Monday, May 19, 2014

"Trigger warnings"

Is this serious? The link goes to the NYT, but I thought it was the Onion. Apparently, feminists and others demand that college instructors give "trigger warnings" before assigning most literary works. For example, anyone reading Huckleberry Finn might be shocked to the core to learn that there was once a lot of racism in this country. Veterans need to be warned that All Quiet on the Western Front might trigger memories of war.
“We’re not talking about someone turning away from something they don’t want to see,” Ms. Loverin said in a recent interview. “People suddenly feel a very real threat to their safety — even if it is perceived. They are stuck in a classroom where they can’t get out, or if they do try to leave, it is suddenly going to be very public.”

The most vociferous criticism has focused on trigger warnings for materials that have an established place on syllabuses across the country. Among the suggestions for books that would benefit from trigger warnings are Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” (contains anti-Semitism) and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” (addresses suicide).
Come on. Is this generation really that delicate? The internet and the teevee inundate us with horrific imagery every minute of every day. There's porn out there that shocks even me, and I used to consider myself beyond shock. Rap lyrics revel in obscenity, misogyny and violence. Our culture has turned to shit. I can use words like "shit" in my writing and nobody cares. I can even put it in boldface: Shit. Are you shocked? No, you are not. Your grandparents would have been, but you are not. You have been inured to such things.

Yet the NYT would have us believe that our college students have suddenly turned into daffodils.

Have they? Have they really?


(I hope that outburst didn't trigger anything.)


Gus said...

I can understand these warnings when an article or web post contains images of rape victims or dismembered corpses, or even graphic verbal descriptions of such things......but we're talking about fiction here....that people have been reading for decades, even centuries. I agree with you Joseph, this is more than a bit ridiculous.

CBarr said...

I thought college was supposed to challenge a student's worldview.

maz said...

"I thought college was supposed to challenge a student's worldview."

Oh, it does: They can now see into their navels from multiple angles...

prowlerzee said...

Be careful, Joseph, now that you are in Baltimore!!

You did watch Serial Mom? Remember how she felt about ....the brown word!