A while ago, I was asked to write paid opinion in support of more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The money was quite tempting, and the cause, I’m sure, is noble. However, I refused the work. I said that I did so on ethical grounds: a C-minus for maths in year 10; objections to championing improved labour conditions for the few, not the many, etc. These claims were true, but not nearly as true as my inability to give the shits required to produce such a work. I found myself vaguely supportive of lady engineers and scientists, etc, but largely unmoved. In other words, I did not have much of an opinion.

It can be inconvenient to lack strong opinions in the present. This is true not only for a person paid to have opinions, but anyone who now wishes to engage in what we call, ahem, “respectful debate”. The language of the era is strong and the tone uncompromised. To speak and, especially, to be heard in not only online forums but everyday exchange, we must increasingly trade in the coin of hyperbole.