weekly contests

Reason Weekly Contest: Invent a Trigger Warning for a Children's Book!

Win a free subscription to the magazine

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Welcome to the brand new, weekly contest here at Reason.

Each week I'll be asking a question based on something in the news or zeitgeist. (Maybe I'll even ask you for a word to replace "zeitgeist" already. Something even more pretentious.)

A new question will appear each Friday morning, along with the results of last week's contest. Entries are due Sunday at 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

The winner gets a free one-year digital subscription to Reason magazine, plus all the glory that comes from being crowned the wisest of the wiseasses for a week.

As for me, you may know me as "The Free-Range Lady" (a.k.a., "America's Worst Mom" and even "World's Worst Mom"). But I'm also a contest fanatic and have created and run contests for years in The New York Daily News, Advertising Age, and The Week. (And one disastrous month at NPR.) More bona fides? I've written for Mad. And for Cracked, too.

Not crack. Cracked.

So without further ado, this week's question is:

"Trigger warnings" warn readers that they're about to encounter an idea or scenario that may traumatize them. Please come up with a trigger warning for a classic children's tale, like "The Cat in the Hat" or  "The Three Little Pigs."

How to enter: Submissions should be e-mailed to contest@reason.com. Please include your name, address, and daytime telephone number for verification. This week, please type "TRIGGER" in the subject line. Entries are due by 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Sunday, May 17. Winners will appear Friday, May 22, right here at Reason.com.

In the case of identical or similar entries, the first one received gets credit. First prize is a one-year digital subscription to Reason magazine, plus bragging rights. While we appreciate kibbitzing in the comments below, you must email your answer to enter the contest. Feel free to enter more than once, and good luck! 

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Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. TRIGGER WARNING: Lenore, I want to have your baby.

  2. You mean we can’t go over our entries in the comments?

    1. STOP STEALING MY IDEAS!!!

    2. Only if you can’t bear the grief of seeing someone snatch a digital subscription to Reason magazine from your grasp.

      1. What use is a digital subscription?

        As far as I can tell, the only purpose of giving reason money is to keep the commentariat on the air because I block their ads. What use is a free subscription towards such a goal?

        1. No use at all — therefore the obviously sarcastic tone of my comment.

    3. Sure you can, just submit them to the email address first.

      rigger warnings against humanity: It would be fun to see the commentariat’s winner versus the one Lenore chooses.

    1. Perfect.

  3. First prize is a one-year digital subscription to Reason magazine, plus bragging rights.

    Digital subscription? Who the fuck needs that?

    1. 2nd prize is a 2 year subscription

      1. Third prize is you’re banned.

  4. The Roy Rogers Book – Trigger warning

    1. Switzy, you’re needed here.

      1. *narrows waistband – almost can’t breathe – releases waistband*

        ^^This is why we need a pro like Switzy here…

      2. *narrows gays*

        No wait, wrong thread…and…

        GAYCIST!

  5. Would it be a breach of etiquette to do some here?

    1. Did you bring enough for the rest of the class?

      1. Only if you’re willing to pay.

        1. Would a digital subscription to Reason be acceptable?

          1. A digital subscription? Who the fuck needs that?

          2. I dunno, is that the equivalent of cash?

      2. Wow – thanks for the trigger warning – income-privilege much??!

  6. Out of curiosity, are Grimm’s fairy tales considered classic children’s literature?

    1. Lenore! We need some precise ground rules here before your contest devolves into chaos!

      1. *tags Rich – runs away*

        1. *** scrubs off spray paint – searches furiously for Almanian! ***

          1. No tag-backs!

    2. If you refer to those original stories (and not the Disneyfied versions), the irony ends up being lost because many of them are quite disturbing on their own…

  7. “Maybe I’ll even ask you for a word to replace ‘zeitgeist’ already. Something even more pretentious.”

    Artisanal Zeitgeist?

    1. Nice band name.

    2. Organic Zeitgeist.

    3. Zeit-free Geist!

      1. +winner !!!

    4. Gesundzeitgeist?

      1. 1st runner up

        1. Only gets a hamburger.

          1. But does it taste like chicken?

            1. If you use chicken helper.

    5. Gestalt.

      I always conceived Gestalt as being alive and current, and it becomes a Zeitgeist upon death.

    6. “Zeitgeist” needs s trigger warning for phasmophobes.

    7. Geistkinderzeit

    8. Cis-Gendered Zeitgeist

  8. This is good. The answer is to openly mock these pretentious little snowflakes as the ridiculous pussies they are.

    That being said, the Big Bad Wolf clearly represents the misogynistic patriarchy supporting the rape kulture in America’s colleges. So trigger warning if you’re one of the one in five women who’s been raped at one of the nation’s universities.

    1. Oh, and submitting entries is WAY too much effort. The comment sections should suffice.

      1. Seriously, we don’t like putting effort into our snark.

      2. I just entered. I guess I’ll win by default because the rest of you people are lazy?

        1. Oh, well in that case, buddy boy . . .

        2. If it’s just you, they’ll cancel the contest. I assume you put one of your awful puns in there.

    2. Forget microaggression. MICRO aggression is for pussies.

      We are all for MACRO!!!

      1. Damn it. Let’s try the easy way.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcQ-JMQZFz8

    3. Oh, you can do much better than that….

      Little Red Riding Hood
      TRIGGER WARNINGS:
      Depicts scenes of:
      Parental neglect, Stalking, Abduction, Rape, Sexual predation, Violence, Animal cruelty, Furry fetishism othering, Transvestitism, Vorarephilia (Vore), Sexual cannibalism, Elder Abuse, Patriarchy (Huntsman) … and MORE!

      1. Nicely done. I suggest you enter the contest.

      2. Furry fetishism othering

        That one alone wins it.

    4. it was written by the KKK afterall, just saying.

  9. Gavin McGinnis is just trolling at this point.

    “FOX News contributors Gavin McInnes and Tamara Holder got in an interesting argument over feminism on Thursday’s Hannity

    “”If you were a real feminist, you would support housewives and see them as them as heroes and women at work are wasting their time,” McInnes later said.

    “Generally out of the 250 million people, or 150 million people, most women are happier at home,” McInnes told Holder. “They are pretending that they like working, and they’re not making money because they don’t stay all night at the office. They don’t go the extra mile. They don’t work all weekend. You’re making a mistake. You would be much happier at home with a husband and children.”

    1. OTOH: Who, besides a workaholic, is really happy at the office?

      1. If work was fun, we’d be paying our bosses to do it, instead of the other way round.

      2. I’m an attorney in an incredibly laid back jurisdiction in SC. Friday’s are basically vacation days for me unless I have to be in court. So, I’m happy in the office on Fridays.

        1. Are you going to hire Bo?

          1. Hahahahahahaha.

            1. But seriously, I imagine Bo being tucked away somewhere in a large firm writing memos all day and never, under any circumstances, interacting with the clients.

            2. You laugh, but law offices create lots of waste that must be disposed of.

          2. Because everyone should have a scold looking over their shoulder on a laid back Friday?

    2. good lord.

      1. That was hilariously uncomfortable.

    3. I liked the part where he told her she would be happier married with kids, instead of being miserable and single, the look of complete shock and apallment on her face was something to behold.

      1. Maybe she was appalled because he struck a nerve.

        1. She was appalled because she never is exposed to ideas outside her bubble. That is the drawback to completely taking over education and the media.

    4. That was freaking hilarious.

    5. Tammy, yes it was. It was indeed funny.

      Can you do it again? Playing the self-righteous, indignant fool too oblivious to recognize you’re being mocked?

    6. Someone lost her sense of humor. 🙁

  10. We already have “spot the not”, we don’t need any fancy email contest.

  11. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Trigger warning: Downplays the perils of obesity

  12. Too late. Recently Sesame Street issued a box set DVD of the first three episodes, and I shit you not, the label on the outside reads:

    “These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grownups and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/se…..ults-only/

    So Sesame Street is not appropriate for kids! Just shows how far this miserable society of ours has fallen, that we can’t even allow kids to view the lifestyles of previous generations of children.

    1. I can’t link worth a damn on my phone, but would someone please post a link to the Dave Chappelle Sesame St. video?

    2. And cookie monster ? well his diet is a problem when today’s parents are worried about childhood obesity.

      He also smoked a pipe in one sketch – ate it too.

      Ah-HA!

      1. Ate a pipe? Is Cookie Monster taking bath salts

        1. That was the episode where he ate Elmo’s face.

          1. Before then, Elmo was green, but has been skinless for years.

          2. Not gonna lie, I kinda want to see the Elmo face-eating episode now

      2. Like much humor – this is sadly true. Lately they’ve subjected my favorite monster to all sorts of re-education. They force him to sing a song about cookies being a ‘sometimes food’. He’s been lectured by some actor about the joys of ‘delayed gratification’. Strangest of all the first lady is working with the produce council – they’ve convinced sesame street to allow the produce people to use Elmo and the little latino girl (can’t remember her name) as marketing muppets for free.

        If I wasn’t so stable I would consider ‘rescuing’ Cookie Monster from this cult!

    3. What about Barney and Friends? Don’t tell me the Friendly Purple Lizard has an NC-17 rating now.

      1. Only the episode where they sing “Sally the Camel Has Two Humps… So Ride, Sally, Ride.”

    4. Why would they do that to themselves?

      By kowtowing to this fucking bullshitt you give these miserable PC cunts credibility.

      Stand up and grab a nut Sesame Street!

      1. Damn it, I’m failing hard at this today.

        http://suptg.thisisnotatrueend…..724572.jpg

    5. Things seem to keep getting worse.

      1. And they will continue to do so until enough people stand up to and start ridiculing this stupidity.

    6. I watched the 1st season of Sesame Street when it aired. I was 4 years old (presumably the target audience at the time).

      We’re fucked.

    7. Gotta love the idea that propaganda peddlers, after enough time, consider their own product to be dangerous and harmful to their customers.

  13. Goodnight Moon

    Trigger Warning: Problematic and unserious treatment of childhood schizophrenia

  14. TRIGGER WARNING! This book contains the word “trigger” which some people may find upsetting or triggering.

  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    Trigger Warning: Teaches children that if your heart is three sizes too small it merely makes you grumpy, rather than being a serious birth defect in need of lifelong treatment

    1. Transphobic would also work here.

      1. Are they equivalent, I wonder? Let’s see…

        Unlike the idea of transphobia, cisnormativity refers to a prejudicial ideology that is systemic in nature. Conversely, transphobia refers to an individual attitude or behavior.

        So I think cisnormativity is the plural. One transphobia, two cisnormativity.

        1. Good grief someone needs to publish a sjw dictionary if for nothing else it would be great for the lulz and would have a built in readership.

          1. Having a dictionary would be triggering for the dyslexic and illiterate.

          2. Can you imagine the the baying and gnashing of teeth as grievance hysterics argue definitions?

          3. Besides, you automatically know all the words once you decide to stop being an oppressive white cishetero shitlord.

  16. I thought this was rather obvious but okay.WHY SOME MALE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WON’T BE ALONE WITH FEMALE STAFFERS:

    Staffers whose bosses have employed these policies said that frequently the issue is much more about the perception of an older male congressman spending too much time with a young female staffer, rather than any genuine concern about the behavior of either individual.

    While not explicitly banning solo meetings with women staffers, Republican Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas said they’ve adjusted their office policies to avoid, as Chaffetz put it, “the appearance of any impropriety in any way shape or form.”

    Chaffetz has instituted a “seven-to-seven” policy, not allowing any staffers of either gender to arrive in his office before 7 a.m. or leave after 7 p.m. without express permission. “You do the best you can to make sure those people are leaving at reasonable hour, make sure there [are] plenty of people around and that sort of thing,” Chaffetz said.

    This is what happens when you insist there is a rape culture, women never lie about it, baseless mudslinging is commonplace. Shocking I know.

    1. Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas said they’ve adjusted their office policies to avoid, as Chaffetz put it, “the appearance of any impropriety in any way shape or form.”

      So, no more meetings with the Clintons?

      1. Bill Clinton has a different 7 to 7 policy.

        1. Well, that depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

        2. No, Bill had a “I be 6, you be 9” policy. Big difference.

    2. not allowing any staffers of either gender to arrive in his office before 7 a.m. or leave after 7 p.m.

      So once the clock strikes 7pm, you’re stuck there overnight? Might be worth it if a pre-reduction Jennifer Connelly is in the office too.

    3. Many male college profs won’t close the door while a female student is in their office. Considering a compliment is considered sexual assault, do you blame them?

  17. Brown Bear, Brown Bear

    TRIGGER WARNING! May be offensive to the visually impaired. Additionally, Helen Keller could see the ending coming a mile away.

  18. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

    TRIGGER WARNING

    This book may trigger feelings of anxiety and helplessness among the dyscalculic and/or color blind.

    1. Personally, I’m just offended they group the fish by color rather than their personalities.

  19. THOSE PIGS DIDN’T HAVE PROPER PLANNING AND ZONING DESIGN REVIEW!!11

  20. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (warning: contains privileged white male, rape of the natural world, human-on-tree violence, greed. Further, author’s portrait may be upsetting as author is white, male and fits description of what we all know rapists/pedophiles look like and who’s been known to write Country & Western music and this is also obviously racist.)

    1. fits description of what we all know rapists/pedophiles look like

      My son literally said to me “the guy who wrote that book looks like a pedophile”.

  21. Speaking of Shel:

    http://www.collegehumor.com/vi…..ilverstein

  22. “The Bible” is a Children’s Book, right?

  23. But, can we draw THE PROPHET? There ain’t no trigger warning like one that says “put down the green crayolas . . .”

  24. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders, Fat Shaming

  25. Sort of related: My wife won’t sing the original 3 Blind Mice to the kids. She thinks it’s too violent.

    1. She should see what happens to real mice.

    2. Interesting, my son reworded my wife’s mother’s day card because there weren’t enough monsters.

      1. I get the same thing, but it’s usually dinosaur related. I think I got a picture of a T-Rex last father’s day.

      2. “Interesting, my son reworded my wife’s mother’s day card because there weren’t enough monsters.”

        I think you’re doing something right, RBS.

    3. I was trying to teach my stepdaughter some history and for some reason (possibly beer) thought it would be a good idea to tell her about the effects of smallpox. She was 7 at the time. Guess who got ??? yelled at! ?

      1. Was it… was it you?

      2. “This is what I get for trying to help out?!?”

        1. And I thought purposefully overloading the dishwasher was a dick move…

    4. Gee, she must hate the go-to phrase for entrepreneurs – “build a better mouse trap”.

      Something that snaps the neck of cute little Mickie is “nightmarish” (tee hee)

  26. “Each week I’ll be asking a question based on something in the news or zeitgeist. (Maybe I’ll even ask you for a word to replace “zeitgeist” already. Something even more pretentious.)

    There is only one Zeitgeist.

  27. The Call of Cthulhu

    Trigger Warning: Not only does the universe not care about you, the gods are amoral and coming to eat you.

    What? Were my parents the only ones who read me these types of bedtime stories?

    1. I don’t remember the time before I was reading for myself.

    2. I was once in a seminary library and found, under the “Other Religions” section, the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft.

  28. Once upon a time, there were three little pigs named Moses, Jesus and Mo’ Ham. . .

    oh, oh – . . ..

  29. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My neighbour’s sister has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    ==================
    try this site ????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  30. Go for Hansel and Gretel!

  31. You know the “Paddington the Bear” books will now need a trigger warning lest they aggravate the PTSD of those brave Social Justice Warriors who fought and were literally wounded in the Battle To Resist The Screening Of “American Sniper”.
    .
    Ooops, forgot to preface this comment with a trigger warning that it would contain the addintonpay the earbay and the ericanmay ipersnay and the arriorway, plus the iggertray itself. Odd, that, that the term “trigger warnings” itself doesn’t cause massive pants-wetting, fainting and vomiting in fear by those delicate snowflakes who feel the need for trigger warnings.

  32. My Submission:

    Book: Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss

    Trigger Warning: This book depicts the consumption of animal-based food. Children concerned about cultural addiction to industrial farming may experience ethical distress imagining the cruel unethical murder of animals. Additionally, parents with knowledge of the threats that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) pose to our food supply may find many similarities between “Franken Foods” and the story’s Eggs and Ham that have likely been modified to exhibit a green hue. Such parents could experience anxiety and or unwanted memories of social stigmatization that may have occurred when they refused to consume such foods.

    1. I thought of this one too, but didn’t want to write about the same book you wrote about.

    2. I think you should enter the contest, Overt.

  33. Trigger Warning: “Horton Hears a Who” may maybe you feel small and unimportant. It may make you feel like your voice isn’t being heard by the establishment. If you feel downtrodden, please don’t read this book.

    1. What about Deaf Horton? Does he hear the sound of one hand clapping?

  34. Huckleberry Finn obviously needs a trigger warning because it contains racist language that may offend some people. African American children obviously shouldn’t be forced to read it because it could trigger feelings of inadequacy.

    1. Warning: implies that acting courageously and against social norms in the name of helping an unjustly persecuted member of a disenfranchised group is more important than avoiding the uses of improper and outmoded racial epithets!

      1. Win.

      2. Thanks for taking my idea and running with it. 😉

  35. Please include your name, address, and daytime telephone number for verification.

    https://youtu.be/4F4qzPbcFiA

  36. Peter Pan-

    Trigger warning: encourages clapping rather than jazz hands, which may trigger anxiety.

    Trigger warning trigger warning: use of jazz hands is ableist and discriminatory against the visually impaired.

    1. Holy shit I just realized how triggering that picture is. Lenore, you’re a monster.

  37. I went with “the Little Engine that Could”…

    1. Trigger Warning: I LITERALLY CAN’T!

  38. Ben-Hur

    Trigger Warning: Contains scenes of religious bigotry, occupation-shaming, excessive violence to equestrians, and overly lavish descriptions of Antioch

  39. Atlas Shrugged

    Trigger Warning: Some children, particularly those raised by libertarians, may not realize that Wesley Mouch is the hero of the story. Should you encounter such children, The State requires that you contact law enforcement or child protective kidnapping services.

  40. Winnie The Pooh (1926)

    WARNING – This book contains depictions of the following conditions and events any or all of which may be triggering to survivors and those inflicted with similar or tangentially related conditions: (i) Adult B.E.D./addiction (honey), (ii) acute body dysmorphic disorder (head, belly, tail), (iii) animal cruelty (bees/insects; bears), (iv) abandonment/loss (balloon onset), (v) acrophobia (balloon onset), (vi) claustrophobia (immobilization of head), (vii) firearm usage/violence (direct physical impact), and (viii) pubescent/prepubescent nudity/observation (implied; bath). Caution is advised.

  41. Do satirical “children’s” books count?
    http://www.brainpickings.org/2…..mb-tinies/

    Trigger warnings:
    -Focus on the English alphabet may be exclusionary towards the multilingual or literacy challenged
    -Unequal depictions of non-white children in tragic situations, suggesting that tragic occurrences among non-whites are insignificant
    -Industrial era context could be triggering towards victims of Western capitalist greed

  42. Cinderella – child exploitation and cruelty

    Hansel and Gretel – child abandonment and threatened cannibalism

    The Ugly Duckling – ostracism and bullying

    Little Matchstick Girl – young girl freezes to death due to fear of child abuse

    Little Mermaid – makes a bargain with the devil to escape her father

    These are just the best ones!

  43. I’ve been triggered by the word contest

  44. Harold and the Purple Crayon

    TRIGGER WARNING This book contains depictions of a dragon, a near-drowning, a precipitous fall from a mountain, being small, alone and lost in imposing urban canyons, and information about moose and porcupines that eat pie.

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  46. The Ant and the Grasshopper (Aesop’s Fables):

    Trigger Warning: Validates capitalist stereotypes of socioeconomic and racial privilege, antagonistic toward public-funding for the arts.

  47. Charlotte’s Web: trigger warning – the phrase “some pig” stereotypes the calorically challenged-plus sizers

  48. Where’s Waldo: Should not be read by agoraphobics, anyone with an autism spectrum syndrome, or children who have experienced being lost in a crowd.

  49. Try reading some of the reviews for children’s books on Amazon, plenty of complaints that seem to say “NO TRIGGER WARNING!” and so I dislike the book.

    Real review of Madeline, which received 1 star:

    “The book Madeline I did not like because it reminded me of a military school the way they had to eat and walk in squads every where they went. It also reminded me of an old boarding school where you had those mean teachers hitting the kids with a ruler when they answered a question wrong. I did like the rhyming words and would read this to my class. It tells you that her friends want to be cut up just so they can have a scar just like her. It does not tell they pain she had after the surgery or the painful recovery of rehab. The book makes you believe that having surgery is fun.”

    1. I loved those books as a child.. I never thought it must mean surgery is fun.. WTF

  50. WARNING: This book acknowledges the existence of human sexuality.

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  52. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
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  53. While I agree trigger warning is over used now days. It is helpful in some cases. For instance, I was in an online eating disorder support group. When someone would write a post expressing their feelings of the day, they would write “trigger warning” before they went to too much detail. This is because people who suffer from eating disorders can feel compelled to continue or return to their bad habits when they read or see something that can trigger them to do so such as calorie counting or fad diets. Or I guess an easier way to describe it is when someone describes their rape experience and another rape victim reads it and suffers from mental upset and flashbacks because she is reminded of her own horror

    Yes it’s weird and even hard to really describe. But overall I’m trying to say that trigger warning started with a purpose, too bad it’s been bused past recognition.

  54. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

  55. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
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  56. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.Jobs-Cash.com

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