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(1) Cool and (2) Srsly???

The cool: The HTML5 Gendered Advertising Remixer. Drag and drop to mix audio and video from heavily boy-targeted and girl-targeted toy ads to see how ridiculous they both are. It's quite funny. I was particularly amused by overlaying the audio for Tonka Garage with the video for Betty Spaghetti.

The srsly?????: We all know about "trigger" warnings; fanfic has had them for ages as a courtesy to its reader. But it's really too much when college students demand trigger warnings on their syllabi.

This boggles my mind.

I'm not at all against trigger warnings in fanfic -- after all, fanfic is known for pushing the envelope in a lot of ways. But fanfic is, when all is said and done, a hobby. A thing you do on your own time, for your own reasons, in which you are free to seek out or avoid anything you like, from SSHG to Giant Squid + Hagrid.

The entire point of college, on the other hand, is (or should be) to expose you to new things, things you don't know about, things that make you think, and yes, even things that might make you uncomfortable. Because real life has those things. It's meant to spur dialog, critical thinking, analysis -- none of which are possible if the only things you look at are things that make you feel good. Because real life demands those abilities. And most importantly, it's meant to be a bridge between your (usually protected) childhood and the (often unpleasant) real world. Because yes, hon, you will encounter things that may be hard for you in Real Life.

As The New Republic pointed out, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s brilliant novel about the great harms of colonialism, Things Fall Apart, now carries the warning that it “may trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, and religious persecution, violence, suicide, and more.”

If we allow students to opt out of things that they assume or imagine might upset them, or that they just plain fear, it seems to me we are doing them a disservice.

Thoughts?

Comments

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shiv5468
Apr. 10th, 2014 06:04 am (UTC)
Oh rolls eyes. Poor Ickle snowflakes
delphipsmith
Apr. 15th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
I know, right? ::pets poor helpless first years::
lady_of_clunn
Apr. 10th, 2014 11:02 am (UTC)
If you chose the right subject you might be able to graduate without ever reading anything or doing any work because the material is not ivory tower compatible...

Now I feel like seeking out some Giant Squid/Hagrid material. With lots of tentacles.
delphipsmith
Apr. 15th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC)
LOL! You go, girl :)
ladyoneill
Apr. 10th, 2014 02:00 pm (UTC)
Totally agree. I don't even like warning for triggers in fanfic, mostly because since I don't have any, I fail completely to recognize them in my own work! I do warn for rape and major character death and abortion but that's about it. I can't be fussed if a character of mine smokes a joint and that triggers someone. I feel like putting some huge ass disclaimer over all my fics like that nurse did in the article in her head. "If you read this you may encounter..." and list a hundred items.

Maybe I'm just old.

I sent this to my dad in academia--probably a good thing he's retiring. He probably won't be allowed to teach the horrors of the gas chambers in his WWII class in a couple years.
delphipsmith
Apr. 15th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, because IGNORING upsetting things is SO HELPFUL. The mantra of horrible things humanity has done, like the Holocaust, has always been never to forget so that we never repeat it -- well, what are the chances we'll remember if we never talk about it?? Makes me want to smack them upside their self-indulgent entitled heads.
(Deleted comment)
delphipsmith
Apr. 15th, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
I don't know how you would expand your horizons if you were in control of your intake, especially since being self-aware and fair/honest in your self-assessment is, um, HARD for the average human being.

Exactly! And yes, there is no way to predict what may or may not upset people. Personally I'm upset when people add stupid skater-boy scenes to classic fantasy (I'm looking at you, Peter Jackson) but am I going to go all emo about it?
iulia_linnea
Apr. 11th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC)
As a nurse in Kingston put it: “I am going to prepare a trigger warning for myself and recite it before every shift at the hospital. ‘Warning: death, puke, poop, phlegm, bile, pus, sweat, family discord, malingering, violence, belligerence, fear, withdrawal…’ Thank goodness there are people like me who face the real world and just get on with it.”

That sums up my feelings pretty well. It also reminds me of a friend who quit drinking and insisted, after we'd shown her nothing but support and spent loads of time with her in places unrelated to alcohol, that we stop going to our local bar every Friday night (which was a tradition of some years amongst us) because she no longer felt comfortable there and wouldn't be able to join us. I was forced to remind her, gently but firmly, that the world didn't revolve around her.

Someone really needs to remind explain this truth to the warning-desirous and the idiots who kowtow to them before life bites them in the ass and they find themselves ill-equipped to deal with it. Academic discourse is based on examination and confrontation, and not all the subjects are pretty. The economy must really be bad for such pandering to have achieved a foothold.

Edited at 2014-04-11 03:47 am (UTC)
delphipsmith
Apr. 15th, 2014 04:53 am (UTC)
Precisely. Life isn't pretty or fair; the sooner you come to grips with that, the better off (and less constantly disappointed) you will be.
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