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viewpoint

This is not a viewpoint

| Friday, November 4, 2016

This is not a viewpoint. It contains no opinion, belief, theory, or observation of any kind; it says nothing. Absolutely nothing. If it did, perhaps it would have opened with a witty aphorism to grab your attention and ease you into the piece. Or maybe a poignantly relatable observation would win you over, draw you in with a relatable experience as a big empathetic hook like chicken soup for your [Catholic] [Libertarian] [sexually deprived] soul. If not, it’s pretty safe to assume that we’ve just dove into the deep end, and you already know more about my religious, political, and musical preferences than you have ever cared to know. Good thing this isn’t a viewpoint.

There is no opinion here; nothing worthy of response in any way, shape or form — meriting neither an assenting chuckle nor a disdainful scoff. If there were some point or angle to this which were not already abundantly clear, it would be right about now that I would happily enlighten you: probably with some sort of strong, declarative (likely hyperbolized) statement. At this precise moment, the following people have stopped reading: radical opponents to the aforementioned belief/idea/theory, the ambivalent majority, the presumptive minority, Jeffersonian Republicans, Scientologists, moral absolutists and the kid sitting alone in the dining hall who thought that reading the paper would edify him and prove a welcome alternative to his solitude but upon randomly flipping to this page and reading the first paragraph found himself to be sorely mistaken.

Anyway, we’ve reached a critical moment. I’ve just made a broad sweeping statement and one of two things must happen right now: Either I’ll now qualify it to appear more reasonable because my roommate said the original draft was “kinda preachy” and “a bit strong,” or I’ll double down and justify my absurd proposal because I wrote this at 3 a.m. instead of the Intro to Philosophy paper that’s due at noon, and no one was around/awake to proof it before sending what I proclaimed to be “the best Viewpoint ever” on multiple occasions. You’re in for a treat, regardless. Or irregardless, if I am on some private grammatical crusade. Doesn’t matter. Again, for the sake of my imaginary journalistic integrity, I feel obliged to remind you that this is not a viewpoint and therefore contains no valid thought or opinion. But that most certainly will not stop me from defending it tooth and nail.

If it were relevant, this would be a great place to throw in a statistic or two — they don’t even need to be accurate, no one will fact-check you as long as the numbers are reasonable. (Editor’s note: The Observer would like to point out it does, in fact, fact-check the Viewpoint section). In fact, of the 22 percent of Viewpoint articles which employ some sort of statistic or figure, nearly three-quarters of said statistics are inaccurate or intentionally misleading.  Once again, doesn’t matter — especially if you agree with the position I have not taken.

In the absence of a compelling statistic, a solid quote would do just as well. St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas are usually a safe bet, or maybe even throw out a bible verse and go straight for the jugular; alternatively, the Dalai Lama or Gandhi always add a little spice with a bit of eastern influence. For the secular readership, there’s always Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain or any number of other authors full of late-nineteenth-/early-twentieth-century witticisms that carry the added bonus of making me sound both cultured and well-educated (both of which we now know to be completely false). Once more I’ll say it, since it’s likely I’ve successfully diverted you with my flashy statistics and thought-provoking quotes: This is not a viewpoint, and I have said nothing.

Seeing that I’ve managed to get this far without saying anything, I can only assume that I have not swayed you in any direction. Hopefully you will go about your business and live your life as though absolutely nothing has changed, because it hasn’t. This article was inconsequential, not to mention verbose, and has had as little impact on climate change as it has on your daily life. In fact, the only observable outcome will be the hollow satisfaction of shouting into the abyss that I’ll wear around for a couple of days like a temporary tattoo before it fades away — much like your interest in this metaphor. Nothing has changed: You know it as well as I. But that’s not why you read this viewpoint, is it?

Nick Lindstrom

senior

Nov. 3

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor can be submitted by all members of the Notre Dame community. To submit a letter to the Viewpoint Editor, email viewpoint@ndsmcobserver.com

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  • Daniel Esparza

    This was an awesome article, but I disagree with it’s premise. I think there is a viewpoint, and it’s manifested through satirizing of online article discourse. For example,

    “In the absence of a compelling statistic, a solid quote would do just as well. St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas are usually a safe bet, or maybe even throw out a bible verse and go straight for the jugular…”

    This is definitely making fun of articles that throw in platitudes to make their viewpoints appear as part of an ideology larger than them-self, or simply as honorable as the quote-maker. Your quip about “cultured and well-educated” individuals who utilize these quotes further supports the idea that this is a satire piece. Continuing,

    “If it were relevant, this would be a great place to throw in a statistic or two”

    This is making fun of the supposed “objectivity” of many viewpoint articles. That is, when an op-ed makes an appeal to logos in an attempt to give their opinion more credibility to our material conditions (I didn’t pay attention in rhetoric class so I may have used logos wrong). Not to say this is necessarily a bad thing, but there is some value in criticizing the meaningless placement of statistics solely for this reason, as if they wrote the piece first, then stuck in some numbers where they saw fit.

    I could be wrong, and have just assumed a premise where there is none, but your repetition of “this is not a viewpoint” and its variants leads me to believe you have something up your sleeve.

  • Kathryn Dennee

    “Irregardless” of whether they’ll remember it after a couple of days, this certainly gives viewpoint writers some things to consider. But is a viewpoint that is also somehow “not a viewpoint” and mocks other viewpoints not equally worthy of mockery?