"trigger warning": "cad" goes unisex, "blonde" goes unutterable

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 7 12:54:26 UTC 2014

First, "cad." It used to be you had be a guy. But a lesbian in a New Yorker
comic strip (June 9 - 16, p. 89) says, "I knew I was being a cad." Probably
this has been  around for a while.

When CNN broadcast the YouTube threats of homicidal madman Elliot Rodger,
they deleted the final words of his threat to kill "every spoiled, stuck up
------ ------."    Living in the past, I assumed the deleted words began
with "f" and "c."

But this is the 21st Century. According to the same magazine, p. 39, the
taboo words Rodger uttered (with studied cartoon villain affect) were
"blonde slut."

Now "trigger warning." Same page:

"The _Times_ [of London]...explained that the term refers to preemptive
alerts, issued by a professor or an institution at the request of students,
indicating that material presented in class might be sufficiently graphic
to spark symptoms of post-traumatic-stress disorder."

Literature classes seem to be especially risky.

Back in the years when I taught "War and Literature," the syllabus advised
the boys and girls that if they were easily offended by bad words and
descriptions of, you know, misery, gore, male chauvinism, and Auschwitz,
that they might want to swap the class and for something less troubling. To
their credit, no one did.

But America's youth was tougher then. The risk of triggering serious trauma
in susceptible natures never entered my mind.  It was just that squeamish
people (or Rambo wannabes) wouldn't be able to deal effectively with the


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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