Junkfood Science: Roar — the power of words

December 21, 2007

Roar — the power of words

Harriet Brown, a wonderful journalist who writes passionately about issues important to women and children, has given JFS a “Roar.” This is a project launched at The Shameless Lions Writing Circle, that celebrates the best and most powerful writing in the blogosphere.

Harriet’s own Roar was well deserved, as she also believes in the power of words to change the world, or at least make a difference in the lives of individuals. Her articles, most focused on eating disorders, have experience and knowledge behind them which make them all the more meaningful.

As part of this honor, I’m to name three things that I believe most important to powerful writing and then pass on the award to five blogs I believe deserve recognition.

The qualities I believe most important and valuable in writing today are:

1. Thought-provoking. I value writing that challenges me to think critically about things, to question and explore other sides of issues — rather than just repeat the safe, bland unison voice of MSM or whatever is the popular consensus of the day. Writers that are busy exploring and learning, uncovering new information, encourage me to do the same. Open-minds are wonderful things (not so open their brains fall out, of course), closed-minds are not. I read hundreds of websites, journals and publications every day or so, much of which I don’t agree with, but those can be the most valuable because they challenge me to test my own beliefs and help me make sure I’ve looked at the evidence from all sides so that I can do my best to give information that is as clear and true as I know it to be. I greatly admire good minds, especially those with the years of experience to add wisdom and perspective.

2. Integrity and sincerity. Even when I may not agree with an author, I value writing that is honest and truthful, and has a passionate soul behind it. Too many also write only what is safe and expedient to their own self interests. I value brave, independent thinkers who aren’t afraid to write outside the groupthink and who do so with class and ethics. Trustworthiness means a lot.

3. Quality and service. The highest quality writing has solid science and well-supported facts behind it. The fastest way to lose me, especially on weight, food and health issues, are to present ideas that have been disproven long ago (even when pop science hasn't always caught up), hold no biological plausibility, confuse correlation with causation, are rife with fallacies of logic, are fear-mongering, or aren’t grounded in scientific literacy. The finest and most valuable writing contributes something of merit. The best and most precious writing also has the reader in mind and helps them in some way — inspires, encourages, lessens fears, offers sound guidance, or provides something of value to them. Altruism adds power and makes writing especially meaningful.

Powerful writing that roars makes me think, feel, learn and gains my respect.

Now, on to the roaring part. It’s hard to name just five blogs because there are so many truly wonderful blog writers that exemplify the value of the blogosphere. This task reminded me of some especially gutsy and intelligent writers (Clark, Flea, Shinga, Kell and others) who have sadly been silenced this year — the blogosphere can be a cut-throat place — and their voices are missed.

Here’s a Roar for Powerful Words to five blogs that offer a variety of mighty writing:

Healthcare Renewal — While this is a group effort, Dr. Roy M. Poses and the other writers at the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine epitomize integrity, intelligence and intrepid health writing.

Maya’s Granny — Joycelyn Ward writes the most heartwarming, comforting and cozy blog that makes you feel like you’ve been invited into the folds of her family. It’s a lovely-written family historical diary sprinkled with sage and inspiring insights to life.

Ecomyths — Dr. L. Graham Smith describes his blog as one to help correct fallacies and challenge dominant concepts by encouraging readers to read, think and reflect for themselves, and it does.

Medpundit — Dr. Sydney Smith writes infrequently, but her viewpoints are always worth the wait.

Time Goes By — Ronni Bennett, a retired television producer, offers a refreshing and controversial voice of a mature women on every aspect of aging: health and medical issues, ageism and age discrimination, media, technology, politics and public policy, cultural attitudes, the importance of language, love and sex, friendship, post-career careers, retirement, retirement living, family, the prospect of death and, certainly, humor.

I wish I could keep going....

Thank you Harriet for the Roar! Happy blog reading everyone.

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