April 08, 2014

Warrning: contains trigger alerts

I guess I should go "meta" with this, noting that this blog post has further trigger alerts inside that of the header.

And, if you're worried about trigger alerts, I guess I should make a trigger alert out of that. And, should probably go "meta" about that, too.

What ... er ... triggered this deep concern of mine?

The photo at left, which is about CuriOdyssey (cute name) and was blogged about by Gnu Atheist leading light Jerry Coyne, to me highlights the Absurdistan in which "trigger alerts" generally dwell. Specifically, the bottom line is what's concerning to me.

In the back of my mind, for some time, I've thought about posting a "trigger alert" of some sort on every blog post I do about the "social justice warriors" movement, most notably its Atheism Plus incarnation. Warning: Atheism Plus blog tag link may trigger light-headed dysintellectualism.

As for Coyne, I don't know how much he, like biologist and Gnu Atheist buddy P.Z. Myers, dips at least a bit into the SJW angle, but this blog post of his gave me a good entree to the subject in general.

That all said, how and why have trigger alerts entered Absurdistan?

First, they're often about such minor issues as to trivialize the whole idea of trigger alerts. We probably haven't plumbed the depths yet, though. I'm still waiting for a blog post about "gluten sensitivity" to have a trigger alert like this: "Warning — this blog post contains a picture of bread; this could cause a psychosomatic reaction in people with gluten sensitivity." Or, per the photo ...

Second, they presume that all (sexual abuse, rape, war combat) survivors, if that's the target audience, will react the same to the material at hand. Related to that, amongst the more tribalist of social justice warriors, they assume that all members of the target audience SHOULD react in the same way. And, that's simply not true.

The worst iterations of that way of thought perpetuate stereotypes. And, since SJWs are supposed to be about deflating stereotypes as part of their work, that's another reason for them to stop.

Until we get to that point, though? (That's if we ever do, of course.)

We need more of those "trigger alerts," to finish trivializing the fair degree of trivialization that "Trigger alert" has already been put through. To riff on Paul Harvey? "Stand by for trigger alerts!"

Beyond that, some potential triggers are GOOD, even if gruesome.

Let's take war coverage in the American mainstream media. Photo and video coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have generally been much less graphic than, say, Vietnam. When graphic injuries and death have been displayed, it's always been about American soldiers. Doorknob forbid we show body splatter after a Predator drone hits an innocent Afghan wedding party.

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