One of the weirdest phenoms of the 21st century is the “Trigger Warning.” This is a statement made before news items, blogs, plays, books, stories, opinion pieces, university lectures, movies, TV programs, poems, paintings and pretty much everything else we watch, read or hear. The purpose is to warn us that whatever is coming next is probably too harsh for our fragile emotions to handle, and we should avert our gaze or else we’ll end up huddled in the corner – sobbing. Personally, I think this is a rather ad hoc way to do business. We all know life is tough, and if we’ve become such emotional marshmallows we can’t deal with trivial stuff like TV programs or someone’s Twitter opinion, maybe it’s time we put trigger warnings on life itself.
May I make a few suggestions?
Warning — Normal people disagree with each other. Sometimes, they will disagree with you. They are not idiots, evil or part of an international corporate conspiracy. However, if it distresses you that anybody could possibly have a perspective, attitude or viewpoint that’s different from yours — remain calm — try to steer the conversation to celebrity gossip or, better still, just walk away when the adults are talking.
Warning — There are hundreds of different cultures in the world. These cultures exist simultaneously and overlap. If you are so uncomfortable being Caucasian that the overlap causes you feelings of latent Western guilt, please return to your home and watch old Michael Moore documentaries. They will provide all the guilt you need.
Warning — Reasonable political discussions contain logic and nuance. If you prefer shouting and/or name calling, it’s probably best to just talk about the weather. Oops! No, probably not! Hmm — perhaps stick to celebrity gossip or, better still, just walk away when the adults are talking.
Warning — Not every person on this planet is your mother. Nobody is emotionally obligated to cuddle, cajole or care about you. If this makes you uncomfortable — uh — I don’t care?
Warning — You can’t change history. If historical names, statues and monuments offend you so completely that you feel an uncontrollable need to vandalize or destroy them – go ahead. Throughout history, arrogant bullies have always tried to cancel the culture that came before them (Nazis burned books, Puritans banned Christmas, the Taliban closed all the schools for girls, etc.) so you’re just another arrogant bully in a long line of history’s arrogant bullies – get used to it.
Warning — Television is NOT real. If make-believe offends you, please do not watch television.
Warning — People in other centuries had different values and ideals. Perhaps they were wrong, but judging past behaviour by contemporary standards is stupid. Remember what a nitwit you were in high school? Seemed like a good idea at the time, though – didn’t it? Well, good luck trying to justify it now!
Warning — Humour still exists in the world. If laughing at stupidity, absurdity, the ridiculous and the inane makes you uneasy, please pull the hockey stick out of your ass and quit spoiling it for the rest of us.
Warning — “Trigger Warnings” are bullshit. If you are an adult and still need someone else to prequalify what you read, watch or hear, please talk to your parents immediately. Obviously, they didn’t do their job properly, and you might want to start again.
Unless you’re four years old, Seth Rogen or the Big Lebowski, you don’t have a lot of time to lie around the house and wonder why. Adults, who aren’t permanently affixed to 4/20 self-medication, learn to take a few things on faith. After all, “why?” is a pretty open-ended question and much if it, without herbal encouragement, isn’t worth the trouble. For example, I don’t know why there are 8,000 different kinds of pasta, and, honestly, I don’t care. I’m sure somebody knows the difference between linguini, fettuccini and all of other “inis,” out there, but it ain’t me. However, there are times when our inner child does escape on a Friday morning and, over a second cup of coffee just wonders why.
During automobile commercials, when the car speeds up, why are the wheels turning the wrong way? I’m no fan of physics, but that’s impossible.
The Ancient Greeks believed in a pantheon of gods who lived on Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is only 3,000 metres high. Why didn’t somebody just climb the mountain and look?
When anti-religious people get upset about religious symbols like burkas and crucifixes, why doesn’t anybody ever mention yoga pants? Honestly, we should do something about yoga pants.
Why television advertisements for hearing aids don’t have subtitles. It seems to me they’re missing their target audience.
Why, after a murder, it’s always some jogger who finds the body. I don’t trust joggers — uh — or people who walk their dogs, either.
Why single women in romantic comedies all have crap jobs but fabulous apartments full of cool furniture. And how — exactly — are they paying for all this?
Why vegans always announce they’re vegan at parties. Are they worried somebody’s going to accidently drop a pork chop in their drink?
Why English actors can sound like they’re American but, when American actors try to do a British accent, they all sound like they’ve got a carrot up their nose.
Why do people use the phrase “funny as hell.” By all accounts, Hell isn’t the least bit funny.
Why Nala from The Lion King and Maid Marian from Robin Hood aren’t Disney princesses. I think it’s a clear case of species-ism (specaphobia?)
Why a stress ball isn’t for throwing at people who stress you out.
Why everybody cheers for the early bird but nobody has any compassion for the early worm.
Why people watch horror movies. I fail to see how scaring the bejesus out of yourself passes for “entertainment.” And that goes double for scary rides at the State Fair.
Every year, charities spend thousands and thousands of dollars making television commercials to solicit donations. Why don’t they take the big money they’re spending on film crews, transportation, actors, actresses and TV time and just give it to the people they’re trying to help?
Why don’t psychics ever win the lottery?
And finally, two of my favourites:
If Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is correct and there is natural selection, then why, after 50,000 years of human history, are there still so many stupid people kicking around?
Why, when you can pretend to be anything you want on social media, people choose to be stupid.