There's a mention of me and my infamous True/Slant trigger warning post from 2010 in the Washington Post's "Columbia Students Claim Greek Mythology Needs a Trigger Warning."
Trigger warnings quickly spread to include discussions of everything from eating disorders to self injury to suicide. In 2010, sex blogger Susannah Breslin wrote that feminists were using the term "like a Southern cook applies Pam cooking spray to an overused nonstick frying pan." Breslin argued that trigger warnings were pointless or, even worse, self-defeating. A trigger warning is "like a flashing neon sign, attracting *more* attention to a particularly explicit post, even as it purports to deflect the attention of those to whom it might actually be relevant."
I pitched an op-ed piece to the NYT on the subject, but they didn't respond. Here's an excerpt:
Interestingly, the Columbia piece recounts an anecdote in which another student expressed to a professor a desire for a book by Toni Morrison to be included in one of Columbia's Literature Humanities classes. According to the student, the suggestion was brusquely dismissed. But the fact of the matter is that Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved would require a trigger warning, as well. Its main character, Sethe, an escaped slave, recalls her sexual assault at the hands of two white men who physically attack her and steal her breast milk. Therefore, it's entirely possible trigger warnings would stand between students and their reading Morrison's Beloved, Richard Wright's Native Son, Harriet Ann Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. All important works, all of which feature material that would demand trigger warnings.
Trigger warnings: still stupid.
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