I tend to be a man of strong opinions. I tend not to form those opinions lightly. I base my opinions on facts available to me, such as peer-reviewed data, news reports, research results, observed situations, and experience of similar situations. If necessary, I will extrapolate from what I know to find an outcome likely to result from what is being analysed. I do not come up with unsupported statements, lies or propaganda (so a career in politics is out then), and if someone can produce credible evidence to the contrary, I will change my position (yep, I’d never make a politician).
Nothing except the most basic facts is ever self-evident. That you eat to stay alive is self-evident, that we breathe air is self-evident. That being a vegetarian is more healthy than eating meat is not self-evident, nor is it self-evident that we require oxygen. The first requires many years of long study using vast sample groups and taking many other factors into consideration in order to determine whether or not it’s accurate, the second requires some lab equipment and a chemical test to verify.
I don’t like to keep harping on about it, it makes me sound big-headed with a superiority complex, but I’m mentioning it again because it’s relevant to the subject matter: I have a genius-level IQ. When a genius forms an opinion, especially using the methods I do, it tends to be a good idea to listen. Some of it may sound gibberish to you, or biased, but if you challenge me on those points I will do my best to break down my reasoning and explain it step by step. Having a genius-level IQ does tend to make me assume that everyone else reaches my level of understanding of something at the same rate as I do, so I often forget the need to explain my thought processes.
But here’s the thing – my thought processes go so fast sometimes that my opinions are formed from subconscious-level fact-crunching. This tends to create problems, as I can sometimes not realise exactly how I came to a certain conclusion, and I need to make a visible effort to explain my thinking, partly because I need to work it out myself. Or, if I haven’t arrived at a conclusion via a subconscious thought process, I’ve said something that, to me, through long practice or familiarity, is obvious, but because of that long practice or familiarity, I can’t quite explain why. For instance, why you should cover up mirrored surfaces in an auditorium when you’re setting up a brightly-lit stage.
So, I arrive at opinions and conclusions in a reliable, fairly thorough, and quick, manner. I am not scientifically rigorous – no-one can be in everyday life, not without exhibiting spectacular levels of OCD. So I am prepared to accept that my conclusions and opinions are wrong. Not usually happily, but I will admit error and change my position on a subject – if and only if you can meet at least the same standards I use. Prove me wrong, use documentary evidence, point out flaws in my logic, be thorough. If, in my opinion, a show is a badly-organised, poorly-planned, niche-interest ego trip for the writer, that makes the cast uncomfortable and miserable and baffles an unbiased audience, you’re going to have to do more than say, “we’ve received funding to put it on somewhere else,” to prove it was a success. Who funded it, and why? And the answer had better not be, “Arts Council England, because they could tick off six or seven boxes on their diversity funding quota, instead of funding three or four other projects,” because all that means is you sucked up to the ACE assessors and pointed out that if they didn’t meet their quota they wouldn’t get as much money to spend next year.
So, yeah: Prove me wrong.