(Un)popular Opinions

An attempt at organizing some of our lunchtime thoughts

By Ankita Biswas and Jenny Jia 

As avid Instagram and Reddit users, it’s safe to say that being harangued—by middle-aged Twitter users with generic aliases or skateboard-obsessed Indie teenagers—is a daily occurrence. Whoever contradicts the status quo is an alien to society, the next tyrant of the Motherland, or a troubled teen at best. Well…the two of us have refrained from expressing our hot takes in fear of the adverse reactions we’d receive from the intolerant masses. Heck, we even had to cut some high-quality content from this article knowing it would spark outrage! It’s 2021, guys, freedom of speech is limited to the vox pop and the vox pop only. But let’s review and ridicule some topics worth discussing despite public disapproval. One that is not discussed enough.  One that the majority takes offense to. And one that, through all our years at West Point Grey Academy, receives the most slander of them all. We’ll be sharing a compilation of the least controversial beliefs that come to mind. Enjoy! Agree to disagree! The world is your oyster. 

#1: What are you implying?

Jenny: I find myself on my phone quite often… a daily average of 8 hours to be precise. But nothing  frustrates me more than when my friends and family communicate through text when in-person conversations are a viable option. Here is a real conversation that I had with my, get this, best friend:

Sigh, texting should really not be the preferred method of communication for many. The unintentional passive-aggressiveness that one single period oozes can really, quite frankly, make you question your whole relationship with others. So to avoid confusion, here are some no-nos we think should be avoided when messaging in the Wonderful World of SMS:

The “…”   —  The ambiguity. Are you waiting for a response, or trying to make me feel bad?

The “lol”  —  The lie. Are you really laughing right now? Or are you trying to soften the blow? 

The “🙂” —  The eyes. So dull, so sullen. That smile. Slightly sweet, but not enough to put anyone at ease. When you’re sent this emoji as a stand-alone, you’ll never know if this menacing monster resembles content or contempt.

And the most heinous of them all, as evident in the conversation above: “ok.” 

With the hard period, too. It may be basic vocabulary for our moms and dads and uncles and aunties, but we all stare in horror as soon as this little devil pops up in our notifications. 

Ankita: It’s impossible to interpret someone’s tone, unless they HEATEDLY TYPE IN CAPS LOCK or they passive-aggressively send their message in all lowercase letters. Everyone knows I’m bad at picking up social cues. So how am I supposed to figure out what you’re hinting at through the screen?  Texting lacks the clarity that face-to-face communication thrives off of. 

I guess I just don’t like texting. What’s up with the “read” receipt? And receiving no response in return? Sometimes, I just need a minute to properly convey my message.  Why do emojis have different meanings? Just say what you wanna say, man. And let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave. Lol. 🙂

Jenny + Ankita:  Anyways. We suggest you avoid texting during lunch, and start up a conversation about something random with your friends who are literally sitting right next to you and do not require a digital message to get their attention. Black Ayam Cemani chickens, almond milk as an aphrodisiac, or solemn wartime movies that got you howling with laughter are just some topics you’ll catch us bickering about in room 122.  Since no one condones our spam-texting, we will continue that ramble in this article, as per usual. 

#2: Softer than a bruised peach… 

Jenny: As a social experiment, I posted a random childish meme I took from Reddit onto Tiktok (on a burner account, of course. I still want to go to this school). It was about how only people taller than Dora (who is 5’2) can have an opinion. With tens of thousands of upvotes on the anonymous discussion site, I had assumed it would’ve been a hit on the video-sharing platform.  Boy, was I was mistaken. 

Within minutes, my video had been bombarded with comments about how “This isn’t funny,” or  “This is discriminatory against short girls under 5’2” (For some reason, they only said girls and not short people in general.  Alright. We’ll save that for another discussion.) Thank you,

 _.fairy skies._, for the chuckle, because it only strengthens my argument. I should first note that 69% of Tiktok users are between the ages of 13 and 24, whereas the most popular age range for Reddit is ages 25-29, where 1 in 4 US adults in this demographic owns an account. What? A Gen Z-dominated app cannot take the same joke a Millenial can? We ought to treat people with respect, but I pity those in my generation who see every injustice as a chance to be offended, instead of a chance to make meaningful change. Ankita, would you care to carry on? 

Ankita: First off,  as a person who is under average height (5’0), I’m not offended at all. Due to the nature of our longstanding friendship, and the fact that it’s Dora, a cartoon character for infants,  I knew it was a joke.  

Nowadays, most notably in teen culture on social media, we’re grouped into two categories when we speak up or post content. We’re either progressive minds who are going to save the world… or we’re useless, shameful swines who have nothing better to do than to counter the popular opinion. Even the act of not sharing mainstream posts about current events makes others believe that we’re uneducated individuals.  Sure, @Catfemboy6uWu, I may not share posts about the drug crisis in America or the flaws of the government, but I still know what’s going on. 

You know what else is going on, though? Performative activism. A lot of those who share posts and comment and like and whatnot actively support causes in other ways, but a pathetic sum of people that I know end it right there. As long as they have expressed the general voice just once, they’re considered to be a contributor to society. The thing is, we can do more than simply raising awareness over social media, and I commend those who do so. They deserve more recognition.

Take Greta Thunberg. She’s a prominent climate change activist, and she, with no doubt, has influenced the minds of many people about the legitimacy of climate change. But what about all the underprivileged kids who are actually initiating change in their own communities? I’m sure that she is unbeknownst to many, but Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad literally invented a way to reduce waste caused by plastic by allowing the same plastic to be recycled for energy use (biofuel).  So, while raising awareness is very important, the sheep you have on your bandwagon may be deadweight. 

#3: I dreamed a team in time gone by

And now, we enter the realm of group projects. This may be somewhat of a popular opinion, depending on who you are (if you’re the slacker-offer, I suggest you skip this next part). Group projects initially sound simple enough, like a break from reading textbooks and mindlessly filling out worksheets. Until you realize group projects are just you mindlessly filling out worksheets on behalf of your teammates. 

Ankita: I despise group projects, and though I pride myself for having a mind more open than Spanish Banks, no one will make me change my stance on this. What’s more is that there’s precisely one reason why: group dynamics. 

Group projects do not teach us about real-life teamwork, if that was ever their purpose. Really, they just encourage animosity towards those who do not do their share.  There’s no autonomy, there’s no assigned roles, and when someone decides to step up and be the leader, everyone else is annoyed because they’re being “bossy.” 

In a group project, there has to be someone who has the authority to hand out consequences for those who do not fulfill their role. If this person decides to become an actual dictator, then stage a coup. Don’t blame the poor kids who just want to have fun and earn a good grade. There’s nothing wrong with strong leadership, it’s what we pride ourselves on in today’s society. I just wish I had more experiences where everyone pulled their weight. It would make for enjoyable projects as  the major concern wouldn’t lie in personal problems.

Jenny:  I’ve had one positive experience with a group project (writing this article, of course 🙂). Listen, I’m not that incompetent! Even when I’m not the big alpha dog like Ankita is, I’d say I put forth my fair share of work. And I certainly refuse to believe that my charisma cannot be added as bonus points to an assignment that was supposed to be a “group effort”! Have you read the invigorating rhetoric I am capable of composing as you hastily skim through this article? I think Wayne Gretzky put it best:

“My teammates miss 100% of the shots they take. My teammates don’t take many shots.” 

So,  we might just be two mutinous lone (West Point Grey) wolves in a world where cute, fuzzy, all-loved golden retrievers reign supreme.  There’s no problem with it…it’s actually proven to benefit us immensely.  Observe as Jenny mingles in the debate community even though she is not on the team. 

What do you think? Do you agree? Let us know. On second thought, don’t. Because knowledge is tragic.

Personally, we love our hot takes, and it’s a comfort to finally spill what we’ve been keeping ourselves for so long. These three opinions, whether you consider them to be unpopular or not, are a rather mild peek of just what runs through our minds during basketball practice. And no, this is not our attempt at being “quirky” or “bizarro,” we simply love hearing ideas to dispute and discuss. The world is our oyster after all.


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