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.