"trigger warning"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 7 13:56:49 UTC 2014

Yes, it was the *New York* Times.

When the magazine simply cited "the _Times_" I in my provincialism assumed
they meant the other one.


On Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "trigger warning"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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.
> Joel
> 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
> >material.
> >
> >JL
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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