"trigger warning"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jun 7 13:46:58 UTC 2014

It's potentially worse than asking that
professors issue warnings -- there is a push that
books be labeled.  Say as "entartete Kunst".  Or with a yellow star.

 From the NYTimes, "Warning: The Literary Canon
Could Make Students Squirm", By JENNIFER MEDINA
(on-line May 17, 2014; print May 18, Sunday Review, front page):

"Would any book that addresses racism — like “The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or “Things Fall
Apart” — have to be preceded by a note of
caution? Do sexual images from Greek mythology
need to come with a viewer-beware label?"

"... slapping warning labels on famous literary
works, as other advocates of trigger warnings have proposed."

The next week's SundayReview letters column was
titled "Caveat lector".  A few writers defended such warnings.


At 6/7/2014 08:54 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

>Now "trigger warning." Same page: [New Yorker,
>June 9 - 16, if I read JL correctly]
>"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

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

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