Campus Free Speech

Trigger Warning Now Counts as Violent Language at Brandeis University

A way of warning someone they might feel offended is itself offensive?


Remember the battle over trigger warnings? These classroom devices—reminders that students were about to encounter material that might upset, offend, or traumatize them—were all the rage a few years ago, prompting significant public debate over whether professors were coddling their students.

They haven't exactly fallen out of fashion, but it seems that we hear less about them. Researchers have also produced numerous studies showing that they don't work—in fact, they may make people even more anxious.

Brandeis University has now turned on trigger warnings as well—because the word trigger is, well, triggering.

"The word 'trigger' has connections to guns for many people," notes Brandeis University's Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC). "We can give the same heads-up using language less connected to violence."

PARC maintains an "oppressive language list" that includes trigger warning. Also on the list is rule of thumb, (which does not have offensive origins, despite the list's assertion), killing it, (PARC wants students to say great job! instead), and take a stab at something.

The university does not require students and staff to cease using such language, it just recommends softer vocabulary. I've long made fun of universities for taking such a broad view of what counts as offensive language, but the fact that trigger warning—a concept designed to prevent offense—has itself landed on such a list is fairly amusing.

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96 responses to “Trigger Warning Now Counts as Violent Language at Brandeis University

  1. Of course it has; next up, language itself is rife with harm and offense; we ask that you grunt and growl the next time you feel compelled to “say something.”

    1. A growl is an aggressive noise, we’ll need you to wimper instead.

      1. Silly me; yes, whimpering is much better. And as for “jazz hands” waving your arms around has already been deemed threatening too.

        Seriously, I am amused as they force themselves deeper and deeper into an existential corner. Sophistry on steroids.

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    2. I, for one, appreciate this notification from Brandeis University. I’ll start using the term “Mewling Little Pantshitter Warning” instead.

    3. Uwarawroooooo!!

  2. “T****** Warning Now Counts as Violent Language at Brandeis University”

    No big deal. I’ll just stop using that expression.

    But remember what chemjeff —’s leading defender of critical race theory — has said: The most urgent problem in American education is not what our progressive allies are doing, it’s the conservatives seizing and pouncing that we should really be worried about.

    1. They’ve updated the list to remove that one.

      1. The reason they gave for “picnic” was so tenuous and convoluted even 1984’s Syme wouldn’t have come up with it.

        1. I think picnic as a racist term is another 4 Chan prank, like the okay sign

          1. What would Yogi say about your “pick-a-nick”?

            1. “Hey, hey, hey!”

  3. Once you start policing plain language idioms for offensive phrases, there is no obvious place to stop.

    1. “Stop” – A word commonly used by rape victims and ignored by the white male patriarchy.

    2. The obvious place to stop was passed years ago.

      Can the left just start the violent revolution already? I have something I need to do this weekend, and I’d like to get it all over with before then.

      1. I have occasionally wondered if there has ever before in history been a civil war where the sides were defined as “Owns weapons and mostly wants to be left alone” and “Doesn’t own weapons and doesn’t want anyone else to either”. And how that worked out for the side that was unarmed.

        1. Being unarmed is irrelevant if you hire enough bodyguards who are armed.

          1. If it’s an existential struggle, they’ll just take your money and kill you.

        2. The left does own weapons, because they own the institutions and thus the state.

          What, you think a federal government that’s quietly forcing its employees into racialized training doesn’t have command?

    3. I really think suicide is the only possible logical outcome. Your [collectively] very existence on this planet is offensive to someone, especially to Gaia herself.

  4. Did you say something in the culture is on fire?


  5. KISS, Bon Jovi and Scandal banned at Brandeis.

  6. Hopefully there won’t be any conservative backlash against this. Brandeis is applying its first amendment right to moderate its language as it sees fit.

    1. I seriously want to see, with bated breath, just how far this goes. I truly expect they will end up naked, curled up in little balls, quietly whimpering to one another. Maybe just quivering since whimpering may be construed as violence.

    2. Newton’s 3rd Law is a bitch.

  7. How the fuck do people say this shit with a straight face? “Warning” has “war” in it too. That’s probably too upsetting. I think that what these college students really need/want is just to be sedated for 4 years and then put into nursing homes.

    1. They got nothing to do and no where to go
      They wanna be sedated

      1. You’re not a reverend, you’re a Ramone…

    2. They, as a generation, have learned how to wag the dog. And it’s fun to wag the dog, you just get a few douche bags to complain enough [tweet] about something and voila, the tail rules the day. As long as this yields results and gives them a false sense of power, they will keep doing it.

    3. >>what these college students really need

      punch in the face?

      1. Excessive drinking and a roll in the sack?

        1. They can’t even screw in a lightbulb.

        2. Then, months later, they will march around campus with a mattress strapped to their back.

  8. If you as much as use the word “trigger” it will send them into a nasty fit.

    1. Well come in on man, just look at what it rhymes with!

      1. Bigger?



        1. We’ll figger it out.

          1. We gotta digger deeper.

        2. Ya fo’got “Tigger” and, I’m soit’n he’s already on that list for the story he’s in.

      2. Hitler?

  9. “PARC maintains an “oppressive language list””

    I find reading the word “oppressive” to be very oppressive

    1. I find their use of the same acronym as the Palo Alto Research Center to be offensive. I demand that they stop.

      1. Cultural appropriation?

      2. I think the college’s rhetoric should be parc-ed.

    2. They whine about oppression while telling other people what words to avoid and what are acceptable means of expressing themselves.

  10. Brandeis Asylum

    1. But, what do you call an asylum where all the crazy people have the same delusions?

      A monastery or a convent, no?

  11. Anything can be found to be offensive if you try hard enough.

    1. offense must be taken.

      1. Harsh words were utilized. Procedures were followed. The faculty made it home safely. Heroes.

        1. (Offensive word) Warning…that’s beautiful, almost a haiku.

          Harsh words utilized
          Procedures have been followed
          Faculty safe. Heroes

    2. In the entry for why “gypped” is offensive, Brandeis refers to Roma people as gypsies. Many Roma people consider “gypsies” to be a racial slur on a level with a certain other racial slur beloved of hip-hop artists and Quentin Tarantino, but progressives in this country who think they know something typically refer to Roma people as “gypsies” (when they are even aware this category of people exists). The list also claims “rule of thumb” was originally related to legally beating women under English common law, but this is a myth. One of the most irritating aspects of lists like these is that it’s always people who don’t actually know much of anything “instructing” others on what’s appropriate. Instruct yourselves, assholes.

      1. Always wondered how Tarantino avoided the cancel culture firing squad. He doesn’t seem to have his head impaled in the DNC’s ass any more than the typical Hollywood sewer trout. What’s his secret?

        1. Maybe he’s a drinkin’, drugin’ ‘n whorin’ buddy of Hunter’s.

      2. One slur that is still used by almost everyone, Unwoke and Woke alike, deriving from The Holy Bible of Christianity and included in the law itself… is “Good Samaritan.”

        It implies that a Samaritan who is good is the exception, not the rule. Yet people praising Altruism and charity and helping sa(and often condemning racism and prejudice,) still use the term.

        I’d rather call them “Unofficial First Responders”…and be among that class as well.

  12. If you feel your language needs a trigger warning, you’re obviously aware that it might be offensive to some people and you shouldn’t say it. Quite simple, really, you fucking retarded spaz.

    1. That’s not what they’re notionally for.

      The idea of a trigger warning is that a given piece of material might not necessarily be “offensive”, per se, but rather have a negative impact on a certain class of reader.

      I.e.: A piece of literature regarding suicide might cause emotional upset for people with depression or those who have had friends or family commit suicide. A piece of literature about rape might cause distress to those who have been sexually assaulted.

      So it’s not that it’s supposed to excuse intentionally offensive writing, it’s intended to literally serve as a warning for people to let them know they might want to avoid a certain thing.

      It basically started as “if you have PTSD stemming from this root cause, you should be aware that the following subject matter explores that topic, continue at your own risk”. Saying that “you just shouldn’t say it” is the part that’s fucking retarded. Like, I’ve read your comments before and I know you’re not suggesting “no one should ever write anything on any topic that someone might have PTSD about”. Well, ok, I’m *pretty sure* you’re not saying that, I suppose it’s possible, but I’m under the impression that you’re smarter than that.

  13. Another Uni that we can avoid hiring from.

    1. this town ain’t big enough for you and Brandeis

  14. Is it because Trigger was a palomino and not a chestnut or a bay?

    1. Don’t forget “Buttermilk”.

  15. Remember that one political mailer that had crosshairs targeting Democrats to defeat in an election? Remember how Democrats all freaked about because it was advocating gun violence by the user of crosshairs and targets?


    This is literally how some people think.

    Next thing we have to ban warnings because a warning implies danger and fragiles need to feel safe.

    1. Bye the by, those “Crosshairs” are actually a surveyors mark – like this one ⊕
      Unicode: U+2295, UTF-8: E2 8A 95

  16. All I can think of is this when I read articles like this:

      1. I get what he’s talking about, but the issue is that it ignores advances in science, such as the kind of big one that PTSD doesn’t only happen to combat vets.

        Does it make sense to call the same condition in a rape victim “shell shock”?

      2. In all fairness, before it was called “shell shock,” it was called “war nerves.” Partially harsh, partially soft.

        Also, “pass away” and “expire” are old ones. “Reincarnated” is pretty euphemistic from those who believe in that sort of thing.

        Other than that, Carlin nailed it as usual.

  17. This craziness will not end until the people stand up and say “NO” or “Hell NO”, such as the parents at school board meeting are doing when it comes to their children being taught the anti-white doctrine that is being pushed in schools.

  18. I would think “racist” would be a violent term if there ever was one.

    1. Indeed, but unlike other language it only directs that violence at bad people. It’s replacing please as the magic word.

  19. Trigger Warning! NSFBW (not safe for bed wetters)

  20. This was the funniest part:

    Brandeis University


  21. Isn’t making lists itself a sick example of the white mind’s implicit racism and authoritarianism? /s

    1. It’s hierarchical! Oooooh!

    2. You’re right, that old Armenian Saint, Nicholas, is, “Makin’ a ”List’ and checkin’ it twice”.

  22. So Roy Rodgers’ horse can’t be mentioned at Brandeis?

    1. Roy Rogers sold burgers. And beef production is killing the planet. So Roy Rogers name has been changed to Soy Rogers.

      1. “I’d rather have ham in my sandwich than cheese, but complaining wouldn’t do any good.” –Elton John, “Roy Rogers Is Riding Tonight.”

      2. On a more serious note, the Roy Rogers menu looks pretty good! Burgers, roast beef, bacon, and fried chicken all at once! A carnivore’s feeding trough! (And a Vegan’s slaughterhouse! Ooooh! Now that’s triggering!)

        1. I thought those were all gone. It was great fast food.

  23. So when is the next edition of the newspeak dictionary due out?

    I’ll cast my vote to replace ‘trigger warning’ with ‘double plus ungood notification’.

  24. I guess it’s lucky that Brandeis doesn’t offer any culinary arts degree. Think about all the “violent” language involved in cooking: roast, skewered, fried, boiled, chopped. It all sounds like medieval tortures!

    Come to think of it, how do today’s exquisitely sensitive students even manage to survive long enough to reach college age in the first place? There are only so many times you can fall to the floor in a faint or have severe heart palpitations when you hear that your mother has chopped and roasted some vegetables or —even worse— fried a chicken breast (violence and sexual objectification in a single dish!) for your supper before you either die or can no longer function at all outside of a mental health facility?

  25. How about the expression, “I need this like a hole in my head,” which I think would be accurate.

  26. What if I don’t care if I offend you? Is there a warning for that?

    1. Well, it they’re to be consistent [but we all know that’s not a possibility], they’ll either call the “Language Police”, or the “Thought Police”. [I just have to wonder what they’ll call them as “Police” is a trigger word?]

  27. One can only hope that Global Warming will melt the Snowflakes and we can all return to sanity. There are already enough angels dancing on the head of a pin.

  28. Defund the language police!

  29. It is what I would expect from Brandeis which has always been ultra liberal.

  30. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding”

    Louis Brandeis

    1. It would appear that every rich man’s endowment, especially if he is conservative, is either turned into a liberal slush fund and/or a bastion of socialism. The quote of his that you’ve posted reminds me of another’s similar observation:
      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” – C. S. Lewis

  31. Look at the world around you with a clear eye and an open mind. Tell me this man wasn’t prescient about the nature of Mankind:

    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell

    “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed — if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” —George Orwell, “1984”

    “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” – George Orwell

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.” – George Orwell, “1984”

  32. I actually prepared a paper on the subject, and, as is frequently the case with fashion (hellboy clothing line), there were a number of reasons at play in the rise and fall of facial hair.

    Facial hair became popular in Western history when it was associated with desired masculine attributes such as fierceness, power, and strength. It fell out of favor because other attributes, such as more “feminine” elegance, style, affluence, and leisure, were more desirable.

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