10. Oy......here we go again wrote:

    My Dear Friends,

    Where do you find the time to write all these comments?

    Life must be great in Crown Heighs.

    Please spend more of your precious time preparing for Pesach, spreading less lashon harah; and, serving as torah role models for your children.

    I know its not as much fun…….but, try.

    Reply
  • 11. A teacher wrote:

    “I will verbose” – ouch!! Verbose is an adjective!! Not a verb!! Minus five points!

    Reply
    • 12. Synonyms wrote:

      I guess he forgot to add the secret sauce of attempting to sound sophisticated… liberal use of synonyms…

    • 13. Grammarian wrote:

      You beat me to it! After that error I lost interest in the piece. Poor grammar, punctuation and spelling set MY teeth on edge, and I find it difficult to absorb whatever point the writer is trying to make.

      EDIT, PEOPLE! Review! I, as a professional writer, still make common errors in my haste to click “send.” However, I usually catch them before the piece goes out.

      Clarity and brevity are needed. It’s a high speed world and who has time to dive through oceans of nonsense to try to fish out that elusive kuntz? Not I.

  • 14. Yakov Kirschenbaum to #6 wrote:

    Good point.

    I figured that being that the author of the article is called “An Op-Ed Enthusiast”, that he wasn’t going to make that point.

    Anyway, upon reading a little of the article, I am realizing that this article is meant to be joke-ish, so whatever…

    I guess my point is directed to all other op-eds, besides for this one.

    Reply
  • 15. Numbers 10 and 11 wrote:

    Guess your “secret sauce” is putting other people down, .
    You guys must now feel really great.

    How pathetic!

    (Yes, “pathetic” — look it up then look in the mirror)

    Reply
    • 16. Grammarian wrote:

      Actually, it’s not pathetic. Nobody seems to care about the little things (although using an adjective as a verb is not such a small mistake.) I have been hired by many clients to create and develop different types of documents based on my well-written, clear emails and accompanying information and samples.

      Good writing shows care and precision, traits which are often lacking because we try to rush or multi-task. My husband has rejected highly qualified applicants because they submitted a sloppy resume. Some things need full concentration – writing is one of them.

      It’s not a matter of putting anyone down; rather, pointing out glaring errors now can help this author in future op-eds. Who knows? Maybe he/she will become the next Elie Wiesel or Jane Austen.

  • 17. To Grammarian wrote:

    While you’re up on that horse could you please try keeping periods outside parenthesis?

    Reply
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