The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Trigger Warning for 1984 at the University of Northampton

|

Daily Mail (UK) (Chris Hastings) reports:

[S]taff at the University of Northampton have issued a trigger warning for George Orwell's novel on the grounds that it contains 'explicit material' which some students may find 'offensive and upsetting'.

The advice [was] revealed following a Freedom of Information request by The Mail on Sunday….

[I]t is one of several literary works which have been flagged up to students at Northampton who are studying a module called Identity Under Construction. They are warned that the module 'addresses challenging issues related to violence, gender, sexuality, class, race, abuses, sexual abuse, political ideas and offensive language'….

I think if individual faculty members want to warn students about particular books this way, they should be free to do so. And I actually support warning students generally about this—preferably in orientation, but perhaps even at the start of a class syllabus—precisely to remind them that studying the human experience at a university necessarily involves confronting the dark sides of humanity.

But I personally think it's a mistake to offer such book-by-book advice, precisely because it reinforces the presupposition that students in university literature, history, anthropology, law, etc. classes should by default expect nothing offensive, upsetting, or explicit, and are thus entitled to be warned as to departures from this norm. The history of humanity has been in large part the history of tyranny, mass murder, slavery, rape, racism, sexist oppression, and much more. (Thankfully, it hasn't been only that, but many serious accounts, real or fictional, will include the evil as well as the good.)

Adults who study humanity should recognize that this is so. They should be prepared to deal with it at all times in their studies. Indeed, the more they want to fight such evils, the more they should be ready to deal with it without the need for trigger warnings or other supposed protections. And the institutions tasked with educating such adults ought to seek to inculcate such a perspective, as part of their educational function.

Empirical evidence apparently also suggests that trigger warnings are largely ineffective for preventing student upset, see Mevagh Sanson et al., Trigger Warnings Are Trivially Helpful at Reducing Negative Affect, Intrusive Thoughts, and Avoidance, 7 Clinical Psychol. Sci. 778 (2019), and may indeed be counterproductive: They may "cause small adverse side effects," Payton J. Jones et al., Helping or Harming? The Effect of Trigger Warnings on Individuals With Trauma Histories, 8 Clinical Psychol. Sci. 905 (2020), such as by increasing "risk for developing PTSD in the event of trauma, and disability-related stigma around trauma survivors," and "increas[ing] immediate anxiety response for a subset of individuals whose beliefs predispose them to such a response." Benjamin W. Bellet et al., Trigger Warning: Empirical Evidence Ahead, 61 J. Behav. Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry 134, 140 (2018). But to the extent the empirical debate on that subject is unsettled, I think they are generally unsound in universities, at least when it comes to work-by-work or class-session-by-class-session warnings.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: January 23, 1915

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. "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

    1. As a student, the trigger warning would be highly offensive. I would have to file a formal complaint, and possibly a claim for defamation. It implies I am mentally ill, and must be warned about a classic book. Being accused of a loathsome disease is defamation per se.

      1. A trigger warning that there are trigger warnings might help.

        1. You joke — but some of the snowflakiest snowflakes actually do object to the phrase "trigger warning," on the grounds that triggers are associated with guns, and guns are associated with violence, and violence upsets some people. So the woker phrase is "content warning."

          1. I find "content warning" to be a better term. It is more inclusive. We all love to be inclusive, right? It covers the range from full scale PTSD attacks to parents being offended about bad words in lyrics.

  2. "on the grounds that it contains 'explicit material' which some students may find 'offensive and upsetting'."

    Sheesh. I've read 1984 more than once. Heck, it's assigned reading this semester for my 13 year old son's 7th grade English class! Anybody who finds 1984 'offensive and upsetting' to the point of needing to be warned is too sensitive to survive life outside of a nunnery.

    1. Somehow, Those People never find it amusing when someone gives them the advice "Get thee to a nunnery!"

      1. Wasn’t the Castle Anthrax a nunnery? With a grail-shaped beacon?

      2. I was going to quote the Shakespeare line "Therefore, I will push Montague’s men from the wall, and thrust his maids to the wall". Because that's routinely taught to high school children without warnings, right? Wrong, I discovered. The top hit for my particular search to find the exact quotation came with a "Sensitivity Footnote" on this line reading "This is an example of victim blaming and misogyny."

        When I was in high school the teacher told us what it meant, which was not obvious to us, and let us draw our own conclusions. None of the girls in my class flinched.

    2. Its supposed to be offensive and upsetting. Just not the way people are usually upset these days.

    3. 1984 is extremely offensive to socialists.

      1. Only because it reveals the dark side of socialism

      2. 1984 was written by a socialist.

      3. The irony of this comment is that you don't have a clear idea of what "socialists" really are, and are really only using it as a slur because right-wing propagandists have impressed it into your brain as a group of people to hate.

        One might be inclined to compare 1984's totalitarian dystopia to "socialism," just because the Soviet examples that helped inspire it are comparatively recent and well-known among the right. But it resembles a wide range of modern political systems, including those constructed in China and North Korea, Russia, and Egypt, the ones being constructed in India, Turkey, Hungary, and Poland, and then to a lesser extent pretty much any right- or left-wing government with state-controlled media.

        1. Fair enough; IIRC, 1984 doesn't go into detail on the economic system in place, though of course Orwell WAS warning of the inclinations of his fellow socialists. The sort of indoctrination he described could be associated with any totalitarian society.

          1. There was government rationing, so less of a free market than we have in modern America. Not necessarily a socialist system, though. They had rationing in England in the years before 1984 was written. Rations were a popular wartime measure.

            1. As Michael P notes, though, The "soc" in Ingsoc stood for "socialist", so even though the things 1984 warns of could manifest in societies that weren't unusually socialist for the 22 century, 1984 specifically was about a socialist country.

        2. One also might be inclined to label the political party in 1984 a socialist one because its ideology was named Ingsoc, short for English Socialism.

    4. "Anybody who finds 1984 'offensive and upsetting' to the point of needing to be warned is too sensitive to survive life outside of a nunnery."

      Anyone who doesn't find Orwell's literary style offensive and upsetting has no literary taste 🙂

      1. Eh, his writing isn't that bad. I've had to read much worse as assigned reading in school.

        And, of course, you're not reading 1984 for the literary value, but for the warning; Similar to Fahrenheit 451, except that Bradbury was a much better writer.

    5. The entire trigger warning edifice is the result of histrionics born of the absolutist First Amendment. Hence you must be damaged somehow to "get around" it, in limited arenas such as academics, and miraculously use the power of government to silence, and where it is, as usual, all about the money.

      What was once about repeated, nasty harassment is now more like mathematical studies of infinitesimals in calculus.

      1. If the first amendment were interpreted in an absolutist fashion, claiming to be damaged by someone's speech would not get you around it.

  3. I've been skeptical for awhile if our modern times are any better than say any other timeframe in the 20th century. Seems we have just swapped moral and other evils for another kind and just don't think that those are as subjectively "evil" as the ones they have replaced.

    Objectively our society is less free than we were even 20 years ago and subject to more authoritarianism then ever before.

    1. Do you think that authoritarianism is in spite of the Federal Class and their actions, because of the Federal Class or the Federal Class has nothing to do with it?

    2. 'O tempora, o mores!'

      You sound old. Maybe ask gay people and Muslims how free they felt in 2002.

      1. Maybe ask religious people, or Christians how they feel in 2022....

        1. In 2002, gay people were fighting against constitutional amendments to ban recognition of same-sex marriage and regularly experienced discrimination in employment. Muslims found themselves under heightened police and FBI scrutiny and placed on no-fly lists.

          Nowadays, Christians are... well... how are they being oppressed, again? Required to sell cakes to same-sex couples? To pay for birth control pills for their employees? While they are carving out a nice little exception from generally applicable laws for themselves, with the assistance of a majority-Catholic Supreme Court? How many gays or Muslims are on the Court, again?

          1. You do a nice job summing up how we are turning the screws on Christians these days. Thanks.

            1. You have a pinched and unflattering view of what a Christian means, and what oppression looks like.

              Gays getting married or abortions happening are 1) something plenty of Christians are fine with, and 2) does not impoverish or jail anyone.

              Christians are not living in fear.

              1. How would you know Sarc? And yes they are living in fear. And yes they are being put in jail because of their beliefs. Don't equate your ignorance with reality.

                1. I'm a Christian, even if you would insist I'm not.

                  Who is going to jail for their beliefs? Do you have more than a few anecdotes?

                  1. I thought you were Unitarian?

                    A sect that believes in nothing.

                    1. Maybe don't denigrate my faith, asshole.

      2. You might still ask gays in Saudi Arabia. Or Coptic Christians in Egypt. Or Hong Kong people in China. So, what is your point?

        More to the point of the OP:
        Students should rejoice that they will be exposed to disconcerting ideas and expression. That is supposed to be an essential aspect of becoming an educated adult.

        1. Did you read the comment I was replying to?

          It's the usual 'when I was younger everything was perfecter' nonsense that's been going on since ancient Rome.

          Yeah, what's going on in the OP is silly. No, we are not less free than 2002.

          1. Some things were better when I was younger, some things are better today. I'm not convinced that the losses were actually necessary to achieve the gains.

            1. That's a fine and much more moderate case to make.

              And not all losses and gains are related at all anyhow.

              1. But if you probe, that's basically always what people actually thinks. Nobody, literally nobody, thinks things were "perfect" when they were younger, and that NOTHING has improved.

                1. Right - but similarly if you wait longer and probe, those people turn out to be wrong and things had improved.

                  The trend of improvements holds writ large, but with some generational exceptions that tend to be pretty apocalyptic. I don't think we're there; this seems more like old fart grumpiness.

                  1. So, have out of wedlock birthrates improved? How about income inequality?

                    I think we clearly have improved in terms of technological capabilities, and (Probably due to eliminating lead in gasoline.) violent and property crime rates. But there are certainly important metrics that are going the wrong way, and drastically.

                    1. Sarc won't answer this because he can't. He equates "progress" to the march of time. Anything else will be subjected to either his false take on reality and history or standard hand waving.

                    2. Lots of people look back like 20 years, maybe even 40. But not many look back 70 or 90 years and say things were about the same or worse. This holds true across the vast majority of generations, worldwide, throughout written history. With exceptions for apocalypses like the black death and the like.

                      Sure, you can point to specific metrics (income inequality is a good one, though I would point to lower class buying power as a countervailing one - even an uneven tide lifts all boats) that go down across that timespan, but my response was never a superlative across all numbers.

            2. Yes, but "better off" and "free" are fundamentally different concepts. What Sarcastro is doing here is the sophist's dance between the two.

              Are we better off ? Yes, certainly. We can argue about why, but that is a different argument. Are we more free ? Certainly not. Count the number of laws, regulations and legal restrictions that apply to you now compared to 20 years ago. It's not even close.

              1. When I was talking about gays and Muslims, do you think I was talking about better off?

                Plus, of course, most on here (including me) would equate a free society with a better off society.

                1. All things being equal, a free society is better off, but it's certainly possible for material prosperity to coexist with declining liberty.

                  1. Material prosperity is not the same as 'better off' though.

                    1. It's an element of it, surely.

                    2. it's possible for material prosperity to coexist with not being better off, is all. Don't want to get reductive.

                2. Both homosexuals and Muslims were fine and well off in 2002. You are trying to create a false reality that never existed because you are in need of a strawman.

                  1. Care to elaborate on that beyond ipse dixit?

                    1. You are the one stating they were so oppressed just 20 years ago. Think it is on you to make the case. I was living in that era and can tell you that both classes of people were generally doing really well.

                    2. Gays couldn't get married, and could indeed be put in jail for sodomy.

                      People from Muslim countries were just blindly put on a list. Muslims were racially profiled, and there was a lot of sentiment about how they were all barbarian terrorists, including assaults on random Muslims and Sikhs.

                      Do you deny any of that is true?

                3. When I was talking about gays and Muslims, do you think I was talking about better off?

                  No I think as a motivated thinker and partizan you are doing what you usually do. You are conflating a bunch of issues to push a narrative.

                  Plus, of course, most on here (including me) would equate a free society with a better off society.

                  Like hell you do. You like the positive propaganda of the word "free". When it comes down to actual freedom, people like you are usually on the opposite side. You define "Freedom" as being coerced to do the things you think are best for society. It's just another word game on your part. Giving individuals the freedom to choose is not so much your thing.

                  If Able, Bob, Chuck and Dan form a group to help on each other's farm and they exclude Eddie, equity may be increased if Sarcastro shows up with his guns and goons to force them to include Eddie, but freedom is always diminished.

                  1. Thanks for telling me exactly what I think.

                    I think the Civil Rights Acts made us more free, even as they used state power to do it. I, and lots of other people.

                    You are not King of Freedom, and neither is libertarianism.

                    1. Thanks for telling me exactly what I think.

                      Funny what actually reading and honestly parsing someone's argument can do for you isn't it ? I realize you might treat what you write as throwaway but it gives me lots of insight into your characteristics.

                      You are not King of Freedom, and neither is libertarianism.

                      ... and no one not a hack ever implied I was. What I do have is a set of arguments that are more principled and compelling than your "I rationalize whatever it is I need to believe".

                    2. "Thanks for telling me exactly what I think. "

                      You are an expert at telling people here what they really mean. [usually that they are racists] So, suck it up when the wheel turns.

                    3. Artifex, you got what I think wrong is the thing. You are not a detective, you are a fiction writer.

              2. Are we more free ? Certainly not. Count the number of laws, regulations and legal restrictions that apply to you now compared to 20 years ago. It's not even close.

                Can you elaborate? I'm of course at a very different stage of life than I was 20 years ago, and I live in a very different part of the country, but this doesn't feel very accurate.

                1. The many lines of laws, regulations and codes have been added in the last 20 years ? How many have been removed ? My assertion is that few have been removed and many added.

                  It is the nature of the regulatory state to grow. Laws and regulations grow up to fix problems that the crafters do not really understand. The structure then does not have the desired effect for exactly that reason. It would be a loss of face to admit the structure has utterly failed to do what was advertised, so we craft more regulations and laws to fix the problems caused by our initial stupidity. Rinse and repeat over and over and the laws grow like a cancer.

                  1. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                    Maybe you're right, I don't know. But even then your metric of mere quantity is janky.

                    1. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                      Well, that's a hell of a quote. In fact, it seems a good response for 90% of your own posts. In this thread alone.

                    2. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                      I know this game too. This is where you try to saddle the discussion with Sarcastro as the arbitrator of truth where nothing presented is "firm enough" to prove the point. You wave your hands and in classic propaganda form accuse the person you are arguing with of the exact crimes you are committing.

                      Maybe you're right, I don't know. But even then your metric of mere quantity is janky.

                      So make an honest argument, but that's not your style is it ?

                    3. You tried that below, Vinni. Didn't work out to well for you, what with the links I provided and how a lot of my points are pointing out fallacies on others' arguments, not making assertions myself.

                      Artifex - you asserted something, and when asked to elaborate provided nothing but rhetorical questions and some questionable political theory. I can't make you do more, but I can point out how weak your factual underpinning is.

          2. If you were to ask a Roman around 200 A.D. who lived a long life if they could remember a better time, their answer would probably be yes and objectively true.

            The past does not necessarily make everything better, but the future does not do this either. Just because time passes does not mean there was "progress" especially in societal terms. Just as many put on rose colored glasses to view the past, you can pull the same trick with talking about how evil and horrible those times were too.

            1. Yes, I remember when I said there were no exceptional generations.

          3. Indeed, I read that comment.
            But your comment tries to make a case beyond a reply as it imples that gays and Muslims in the US were in dire straits.
            Look behind that comment.
            Were Muslims suddenly subject to distrust in the US AFTER 9/11. Yes. Were Japanese and Germans (and Italians) under distrust in the US in the US after Pearl Harbor? Yes.
            Was J Edgar Hoover discriminated against against? No
            In all these cases, so what.
            What are you trying to claim?
            Was Joe, the auto worker or steel worker better off in 2000? Yes.
            No question.
            Is Mary Prettyfeathers better off tody? in so ways, yes, and in some ways, no.
            Are people in the US more or less free today? Wow? hard question if you are brutally honest.

            1. My "measuring stick" for freedom is the amount of government interference I have to tolerate on a day to day basis. There is no disputing it has gone way up in the last 20 years.

              I'm not interested in some amorphous "we are much better off" type statement that is usually made by technocrats who claim that their interventions, policy, and regulation is making society function better. The mark of a free society is not necessarily done on a "better off" scale.

              It is harder to run a business, filing taxes is more complicated, there are more stupid regulations that increase the cost of ownership for many things, adding on to my house now takes additional permits and steps, taxes are higher, schools are overregulated and don't work, and the list goes on and on. We are markedly less free as a people then we were 20 years ago and no one is better off for that.

              1. Yes, there is no disputing what you hold about your life, as an anonymous Internet commenter with a clear axe to grind.

                It's also not very meaningful.

                And looks like you're wrong about taxes:
                https://taxfoundation.org/historical-income-tax-rates-brackets/

                1. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                  Interesting thing about taxes, federal income tax is far from the only tax. What does the individual effective tax rate difference look like? (I have no idea if it supports or refutes Jimmy).

                  1. Federal income tax is the dominant tax expense.

                    I did back my assertion up - Jimmy is full of shit once again.

                    1. That is a disputable point, especially if you do not include FICA and Medicare (which with very few exceptions) have only gone up over the years. For many middle-class homeowners in blue states, property taxes can be the single-biggest tax expense.

                2. Sarc - let me respond to this anonymous internet commenter with some BS that sounds very meaningful and a link to prove it!

                  1. Dude, you said you had no issue with lying because you thought liberals did it all the time.

                    So excuse me if I treat you accordingly.

                    1. That isn't what I said at all. You are now just making stuff up like you usually do.

                      You do realize that overall household tax burden is up over the last 20 years and that taxes come from about half a different sources for most, right? You can't refute that by just dropping a link to one rate that in application is highly variable depending on an individual's tax situation.

                    2. You said you considered lying to be a justified tit for tat considering all the lying liberals in Washington did.

                      Do you want me to dig up the post?

            2. I was providing counterexamples.

              You're just pointing at a bunch of anecdotes to say...what? That there is no coherent way to tell if things are better or worse writ large?
              Just because something isn't quantitative doesn't mean it's not true. See: The McNamara fallacy.

              1. Sarcastr0's anecdotes are better than yours. Thus spake Sarcastr0

                1. Anecdotes work as counterexamples. They do not work to demonstrate trends.

                  I hope this helps.

                  1. The issue of arguing with a slime ball is that they are slimy and will squirm their way out of any kind of argument through doubletalk and deception. That is classic Sarc.

                  2. This is classic how you prove things, if you're interested in the truth.

    3. To this comment the appropriate musical reply is Suzanne Vega's "Last Year's Troubles".

  4. If these kids are attending a typical university these days, they are already seeing the dark side of humanity nearly every lecture.

  5. Personally, I found the rats very upsetting.

  6. Snowflakes in England, apparently.

  7. It's certainly amusing to see the regular right-wingers here who are all behind banning Toni Morrison or 'CRT' books engage in their usual lines here. Fellows, your scripts were changed months ago, you might want to come in again!

    1. "banning Toni Morrison or 'CRT' books"

      If a public school is forbidden from teaching the Bible as part of its curriculum, while leaving students free to read the Bible on their own outside of class, would that mean the Bible was banned? Any right-winger who made such a claim would promptly be fact-checked.

      1. If you were talking about banning study of the Bible as part of a "world religions" class or a "history of literature" class, while retaining other texts like the Bhagavad-Gita, the Koran, and Buddhist Sutras - then, certainly, that would be a "ban," easily recognized as such. Similarly, if there were some kind of campaign to remove every Bible from a school library's shelves.

        1. Establishment Clause issue - pushing some religions at the expense of others - though the issue isn't *precisely* the omission of the Bible so much as the pushing of the other books in a context which indicates they're not exactly being neutral.

          If your hypo constituted a ban, then removing the other scriptures from the curriculum would make the situation worse - but in reality omitting all scriptures (and dropping the class) would *solve* the problem not exacerbate it.

          On "secular" matters, I would hope the school "discriminates," assigning non-racist books and not racist ones, for instance. Nor would I object to a law saying that the curriculum should not teach, *as true,* the contents of racist books. (Teaching a racist book for the purpose of showing why it's wrong would still be OK.)

          And the decision of what level of sexual knowledge and "sophistication" should be included in curricular materials is for those who run the school.

          And if it's a ban to keep *The Clansman* or racist - or sexually explicit - works out of public-school libraries, then OK, I'm for bans.

          1. I don't know why you're talking about the Establishment Clause. You had challenged whether trying to remove Beloved from official school curricula constituted a "ban." I provided an example to help illustrate it would easily be understood as one. Whether or how one might institute a Bible-ban in a constitutionally permissible way is way beside the point.

            I think any school (or teacher, or librarian) should exercise some discretion over the materials they expose their students to. But I think things get constitutionally problematic when states start "banning" material, instruction, or even statements that can be determined only by reference to its content (or, more precisely speaking, to how a certain group of people would interpret its content). That seems like precisely the kind of thing the First Amendment was intended to prohibit, so it's a bit odd to me that Eugene doesn't seem to care at all about this new trend of speech suppression sweeping the country.

            1. If it's a ban to keep bad books out of the curriculum, or even off school library shelves, then you're for bans.

              I am going to assume you would support a "ban" on *The Clansman* and *The Southern Case for School Segregation,* and that you support such a "ban" specifically because of the content.

              1. I am not familiar with those texts.

                I do not support bans, even of ostensibly "racist" (or sexually explicit) books. I think kids need instruction and guidance, when they encounter that kind of material. But I do not view their exposure to it as inherently harmful.

                1. You may have seen the movie version of The Clansman ("Birth of a Nation").

                  The Southern Case for School Segregation is what the title says.

                  I've read other racist books too, like books arguing for antiwhite racial discrimination.

                  1. I wouldn't want *any* of these books assigned in the curriculum to public-school students, by the way, and I wouldn't have liked it as a public-schooler if these books were pushed on me.

                    1. I was an atheist who went to Catholic school. Took a politics class while an avowed "socialist" from a teacher still steeped in Cold War-era boosterism for the "shining city on a hill," etc. Took ethics as a meat-eater with a militant vegan. You would have been fine.

                    2. I would agree that education often doesn't take - or perhaps the student gets a different message from what's intended.

                      Which is hardly the same as saying that those who run the schools should deliberately allow bad* books to be taught. They should teach good books and not teach bad ones.

                      If those running the schools happen to be the voters, this will entail a bit of a debate.

                      *That is, morally bad, in the sense that Birth of a Nation is a bad movie ("but it's a cinematic masterpiece!")

            2. "I don't know why you're talking about the Establishment Clause."

              Because that would be the clause violated by your scenario, according to the Supreme Court's doctrine.

              The problem isn't "OMG they banned the Bible" but "they're preferring some religions over others by their selective assignment of certain scriptures." A problem which could be solved by not assigning other scriptures at all.

              I generally don't interpret "bans" as problems which can be solved with more bans. In other words, your hypo raises different issues from what you think.

          2. Correction:

            "(Teaching a racist book for the purpose of showing why it's wrong would still be OK.)"

            Here I'm not so sure. Depending on the students' developmental stage, a teacher's disclaimers might not efface the effect of being assigned a racist book to read. And hypothetically, assume that a school assigns *The Clansman* or *The Southern Case for School Segregation* with the excuse that they're "teaching the conflict" or what have you, but they don't balance it out with nonracist material - almost as if they are trying (badly) to conceal a sympathy with the doctrines in these books.

            Those scenarios would be wrong too.

    2. CRT shouldn't be studied in taxpayer-subsidized schools because it provides no benefit and teaches students to react to skin color instead of thinking critically, not because it upsets students.

      If people want to study it on their own dime, that's fine.

      1. Yet another opinion on CRT that has nothing to do with CRT.

        CRT is all about "thinking critically." It's in its name, for crying out loud! Critical theory and critical race theory are both ways of looking at our received truths and institutions from a new vantage point. These critical perspectives help us to understand what these "truths" and "institutions" are doing, where they come from, what value they provide, and - crucially - how they might be reformed.

        The idea that they "teach" anyone to feel worse about themselves, due to their race - or whatever the sin du jour is supposed to be - just heaps ignorance upon ignorance. You're taking concepts like "white privilege" and corrupting them by situating them within a moral framework that understands "racism" a certain, limited way. But that's not what "white privilege" (or other comparable concepts and analyses) is supposed to do. No white person needs to feel "guilty" for being white, on the CRT view. They're asked only to acknowledge what is empirically, demonstrably true - which is that being white in a society that has been explicitly white-supremacist for all but the past few decades continues to result in a number of advantages that no white person can really disavow or disclaim.

        And by resisting that - by saying that even uttering that truth harms white students - that is where your actual racism comes through.

        1. "CRT is all about "thinking critically." It's in its name, for crying out loud! Critical theory and critical race theory are both ways of looking at our received truths and institutions from a new vantage point."

          Oh FFS. "Critical" doesn't mean the same thing in critical theory as it does in critical thinking.

          1. You still don't know what CRT is.

            You appear to be using it for 'talking about racism'

            1. You stopped being credible after the tenth time you defined CRT only by saying your opponents are wrong about what it is.

              Why is it that people on your side keep insisting, against what their own documents say, that it's merely an obscure law school idea?

              1. OK, then here is what CRT is: 'the policy status quo favors connected white dudes over others, allowing policies to be discriminatory in implementation without explicit rules.'

                Here is what it is not: 'White people are responsible for everything evil in society and all white people should be considered white supremacists and terrorists while minorities can do nothing wrong.'

                Works for you?

                1. Then why does the left go nuts when somebody passes a law prohibiting public schools from teaching that 'White people are responsible for everything evil in society and all white people should be considered white supremacists and terrorists while minorities can do nothing wrong.'?

                  These anti-CRT laws the left hates don't generally say "You can't teach CRT". They specify that you can't teach the doctrines you're claiming aren't really CRT.

                  1. Because what the bills does and what Republicans (and Democrats) say what the bill does are two different things.

                    You're uncritically taking the GOP view and thinking you have now owned the libs. I encourage you to read some countervailing analysis.

                    1. I actually linked to the text of the bill, Sarcastro. Twice now.

                    2. Good news! I responded to both of those.

        2. So, are white students "asked to acknowledge" their privilege, or do they simply have to listen to the teacher/presenter "utter[] [the] truth" that whites are privileged?

          Can all the U. S. citizen students - regardless of race (because we don't want to single out a particular race for disparate treatment - that would be illegal!) be "asked to acknowledge" the "empirically, demonstrably true" fact Americans have lots of advantages vis-a-vis people in many other places in the world? Although to be sure Americans *can* "disavow or disdain" those privileges by moving abroad and renouncing their citizenship.

          1. Not CRT.

            Not really happening in anything like a widespread manner.

            Also, teaching a true thing: it's better to be white than not in America.

            1. Here's another true thing - the ruling class seems very interested in exploiting racial divisions - is this to distract people of all races from the rogering they're getting from that same ruling class?

          2. "Americans *can* "disavow or disdain" those privileges by moving abroad and renouncing their citizenship."
            They should not do that as the IRS still claims that they will owe the US for taxes in advance on the lifetime of earning.

            Just move aborad to a country without extradition, ignore the IRS letters and don't count on Social security payments

            1. Hmmm...good point.

              OK, let's say they can neither disavow nor disdain the privileges of citizenship!

        3. Talk about fucking boosterism.

          Your worshipful description of CRT as an idealized, sanitized, theoretical, perfect presentation of "facts no one can deny" bears about as much resemblance to what indoctrinated activist teachers are presenting in schools as Genesis does to current understanding of cosmology.

          And the goal is neither moral or societal good, but getting CRT consultants and "teaching programs" paid, and continuing as much strife as they can generate, towards the end of continuing to get paid.

        4. “CRT is about thinking critically”.

          Perhaps the most absurd thing anyone has said this month. Congrats.

        5. "CRT is all about "thinking critically.""

          The idea is fine. The implementations are generally not living up to the ideal. Most proponents of CRT are idiots, and most of the work done by them is obvious nonsense.

          There's no need for the kind of highly polarising debate you're trying to create. CRT has very little value because it is (apparently) almost impossible to use its structures and methods to say anything valuable.

          The things you're ascribing to CRT have nothing to do with it. So you apparently haven't understood it any better than most of its proponents, who are generally rather racist - the 'lifelong anti-racist' kind - themselves. There is something inherently racist in exclusionary pseudo-intellectualism which prevents those talked about from participating in the discussion.

          CRT is actually the use of Marxist dialectical techniques to examine racial disparities as a matter of class. That is not entirely useless, but it is nothing like what you think it is.

          Personally, I find more value in looking at racism as racism, rather than trying to shoehorn it into a structure that is generally agreed to be an intellectual failure. But proponents of CRT find more value in using CRT to tell black people they're too stupid to be involved in anti-racism, and they should leave it to their lighter-skinned 'betters'.

          1. "The idea is fine. The implementations are generally not living up to the ideal."

            That's hardly an accident. The idea that they assert to defend teaching it is just a cover story, the implementations are what is really intended.

        6. "It's in its name, for crying out loud!"

          LOL

          Sir Humphrey Appleby : East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?

          Sir Richard Wharton : Its full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.

          Sir Humphrey Appleby : Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.

          1. Names of bills have legal moment, though. Unlike names of countries.

            But you knew that.

            1. Names of bills are legally meaningless.

              I was mocking simple simon for thinking that a name one gives themself means anything.

            2. No, we know the opposite, actually. Neither has the slightest legal significance.

    3. Nobody is banning so-called “CRT books”. They’re all over the place.

      What people are objecting to is teaching what amounts to a socio-political opinion as fact in schools. A fringy opinion at that. How about we teach the philosophy of, say, Lyndon LaRouche in schools. You down with that? The Eugenics folks?

      1. There are plenty of bills and executive orders claiming to do exactly that.

        I acknowledge when the left is doing some crappy censorious stuff, even if it's not particularly widespread.

        Conservatives should be willing to do the same.

        1. Banning CRT and other racist doctrines from primary schools is not crappy censorship any more than banning religious indoctrination is crappy censorship.

        2. But look at the Mississippi bill. It was protested by Democrats as banning "CRT", but what it actually banned was teaching the inherent superiority and/or inferiority of particular races, and that people should be adversely treated on the basis of their race. Didn't even mention CRT.

          If Democrats are going to attack a bill as banning CRT that does that, doesn't that imply that Democrats think that's what CRT is?

          1. You mean the bill entitled 'Critical Race Theory; Prohibit' and explicitly prohibits the teaching of CRT without defining what it is?

            Yeah, surely the issue was the language you highlighted, and not that it was a vague, censorious mess.

            1. No, I mean the bill that I actually linked to the text of.

              Mississippi Senate Bill 2113

              "AN ACT TO CREATE NEW SECTION 37-13-2, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT NO PUBLIC INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING, COMMUNITY/JUNIOR COLLEGE, SCHOOL DISTRICT OR CHARTER SCHOOL SHALL DIRECT OR COMPEL STUDENTS TO AFFIRM THAT ANY SEX, RACE, ETHNICITY, RELIGION OR NATIONAL ORIGIN IS INHERENTLY SUPERIOR, OR THAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE ADVERSELY TREATED BASED ON SUCH CHARACTERISTICS; TO PROVIDE THAT NO DISTINCTION OR CLASSIFICATION OF STUDENTS SHALL BE MADE ON ACCOUNT OF RACE OTHER THAN THE REQUIRED COLLECTION OR REPORTING OF DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION; TO PROVIDE THAT NO COURSE OF INSTRUCTION SHALL BE TAUGHT THAT AFFIRMS SUCH PRINCIPLES; TO PROVIDE THAT NO FUNDS SHALL BE EXPENDED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ANY ENTITY UNDER THE DEPARTMENT'S JURISDICTION, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, CHARTER SCHOOLS, COMMUNITY/JUNIOR COLLEGES, THE MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD, THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING OR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING FOR ANY PURPOSE THAT WOULD VIOLATE THIS ACT; TO PROVIDE FOR THE SEVERABILITY OF THE ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES."

              It was attacked by Democrats in Mississippi as an anti-CRT bill, and it doesn't even refer to "CRT".

              1. *Bill Title: Critical Race Theory; prohibit.*

                Don't be disingenuous.

                1. So, you're saying the title of the bill matters more than the actual text of it? Are you really going to claim that?

                  I think you're the one being disingenuous here. The bill literally prohibits what you say CRT isn't, so why would anyone object to it? To the extent you were teaching CRT, but not as its foes describe it, the law wouldn't apply!

                  1. I'm saying it matters.

                    That's all I need - that provides plenty of ways for the executive or motivated judges to find all sorts of stuff falls under the bill beyond what you're saying.

                    1. It doesn't matter.

                      "Build Back Better" means nothing but a clumsy alliteration, to give a current example.

    4. Not everything worth reading should be in the school library.

      For instance one of my favorites fiction series is Flashman. It's very educational and historically accurate, but also chock full of gleeful sexism, racism, sexual violence, drunkenness, etc. As the account of a supposed British army officer from the 1840's to 1890's it couldn't be true to it's era if it wasn't.

      And while it wouldn't be totally inappropriate for a high schooler to read, it would be inappropriate in the school library.

      1. The thing is, that's up to the library. Having a plebiscite to filter through the school library is not moving towards a freer society.

        1. Once you've decided you're going to have government run schools and libraries supported by taxes, you've already decided not to be a freer society. This is just an argument about the nature of the deprivation of liberty.

          1. That's fundamentally untrue, Brett. Teachers do not suddenly become oppressive when they work for the state.

            They are professionals like any other.

            When the legislature says screw the experts, here is our explicitly partisan take on what you can and can't teach, that's where things get unfree.

            1. The very fact that the state taxes people to the point where only the wealthy can afford private schools, so that most people have no choice but to use the state's own schools, is oppressive.

              It's no different than if the state taxed us all to the point where most people couldn't afford to buy food, and set up a system of soup kitchens. Sure, they wouldn't be banning cooking at home. They wouldn't NEED to.

              I assure you that I would not have my son in a public school if I could afford to do otherwise, the education he's getting there is in many ways terrible. Especially the way they're teaching math, and the fact that they have this stupid lock step progression for the topics taught; Even the charter school he's in can't violate that, they can offer enrichment besides the state mandated schedule, but actually accelerated learning is off the table.

              1. state taxes people to the point where only the wealthy can afford private schools

                How high do you think state taxes are? There is no support for that statement.

                If you prioritized keeping your child out of public school, you would prioritize differently. Taxes are not the sole cause of that choice.

                1. So, your defense it that they haven't made private schooling impossible, you just have to buckle down and pay twice for your child's education.

                  1. Yes, an educated populace is a public good.

                    1. No.

                      According to the guy who defined the term, public goods are non-rival, non-excludable and non-rejectable. Public education does not satisfy this criteria.

                2. S_O,
                  In CA, beyond a very low threshhold CA state income taxes are over 11% of AGI. That is very high.

                  1. Sure, but that's not the *only cause* of people not sending their kids to private school; that's a ridiculous connection to make, but that is Brett's thesis.

                    1. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                      What other reason do you think is more significant?

                      What do you think would happen if Californians instead received a voucher for school of choice?

                    2. My assertion is that this: the state taxes people to the point where only the wealthy can afford private schools

                      is an assertion that needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

                      School vouchers are bad policy; eating out public school budgets so middle class people on the bubble can make an easier decision.

          2. And while there are public schools and homeschooling, the idea that the existence of public schools is anti-liberty is just totemic libertarianism.

            1. It's not the existence of, it's the funding mechanism, the fact that you must pay for them even if you home school or use a private school.

              Most people can not realistically afford to pay twice for such an expensive thing. Sure, I could afford to send my son to a private school, it would "merely" require me to move to a trailer park.

              1. Public good are a thing that exists, even if you don't believe or understand them.

                1. Indeed, and you don't seem to understand them. Public good has a specific meaning not just as a sarcastrian term.

                  1. Do you deny that public education does not provide a public good?

                    1. Public education is not a public good. What part of non-rival, non-excludable and non-rejectable do you not understand ?

                    2. No, a "public good" is not a good most people in the public consume, even if it's generally beneficial to society that everybody have the good available to them.

                      Education is a classic private good: I benefit from MY education, you benefit from YOUR education, providing you with an education does not educate me, and your not being educated doesn't imply my not being educated. So I am strongly motivated to obtain an education even if I must pay for it myself, and can obtain it without concerning myself with what YOU do in that regard.

                      A public good is something like national defense; I can't live in a country with one, if you live in a country without one, and we both live in the same country; We either both get it, or both lack it. So if you paid for it I could be a free rider.

                    3. Being in a society with an educated public is absolutely a public good. non-rivalrous, non-excludable, the whole works.

                      I benefit from MY education, you benefit from YOUR education, providing you with an education does not educate me
                      Good lord. Being educated helps the people you work with as well. It helps people vote better. Lowers criminality.

                      A similar model to near universal literacy.

                    4. Being in a society with an educated public is absolutely a public good. non-rivalrous, non-excludable, the whole works.

                      This particularly silly goal post shift can't be a public good because "being in a society with an educated public" is a state and not a good or service. The actual service of "public education" is in fact both rival and excludable and is not a public good.

                    5. Literacy is also a private good, in that I can read even if you're illiterate, and visa versa.

                      As Artifex says, "being in" is a state, not a good. You could transform any private good into a public good if "being in" a country where most people had swimming pools made swimming pools a public good.

    5. Mississippi is in the process of banning CRT. In fact, all the black members of the state Senate walked out in protest over it.

      Here's the text of the bill.

      Notice it doesn't ban CRT by name. It bans (government) schools from teaching,

      "(a) That any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior; or

      (b) That individuals should be adversely treated on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin."

      I'm curious which of these you think public schools SHOULD be teaching.

      Mind, I think they might have really walked out over the 2nd clause,

      "(2) No public institution of higher learning, community/junior college, school district or public school, including public charter schools, shall make a distinction or classification of students based on account of race, provided that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the required collection or reporting of demographic information by such schools or institutions."

      But racial discrimination in education is unpopular enough basically everywhere, that they had to pretend their objection was to banning CRT, not banning racial discrimination.

      1. You expect racial supremacists to favor anything that impinges on their grift?

      2. You don't see the room for mischief here? Because I sure do.

        If it is indeed as locked down as the Republicans say, then it's a bill solving a problem that doesn't exist, since they can't seem to point to any actual examples of such teachings.

        1. Then where is the mischief? If there is no teaching this applies to, the bill is without effect.

          1. Which makes one wonder why the GOP is so into passing it.

            Also, there are cannons of interpretation that a law does not have no effect. Again, room for trouble.

            1. Of course the law has an effect in the real world, and the GOP wants it passed for good reason, because your description of CRT as it is actually being taught outside of a few university classes is BS.

              1. Then you would think they could point to examples of this happening in the classroom. Instead, when asked, they talk about teaching about structural racism.

                And if that's what they want to censor, that's bullshit.

                And if it's not, then they should point to the evil they are addressing.

        2. Also, it's interesting that you see room for mischief in explicitly banning the teaching of fundamentally racist doctrines, but don't see it in teaching CRT, even though in practice it often enough in practice involves teaching those fundamentally racist doctrines.

          1. I've explained what CRT is. Other have as well. Did you already forget?

            It is not teaching fundamentally racist doctrines!

            And yet, this bill seems to think it is. Which is trouble. Though I see why you like it.

            1. Your assertion needs to be backed up with more than hand waving.

              1. Happy to? Which assertion specifically?

                1. That CRT isn't really teaching fundamentally racist doctrines, even though they keep getting caught doing that, and object on the basis of CRT being banned when laws that explicitly just ban said teaching are passed.

                  Your motte and bailey are so obvious they're on the historical registry.

                2. Brett, I can't prove a negative.

                  I'd say the burden is on the legislatures that the evil they are addressing is real. This seems a fundamental principle of good (and small) government.

                  1. You can disprove a negative, and the negative here, that CRT isn't taught as disreputable racist doctrines, has been disproven, time after time.

            2. "It is not teaching fundamentally racist doctrines!"

              Its teaching that all facets of America are completely rotten with racism created and continued by whites. So, yes, its a fundamentally racist doctrine.

  8. It is interesting to me that you should feel the need to cite empirical work questioning the value of trigger warnings, without any apparently felt need to empirically support your own pedagogical assertions. But that's not surprising - after all, pretty much the least important job qualification for law professors is any particular experience or expertise in teaching students.

    I have a sibling who, due to some childhood trauma, has an unreasonably visceral reaction to graphic depictions of torture. Because we care about her, those in my family have learned not to recommend films, television shows, or other media to her without warning her of their content (if they should contain graphic depictions of torture). Similarly, I have friends who've been raped or survived emotional domestic abuse. They are hardly, shall we say, ignorant of human evil. They don't necessarily need to be shielded from any possible "triggers," but certainly alerting them to the possibility that they may have unexpectedly strong reactions to media they are consuming "blind" is only the decent thing to do, and doesn't meaningfully risk that they might, somehow, fail to grasp humanity in all its complicated nuance.

    Really, Eugene, this post - and your continuing obsession with the subject - just illustrates your own privilege. You almost seem to celebrate being cruel to students, here. Our students should learn to encounter difficult and traumatizing truths! No one denies it. One only questions the need to lead students to these truths without warning. Maybe trigger warnings aren't effective. Maybe they trend towards being so broad and capacious that they are useless in practice. But they are, if nothing else, an expression of kindness and compassion towards people whose traumas may not be evident to us.

    Eugene says: "No - better to be pointlessly indifferent and cruel."

    1. Isn't the trigger warning rather unspecific to deal with cases like that?

    2. "But they are, if nothing else, an expression of kindness and compassion towards people whose traumas may not be evident to us."

      Paving a road with good intentions does not guarantee a good destination. One needs to look up, get one's bearings, and determine whether the road is going in the intended direction.

    3. 1. I'm always interested in empirical evidence, and cite it when it's available. When it's not, or when it's inconclusive, I also draw inferences in other ways, as I believe most people do.

      2. Here, I'm doing both. It appears from the empirical evidence that I've seen that trigger warnings aren't likely to be practically effective. You're suggesting that they are symbolically beneficial, as "expressions of kindness and compassion." I'm suggesting that they are likely to send harmful messages to students about what they should expect from the study of literature, history, etc., especially given their unsurprising tendency to go from "graphic depictions of torture" (especially visual, as the examples you give suggest) to a vast range of other materials.

    4. If you know a specific person has a specific phobia, it's polite to warn. If you speculate about whether anybody in a large audience has a phobia you end up in Proposition 65 land. Slap a label on everything and feel better while accomplishing nothing.

      In my life the only time I saw somebody have a bad reaction to a movie it was a movie she had picked out.

  9. Put stickers on the books like the "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" labels.

    "CONSUMER ADVISORY: This book contains nasty violent scenes. We mean, really nasty. Did we mention the sex?"

  10. College students, who are adults, already know that some subjects are upsetting, they don't need to be warned.

    Getting upset is part of life, it happens to everybody.

    1. No, it is clearly wrong that some people are upset, just as it is wrong that some people are in a demographic minority, neuro-atypical, fat, weak, stupid, fragile, neurotic and so on. And Simon will insist that the world be remade so that they are never made to feel bad again.

      Of course, that is exaggeration bordering on misrepresentation. Which is not too different from what he is doing with his virtue-washed glorification of what is being done by his social justice cult.
      It is anti-social, not justice and is making the country worse for everybody. And now I suppose it's time for him to break out his oh-so-sophisticated rationalizations, invented villains and virtue signals.

    2. It is intellectually slack to assume away trauma inflicted on people whose confidence in society's protection is gone. I refer to incidents when rules for protection of persons went away, and unlucky people received (or inflicted) the consequences full strength.

      That is what you do, TwelveInch, when you assume someone who suffers PTSD is a person like you, except not tough enough. EV is doing it too.

      Were either of you there at My Lai, obeying the orders of Lieutenant Calley? If so, I not only apologize for mis-estimating your experience, but also look forward to your insights. Why not use that as an example to explain to opponents of trigger warnings how easy it is to escape lasting trauma from such incidents?

      1. How many orders did you refuse at My Lai?

        How many college students are legitimately diagnosed with PTSD? How many of those are helped by vague trigger warnings about any potentially objectionable content?

  11. From my perspective trigger warnings are stupid.

    When I was in school if someone said your shouldn't read this book, then I went and got a copy. Usually I was disappointed with the contents of the book.

    I also find that the warnings are generally rooted in the beliefs of the people making the warnings.

    1. Which would be understandable, and acceptable, unless the recommending person has the power of an increasingly authoritarian state behind their opinions. THEN we see people (convinced to the core of their own virtue) who believe you have the right...to behave as they require, and the freedom to agree with those opinions, which in this hypothetical circumstance, you will find to have somehow transmogrified into inarguable, government-issued facts.

    2. Like "frequently asked questions" lists these days are usually proclamations from marketing rather than questions any human being thought to ask.

  12. If you don't find 1984 triggering there is something wrong with you.

    I remember a few years back when my then high school son and I were down at my cabin for a week. So I pulled out my American Anthology of Short Stories and assigned him to read "The Lottery".

    My son found it triggering, he said "what kind of a F'ed up story is that?" Damn right its triggering.

    But on the other hand Animal Farm is an innocent fantasy about animals.

    1. Have him read "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" for some fucked up parable-ish stuff. (It's Ursula LeGuin, btw, as perfectly progressive as can be found)

      1. I'm kind of at a loss for how that would work, functionally. The best I could come up with would be something like the Star Trek episode, "Spock's Brain".

    2. What exactly do you mean by "triggering", when you say this? I found the events depicted unpleasant, but being aware that I was reading a book, not personally experiencing them, I certainly didn't have any visceral experience, it was purely intellectual.

    3. Merthinks you are using "triggering" differently that it is used today. Is 1984 disturbing? Of course, it was meant to be, and should be. If you don't find it disturbing, then you need psychological help.

      "Triggering" means that you are so affected by it, that you turn irrational, and you therefore must avoid reading the book. The notion that a normal college-age student is so fragile that he or she cannot read the book is absurd. Not a good sign of where our culture is going.

    4. Animal Farm is the better book too.

  13. The Leftists have always been the bullying, censorious harridans they've accused conservatives of being. It is quite literally all projection. I'm old enough to remember Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center.

    1. I think censoriousness and the jolly pastime of poisoning the minds of children with dogma and mob thinking are among the few things where the equivalence between the sides is not false at all.

      That and the fact that both sides are being played by the Davos crowd. (it seems, at least to this one-time conspiracy debunker)

      1. International Bankers, eh?

        1. International bankers would be the Bilderberger Group, not Davos. The World Economic Forum (Davos) members are mostly huge companies and government insiders: Bill Gates, Carlos Ghosn, The Andrew Formerly Known As Prince, Marc Benioff, Jack Ma, Al Gore, etc.

  14. I'm waiting for them to put trigger warnings on FAHRENHEIT 451, and "Welcome to the Monkey House".

    1. Do kids these days read "Harrison Bergeron"?

      1. Yes, at least in South Carolina.

  15. Intellectual and cultural coddling will only enable the inability of students/ people to be productive citizens in the world.

    1. It's widely assumed in 'elite' circles that we're facing a future where most people will be incapable of doing anything economically productive, on account of the advance of automation overtaking all the tasks they're capable of learning. That's what is behind the push for a Universal Basic Income, for instance.

      So the proles don't actually need to be productive citizens in the world. They need to be politically reliable voters, instead, accepting of a high level of political indoctrination and monitoring for wrongthink.

      In this worldview, most of the current population is surplus, which is why they're not terribly concerned about crashing reproduction rates; It helps reduce the need for active culling of the unproductive.

      As dark as the world of 1984 was, it was predicated on the masses actually being needed. It would have been much darker if Big Brother hadn't thought that most of the population was necessary.

  16. I have a Blues Traveler lyric stuck in my head now:

    Like a nervous magician waiting in the wings
    Of a bad play where the heroes are right
    And nobody thinks or expects too much
    And Hollywood's calling for the movie rights

  17. That recent 2A opinion from Judge VanDyke (his faux-pinion) should have come with a trigger warning. 🙂

  18. ***WARNING TRIGGER ALERT***
    To potential watchers of The Partridge Family (1971-75).
    During season 1, episode 23 "Not with My Sister, You Don't", Laurie Partridge goes out on a date with a new boy in school to Muldoon's Point!! Keith and Danny learn the new boy has a reputation as an 'ladies man' and go out to Muldoon's Point to intervene. The date is ruined and Laurie is not amused. She later goes on a second date with the new boy only to learn that there may be something to his reputation. Keith and Danny are partially vindicated but to what extent is never made clear. Sensitive viewers may find the subject matter of ladies men alarming and should moderate their viewing habits accordingly.

    1. I find the notion of a musical band named after a game bird to be triggering.

    2. I watched the series and was probably too young to get all the sexual implications. You may have just ruined my childhood. I should have respected the trigger alert.

  19. Why wasn't I trigger-warned when I was in college in the 60's and 70's? Now I feel cheated having read MOBY DICK, HUCK FINN, MADAME BOVARY, LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL; GOODBYE, COLUMBUS; ANIMAL FARM, 1984, QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY, A PASSAGE TO INDIA, THE END OF THE AFFAIR, THE PAINTED VEIL, GOD'S LITTLE ACRE, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES, COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, and most of the Dickens novels including BLEAK HOUSE and OLIVER TWIST. I still have flashbacks and weird dreams. I'm surprised to be still, at 77, sane. I hate to admit it but I also read from Homer, Ovid, Swift, Proust, Dostoevsky, Whitman, Boswell, Johnson, Robert Burns, John Cleland, Flannery O'Connor, James Joyce, Kipling, Harper Lee, and everything I could find by Henry Miller.

    1. Shamie, I commend you on maintaining your sanity, despite having read all those triggering works (what we used to call the classics). 🙂

      Horror of horrors, I also read Torah (in addition to your list). 🙂

      1. Bless you, my friend. Now that you have brought up the Torah, I believe I should trigger myself by reading in it. I certainly got triggered by reading in the King James Bible, particularly in those passages in the Old Testament such as Lot having carnal knowledge of his daughters, Midrash and Agaddah, the shocking story of "Susanna and the Elders," and King Solomon writing lusty and erotic poetry in the Song of Solomon. The Bible is great to read in, as Mark Twain warned in one of my fave books, _Letters from the Earth_ if you're curious about various erotica and wish to be triggered.

  20. Always great to watch a bunch of conservatives rant about range of expression at strong liberal-libertarian schools while ignoring the point that every campus conservatives control becomes a censorship-shackled, nonsense-teaching, science-disdaining, low-quality goober factory.

    Carry on, clingers . . . jump a little higher, and you might just nip your betters' ankles occasionally. Just watch Prof. Volokh -- he periodically reaches an ankle or two -- for inspiration.

    1. Parson Artie, wth are you squatching about now, you ol' stunted sasquatch?

Please to post comments