Column: Pump the brakes on hot takes


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt

Great news: Google has turned us into armchair experts on everything. In just a few minutes, we can know better than experts who have committed their entire careers to complicated scientific subjects.

Thanks to social media, each of us is now our own talking head in a 24/7 outrage news cycle. Reporting live from an undisclosed echo chamber: I have some stuff to say about … stuff.

That athlete wore what? For me, it’s Spandex or nothing!

A school board in another state is allowing hoverboards? How dare they! Hoverboards have been known to cause toe cramps, which can lead directly to higher high school dropout rates! I read about it on my mom’s former doctor’s Facebook page.

Unprecedented instant access to information and misinformation has blurred the lines on what constitutes a “fact.” As a result, we can confirm any of our biases simply by reposting headlines of articles we haven’t even read.

Do we really need to have an opinion on everything?

We are a fired-up people. We have hot takes on everything from health to sports to politics — everything is fair game in our no-holds-barred arena of digitally shielded keyboard warriors. And any post can serve as an online hand grenade or myopic mic-drop moment.

Here’s an unresearched fact: No one has ever changed her mind in the comments section of a Facebook post. In the history of Twitter, a hot-take argument has never made someone go, “You know what? I was wrong; Earth may be round after all.”

I realize the irony here: I’m writing my hot take on hot takes. You’re probably reading this online, and you can feel free to disagree vehemently with your own hot take on my hot take on hot takes. Take it or leave it.

The point is, just because we have the opportunity or freedom to tee off with our half-baked opinions doesn’t mean we should. After all, if everything is important, nothing is important.

Maybe — just maybe — the world doesn’t need our hot takes on the outrage du jour. I miss the version of the internet that was mostly videos of cats falling off furniture and babies making funny faces. Let’s all take a deep breath, watch a funny cat video or two and then decide whether or not our diatribe is worth the rise in everyone’s collective blood pressure.