Tag: Trigger Warnings

Begone, Harmful Language!

 

Having cataloged and re-cataloged their stashes ten times over, and apparently lacking anything better to do, America’s archivists and librarians have found a new shiny bauble to be distracted by: combing through the accumulated detritus under their care in search of “offensive” or “harmful” language. The old card catalog in aisle 32B uses the term “colored person” rather than “person of color”? Say it isn’t so! Colonel Ellsworth Pratt of the 14th Battalion said something unkind about women in a letter to Lieutenant Roger Drake of the 15th Infantry Regiment? Oh, the horror! We must warn the poor dears! Amid the general wokification of 2020 and 2021, archives across the land quietly updated their websites with groveling “statements” apologizing for the sexism, racism, ableism, colonialism, trans erasure, xenophobia, queerphobia, fatphobia, islamophobia, arachnophobia, and sesquipedalophobia of their collections. “We must do better!” shriek the hostage statements in unison. It seems there isn’t an institution that hasn’t jumped on this bandwagon. Not even good-old Hoover:

Our collections deal in subjects that encompass a broad range of human experiences, including tyranny, genocide, displacement, and political conflict. To engage with our materials is to acknowledge that one may encounter content that reflects racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of hatred and discrimination. In keeping with our mission, we believe that only through the retention and study of historical sources can the world hope to learn from its past mistakes and promote peace.

Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the US Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety

 

Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety“In America we say if anyone gets hurt, we will ban it for everyone everywhere for all time. And before we know it, everything is banned.” — Professor Jonathan Haidt

It’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”

Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.

Green Shoots in the Cultural Wasteland at CBS?

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bd/CBS_Eyemark.svg/768px-CBS_Eyemark.svg.pngIn the midst of college students and Democratic politicians behaving badly, might there be signs of second thoughts by more responsible, more moderate leaders? Cop shows have been used to make progressive political points for years. Episodes on two CBS shows this January featured messages that seemed quite out of synch with the dominant narrative. Are these green shoots in the cultural wasteland?

A recent Blue Bloods (CBS) episode, “Disrupted,” had Tom Selleck, as Frank Reagan, delivering a speech from the head of the family dinner table against the transmission of campus behavior into general society; he called it destructive. I was astonished to hear this full-throated defense of civil society on a major broadcast network.

At about the same time, another CBS property, FBI, “A New Dawn,” had an aging radical professor as the villain, comparing him to Osama Bin Laden manipulating his young college students to behave like jihadis. The hero FBI characters used those terms. On CBS. Further, when an agent expressed her progressive disgust with the “alt-right provocateur” victim, the female FBI supervisor corrected the agent, saying the agency does not do politics and must defend free expression, even when speech is disagreeable.

Member Post

 

I went to see my nephew’s Senior recital this evening, at a small venue in the University Performing Arts Center.  In the main theater, those crazy drama kids were having a show!  Here was the notice posted at the entrance: Here’s a little quiz for you theatre buffs: Preview Open

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Richard Epstein looks at how attempts to suppress conservative speakers on college campuses intersects with the First Amendment, and calls on 50 years of experience as a university professor to diagnose how liberal activism has changed over the years.

Member Post

 

I participate regularly – several posts or comments per day – in a private, invitation-only Facebook group about movies. While I’ve heard horror stories about the oppressive political correctness of other Facebook groups, this one has practically non-existent (libertarian-leaning) moderators. With rare exceptions, everyone behaves well and gets along, and there is rarely any tension […]

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Victor Davis Hanson looks at how the Left’s rhetoric on the environment, immigration, and higher education have become increasingly divorced from reality.

Richard Epstein looks at recent on-campus controversies involving Charles Murray and Milo Yiannopoulos and examines what can be done about the increasingly hostile environment in American higher education.

Victor Davis Hanson describes how higher education and the media have eroded — and provides recommendations for reforming each.

Victor Davis Hanson explores the tensions between technological progress and cultural vitality.

Member Post

 

Not even Ralph Nader can stand the current generation of sissified man-boys, and he is their grandfather. “You see it on campuses—what is it called, trigger warnings? It’s gotten absurd. I mean, you repress people, you engage in anger, and what you do is turn people into skins that are blistered by moonbeams. Young men […]

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Member Post

 

A colleague at one of the NASA research centers sent me a news item on their Diversity Day. The article was for internal consumption only so I hesitate to post it here, but I think it’s fair to quote some excerpts with my comments. I noted there were several microaggressions in the Diversity Day news […]

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De-sensitivity Training Is Needed on College Campuses

 

shutterstock_141765202The NYT ran an op-ed over the weekend called “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas.”  In essence, it details all the ways that colleges and college students have been contorting their intellectual environments to make their campuses “safe” for people who find offensive ideas to be “dangerous.”  To me, it appears painfully obvious that a movement toward letting the most offended members obtain a heckler’s veto on speech is a terrible idea. As the author puts it:

Still, it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals … This new bureaucracy may be exacerbating students’ “self-infantilization[.]”

From my view, you are an adult once you go to college. You may not have the full complement of responsibilities that attend adulthood, but you are a man or a woman, and should start to be integrated into the world as such. This means that you cannot bend the world to your will, and that you accept that some people have ideas that you find offensive. But to equate “offensive” with being “unsafe” — on the grounds that they both make one feel bad — is a dangerous false equivalence.