You’ve Been Warned!

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.

Cancel Culture – A Quiz

Artist Unknown

We live in dangerous times.  These days, everybody’s looking over their shoulder for the ominous shadow of cancel culture.  Anything you say, can and will be used against you — with disastrous consequences.  And it’s impossible to know what is and what is not acceptable.  For example, last month, Mr. Potato Head was just a toy (a pretty lame one, actually.) Now, it’s a sexist symbol of exclusion and oppression.  (BTW, you might think your life is crap right now, but it’s never going to be as crappy as the lives of people who are worried about the gender of a plastic potato.)  Anyway, not since the Reign of Terror have so many, been so frightened, by the opinions of so few.  But it’s real!  People are losing their jobs for not toeing the politically correct line.  One woman made an insensitive Tweet, went to sleep, woke up in the morning and discovered she’d already been fired.

But help is on the way.  Here is a quiz that will assist you in navigating the minefield that is contemporary culture.  Each statement is either true or false – you have to figure out which.  The answers are at the end.  You get one (1) point for every correct answer and minus five (5) for every wrong one.  (That’s the way politically correct works!)  Then multiply your score by 5 and that’s your “woke” percentage.  Be honest, good luck — and if you use Google, you’re already screwed. 

1 — A Star Trek super-fan was told his personalized license plates “ASIMIL8” (“Assimilate,” catchphrase of the Borg) was being recalled because it represented cultural genocide and was offensive to indigenous people.

2 — Speaking of Star Trek, the first press release for Star Trek Voyager described Security Officer Tuvok as an “African American Vulcan.”

3 — The term YOLO (You Only Live Once) has been deemed offensive to Hindus and other religions that believe in reincarnation.

4 — Advertisers are replacing the word “pyjamas” with “sleepwear” to avoid charges of cultural appropriation because the word “pyjamas” was borrowed during the British colonization of India.

5 — A local city council in the UK has banned the term “brainstorming” because it is offensive to people with epilepsy.

6 — Shanghai DisneyLand has removed all references to Winnie the Pooh so as not to offend the people of China.

7 – A number of universities have banned clapping at all public performances because that might trigger anxiety in nervous people.

8 — Transvestites have been banned from Gay Pride parades because they’re considered offensive to true transgender people.

9 – The word “hysterical” is unacceptable because it is derived from the Greek word for uterus.

10 — There is a claim that calling someone “exotic” has “nasty racial overtones” and is a micro-aggression.

11 — The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, once corrected a woman audience member for saying “mankind” by saying, “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind.  It’s just more inclusive.” and was accused of mansplaining.

12 — The standard size of chairs in arenas, auditoriums, airplanes and classrooms is considered a micro-aggression against people who are overweight.

13 — The word therapist is being replaced with counselor or analyst to avoid subconsciously triggering people who may have been sexually assaulted.

14 – Now that “heart attack” has been replaced with “cardiac event,” the acceptable term for fatal heart attack is “life-limiting experience.”

15 — In many jurisdictions, the term police force has been changed to police service because the word force is considered too confrontational.

16 – Some universities have stopped using trigger warnings because there is concern that warning students about offensive material might actually trigger emotional distress.

17 — “Long time, no see” and “No can do” are unacceptable because they mock the English dialect of 19th century Asian American immigrants.

18 – The name of the string instrument mandolin has been changed to Italian lute to be more inclusive and reflect that both men and women play it.

19 — Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is under pressure to remove “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” because it’s sexist to suggest that women are more vindictive than men.

20 — An advertisement for exercise bicycles, featuring a man (presumably a husband or boyfriend) giving a woman an exercise bicycle as a Christmas gift, was pulled off TV for being overtly sexist.

ANSWERS

1 — A Star Trek super-fan was told his personalized license plates “ASIMIL8” (“Assimilate,” catchphrase of the Borg) was being recalled because it represented cultural genocide and was offensive to indigenous people.

True – The guy’s still fighting it in court.

2 — Speaking of Star Trek, the first press release for Star Trek Voyager described Security Officer Tuvok as an “African American Vulcan.”

Also true — even though the planet Vulcan probably doesn’t have either an Africa or an America.

3 — The term YOLO (You Only Live Once) has been deemed offensive to Hindus and other religions that believe in reincarnation.

False.  But, on second thought …

4 — Advertisers are replacing the word “pyjamas” with “sleepwear” to avoid charges of cultural appropriation because the word “pyjamas” was borrowed during the British colonization of India.

False — but you don’t actually see the word “pyjamas” around much anymore, do you?

5 — A local city council in the UK has banned the term “brainstorming” because it is offensive to people with epilepsy.

True — It’s has been replaced with “thought showers.”

6 — Shanghai DisneyLand has removed all references to Winnie the Pooh so as not to offend the people of China.

True — Guess why?

7 – A number of universities have banned clapping at all public performances because that might trigger anxiety in nervous people.

True — There are two (that I could find) in the UK and several in the USA.

8 — Transvestites have been banned from Gay Pride parades because they’re considered offensive to true transgender people.

True — The most notable case was in Glasgow in 2015, but there have been a number of other places, as well.

9 – The word “hysterical” is unacceptable because it is derived from the Greek word for uterus.

True — Many “woke” writers have made the case that linking hysteria and women is inherently sexist.  (Apparently, the ancient Greeks were insensitive bastards.)

10 — There is a claim that calling someone “exotic” has “nasty racial overtones” and is a micro-aggression.

True — The convoluted argument is that if you’re “exotic” you’re not from here; therefore, you’re being excluded.

11 — The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, once corrected a woman audience member for saying “mankind” by saying, “We like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind.  It’s just more inclusive.” and was accused of mansplaining.

True — Unfortunately, this is absolutely true.

12 — The standard size of chairs in arenas, auditoriums, airplanes and classrooms is considered a micro-aggression against people who are overweight.

True — and several organizations have taken that argument to court — especially against airlines

13 — The word therapist is being replaced with counselor or analyst to avoid subconsciously triggering people who may have been sexually assaulted.

False … so far

14 – Now that “heart attack” has been replaced with “cardiac event,” the acceptable term for fatal heart attack is “life-limiting experience.”

False — although I like the sound of that.

15 — In many jurisdictions, the term police force has been changed to police service because the word force is considered too confrontational.

True

16 – Some universities have stopped using trigger warnings because there is concern that warning students about offensive material might actually trigger emotional distress.

True — One wonders if they’re even teaching controversial subjects anymore.

17 — “Long time, no see” and “No can do” are unacceptable because they mock the English dialect of 19th century Asian American immigrants.

False — No lesser authority than the OED has judged both phrases have been in common use for many years by a number of ethnic groups.

18 – The name of the string instrument mandolin has been changed to Italian lute to be more inclusive and reflect that both men and women play it.

False

19 — Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is under pressure to remove “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” because it’s sexist to suggest that women are more vindictive than men.

False — although a number of quotes have quietly disappeared from the pages over the last few years.

20 — An advertisement for exercise bicycles, featuring a man (presumably a husband or boyfriend) giving a woman an exercise bicycle as a Christmas gift, was pulled off TV for being overtly sexist.

True — And aside from a ton of free publicity, I’ve never been able to figure out why.