"Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as 'trigger warnings,' explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans," the New York Times reports.
The Times notes that the warnings "have their ideological roots in feminist thought." At first glance this looks like just the latest politically correct excess, but it's distinct in some ways. For one, the faculty is resisting: "The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate." Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, tells the paper: "Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom. . . . The presumption . . . that students should not be forced to deal with something that makes them uncomfortable is absurd or even dangerous."  (Z:  Bravo, Lisa)
Students have demanded trigger warnings at Oberlin College, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan and George Washington University as well as UCSB. The Times reproduces an excerpt from an Oberlin "draft guide," which reads: "Triggers are not only relevant to sexual misconduct, but also to anything that might cause trauma. Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other Issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand." ("Cissexism" refers to prejudice in favor of men and women who identify themselves, respectively, as men and women.)  (Z;  WHAT?)
In a recent piece for The New Republic, Jenny Jarvie writes that "some consider [trigger warnings] an irksome tic of the blogosphere's most hypersensitive fringes." They started "in self-help and feminist forums to help readers who might have post traumatic stress disorder to avoid graphic content that might cause painful memories, flashbacks, or panic attacks." They've "been applied to topics as diverse as sex, pregnancy, addiction, bullying, suicide, sizeism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, slut shaming, victim-blaming, alcohol, blood, insects, small holes, and animals in wigs. . . . Even The New Republic"--actually a TNR writer named Molly Redden--"has suggested the satirical news site, The Onion, carry trigger warnings."  (Z: 'slut shaming?'  what, we don't want to shame sluts?)
But trigger warnings have come in for criticism and mockery even on the left. Jarvie concludes her piece with this sensible observation: "Bending the world to accommodate our personal frailties does not help us overcome them." She reports that the feminist website Jezebel, "which does not issue trigger warnings, raised hackles in August by using the term as a headline joke: 'It's Time To Talk About Bug Infestations [TRIGGER WARNING].' " And Susannah Breslin provoked outrage in 2010 when she "wrote in True/Slant that feminists were applying the term 'like a Southern cook applies Pam cooking spray to an overused nonstick frying pan.' "
The Times reports that targets of campus trigger-warning demands include F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" (for "a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence"), Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (anti-Semitism) and Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" (suicide).
Here's what this reminds us of: "Rated R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout." That's the Motion Picture Association of America's warning for the 2012 film "Spring Breakers." Or how about this: "Rating Category: M. Content Descriptors: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Violence." That's the Entertainment Software Rating Board's evaluation of "South Park: The Stick of Truth," which the ESRB helpfully explains "is a role-playing adventure game based on the animated South Park TV show."
There are similar rating systems for television programs (the TV Parental Guidelines) and popular music (the Recording Industry Association of America's Parental Advisory Label, or 'Pal,' program). (This column, published as it is by a family newspaper, will occasionally include a warning when linking to an external website that contains family-unfriendly content.)
The MPAA, ESRB, TV Parental Guidelines and RIAA warnings are all designed to strike a balance between freedom of expression and parents' interest in shielding their children from the fouler aspects of popular culture. For the most part free expression wins out, especially in the Internet age, as it generally requires enormous effort to prevent a determined adolescent from gaining access to "adult" material. And the law isn't of much help: In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law restricting the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors.
Still, efforts at establishing such warning systems have occasioned free-speech controversies, most notably in 1985 when the Parents Music Resource Center, led by Tipper Gore, called for warning labels on record albums with explicit lyrics. It was a bipartisan effort--Gore, a Democrat, was joined by Susan Baker, wife of then-Secretary of State James Baker--but it drew wide derision from pop musicians and the left. In 1992, the Associated Press reported, vice presidential candidate Al Gore "fielded questions from an MTV audience" of college students about his wife's efforts and was put on the defensive: "He said neither he nor she supported censorship."
In those days, "mature" content held a certain allure for teenagers and young adults. By contrast, it would seem that today's young adults are anxious to be infantilized.  (END OF ARTICLE)
So, even some professors  find this ridiculous....happy days!   GOOD THINKING!

But, really?  Kids are afraid of triggers related to the points above in literature but don't mind watching Miley Cyrus or some of the music videos that we know are out there?  Or  how about the many really violent films full of gratuitous and sometimes violent sex and murder, too?  Is it only in the classics in literature they're offended?  

What do you think.... How can we have a strong country with kids who need TRIGGERS in literature?  This is not that widespread, I'm sure, but add this to incidents like not allowing pictures to be taken with camels on HUMP DAY (Wednesday) because it might insult muslims, etc etc.........(by the way, why would it be considered RACIST against Arabs?  Why not interpret it as celebrating Arabs with camels? :-)......are we REAL anymore?

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." Ray Bradbury.