The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



I write to get a rise out of you

| Thursday, April 24, 2014

My parents criticize me for consistently antagonizing my brother, teasing him, making him angry for merely existing sometimes. Some part of me enjoys seeing him get mad about me popping my gum too loud or eating one of his French fries when he isn’t looking. Another part is curious in the workings of his mind, testing him out, trying to figure out what makes him tick.

Even at the tender age of 19, I enjoy getting a reaction out of my brother in the same way as I did years ago.

In a similar way, part of me writes to get a rise out of my readers.

I write for a variety of reasons, more often than not because I have a desire to hopefully educate others on the side effects of their actions and the actions of their peers, evidenced by my sharing of my opinions on ethnic/race-relations at the university, but more so lately to create a rise in individuals who are set on disagreeing with my opinions.

I sometimes consider if this makes me a sadistic being. I doubt it, but others may disagree.

I do this thing where I laugh about the absurdity of my articles and secretly read every comment that people post on them. I thoughtfully ponder the criticism and comments I receive then go on with my life. I have sworn off of entering heated debates on the Internet out of respect for myself.

I read through comments of people angry about life, angry that I am sharing my experiences that tarnish the image of the Notre Dame family, angry that my views clash with their own, maybe angry that I, and others, have forced them to look into the deeper parts of their souls that they refused to believe existed.

Whatever people are angry about, it is a little scary.

Most of my pieces end up not having a point to them. Even as I am writing this, I am struggling to find any reason in typing this out into words. What is the point of writing? Maybe my recent analysis of Joan Didion’s “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” and his existential crisis has brought me to the same point in life. I don’t take myself very seriously, and neither should you.

Life doesn’t have much meaning either. A lot of people I have encountered are so focused on the end goal, making a lot of money, having a great job and living in a big house in the suburbs of Chicago. There is a desire to present oneself as perfectly as possible, to care about your image, how you are received by others, and so forth. All of these things contribute to a life of dissatisfaction.

Human obsessions with superficial things is disheartening. There is not greater meaning to life than to just be happy. Be happy with what you have in your life in this very moment. Be glad that you woke up this morning and that the sun is out. Be happy that you are alive in this very moment in time. Sometimes it’s nice to be completely oblivious of the rest of the world’s problems.

Stop focusing on the future. When you’re always looking ahead at what could be, you miss the great things happening in your life at this very moment. If you’re not satisfied with your life, change it immediately; don’t just wallow in your own self-pity.

You might be questioning what the point of this article was, so am I.

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” –Elbert Hubbard

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Katrina Linden

Katrina Linden is a sophomore English and Latino Studies major living in Lewis Hall.

Contact Katrina
  • Johnny Whichard

    Your problem is you whine and complain publicly and never provide solutions to the issues you write about. You claim to be a victim of racism, but you are a racist. This article shows you enjoy trolling. Congrats. You bring no good out of your articles. Please take your narcissistic muses to another publication that doesn’t represent Notre Dame.

    • Sainz25

      If you know so much why don’t you provide solutions instead of belittling someone. You can’t call someone a racist with no basis to your claim. At least have some reason behind this heavy claim. The observer is not representative of Notre Dame so don’t think that. A university who is willing to recognize it’s mistakes rather than to hide them is a university I would be proud of. Race exists. Racism exists. We aren’t a colorblind society. And don’t demean someone for their opinions. That is the most childish thing I have ever witnessed.

      • Johnny Whichard

        You should read Katrina’s previous Viewpoints and my (Viewpoint posted) response before attacking me. She embodies: “I am a mixed minority. I want to be viewed as the minority side and I lament my white side. But people view me as my white side. But people should look at me differently because I am also Latino.” Her arguments encourage stereotyping. My solution…COLORBLINDNESS. That solves every issue. Start seeing human beings as individuals. Katrina wants society to view her as special due to her race. Skin color matters to her. It is sad.

        • nah

          Color blindness does not “solve every issue.” How does a college student actually believe this?

          • Johnny Whichard

            If everybody was colorblind to race, there wouldn’t be racism. duh. People who obsess over race are the real problem.

          • nah


            As you know, not everyone is colorblind to race (that’s not even always desirable but lord that’s a different discussion for a different time), and our country has a long, terrible history of racism, discrimination, violence, exclusion, etc. based on race. That stuff doesn’t go away in three or four decades after passage of basic civil rights laws.

            You need to think outside of your own personal experiences. For like two minutes.

            I get so frustrated by people like you, who straight up refuse to recognize that we still have problems with racism in this country, and think that if everyone just stopped talking about it, the problems (that you probably don’t even acknowledge) would go away. That is not how it works.

            Would you be ok with the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Voting Rights Act of 1965? Because they acknowledge race and so they must be racist?

          • Johnny Whichard

            Rather than talk down to you, I’ll just say…your side of the argument provides no permanent solution. The only way to end racism is colorblindness. If you have an alternative solution, please share it.

          • nah

            This isn’t an easy issue, and it won’t be solved by some single sentence “permanent solution.” NUANCE. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

            My “side of the argument” is that racism is still a problem. And that we should actively try to fix that problem rather than ignore it.

            Look, I’m getting that you are probably beyond help at this point. You’re white and privileged, and at no point in your college experience did you attempt to come to an understanding of what life is like for people in positions other than yours. That is incredibly sad because I think that is one of the most important pieces of the college experience.

            People like you, so intractable and so completely unable to recognize their own privilege, do so much harm to society. But honestly, at this point I just pity you. It is legitimately sad that you have put yourself in this impenetrable bubble where you think everyone has the same opportunities and if people would just shut up about race and inequality and everything else it would all be ok. It is incredibly narrow minded.

            Don’t you feel uncomfortable telling people of color that their complaints are invalid? As a white man? Do you just have no shame at all?

          • Johnny Whichard

            You don’t know jack-squat about me. You don’t know my ethnicity or my family’s history with race. Thanks for stereotyping me. You identify racism, clearly by your rhetoric. You pity me because I would hire employees without factoring race? You pity me because I view my peers and coworkers equally despite skin color? No. I pity you…for being superficial. I pity you for factoring in such lame excuses to categorize people on appearance alone. I transcend racism. And I know for a fact, if everybody did so, this country would be a better place. Best of luck creating a better solution. None of them have worked so far.

          • nah

            Your facebook is public, bro. So I know enough.

            You “transcend racism,” eh? lol

    • Tom

      Dude, just stop. It’s weird. Ignore her if you have such an issue with everything she writes.

  • Gabriel Orlet

    If Katrina Linden has no aim to her writing, and this is not a satirical piece, then she shouldn’t submit it to a serious news publication, and the Observer ought to reconsider letting her use this space. I think she gives herself way too much credit for “forcing [people] to look into the deeper parts of their souls,” just because they disagree with the way she writes. What I, and from my impression many others, find objectionable is that she writes fast-and-loose, with little consideration for how her words are perceived; indeed rather aimlessly, and often making unsubstantiated, broad claims. If she wants to write in a serious student publication, which dedicates itself to truth and accuracy, Linden needs to be aware of the rules of discourse.

    • kat

      thanks! this was my last viewpoint, so rejoice!

      • Johnny Whichard

        Good. Stop making Notre Dame look bad.

        • Ugh

          You consistently make me think about taking my Notre Dame diploma off the wall in my office.

          • Johnny Whichard

            If you agree with anything Katrina has published, please do. The vast majority of your “Notre Dame” family loathes what you stand for.

  • matt

    I can’t believe the Observer is willing to post this garbage, which is literally valueless and lacking any sort of coherent message. I didn’t think the Viewpoint section was supposed to include ramblings that look like they were pulled from a teenagers diary.

    “Most of my pieces end up not having a point to them. Even as I am
    writing this, I am struggling to find any reason in typing this out into
    words. What is the point of writing?”

    “You might be questioning what the point of this article was, so am I.”

    Are you serious? This is embarrassing.

  • Guest

    Joan Didion is a woman. You refer to her as a him. Awkward…

    • kat

      that was a cry exhausted state-of-mind error on my part!

      • kat


        • Johnny Whichard

          Try proof-reading.