Trigger warning
Posted: 02 November 2017 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Ubiquitous now in these over-sensitive times but when did the phrase first appear? OED is silent on it.

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Posted: 02 November 2017 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Big List

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Posted: 02 November 2017 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Other people always seem over-sensitive, whereas one’s own problems are taken with exactly appropriate seriousness by oneself.  (Or: I have a proper regard for what is due me, you are oversensitive, he is a whiny bastard.)

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Posted: 02 November 2017 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Previous thread on this topic
http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/4763/

Also mentioned in the WOTY thread
http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/4852/

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Posted: 03 November 2017 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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languagehat - 02 November 2017 05:00 AM

Other people always seem over-sensitive, whereas one’s own problems are taken with exactly appropriate seriousness by oneself.  (Or: I have a proper regard for what is due me, you are oversensitive, he is a whiny bastard.)

Perhaps so but previous ages didn’t need trigger warnings to protect them from the big bad world. But I’m getting into politics here so I’ll desist. Thanks for pointing me to the List, Dave, I hadn’t realized there was an entry there.

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Posted: 03 November 2017 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Perhaps so but previous ages didn’t need trigger warnings to protect them from the big bad world.

Actually, they did need them, but they were ignored and allowed to suffer in silence. Veterans, for example, triggered by images and accounts of violence, were economically marginalized or even became homeless. The conditions that create the need for trigger warnings aren’t new, our recognition of them is.

And trigger warnings are simply that, warnings to allow the person to mentally prepare to receive the material, so they are not caught unawares, or if it is an option (not usually the case in a school setting) to avoid seeing or reading the material. We have trigger warnings on movies, TV shows, video games, podcasts; almost every form of media routinely carries them. I routinely issue them in my classes when I cover material that deals with violence, especially sexual assault and rape. They’re a simple and effective courtesy that harm no one and help those who have suffered trauma to effectively function in the world.

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Posted: 03 November 2017 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Perhaps so but previous ages didn’t need trigger warnings to protect them from the big bad world.

What Dave said (thanks, Dave!).  If one doesn’t need trigger warnings oneself, of course, they’re easy to mock.

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Posted: 03 November 2017 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Wasn’t there a vaudeville bit about a guy being triggered by the phrase “Niagara Falls”?  I remember the Three Stooges using it at least once, but I think I encountered it elsewhere, too.

Edit: In fact, Wikipedia has an article about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slowly_I_Turned

The triggering phrase was not always “Niagara Falls”.

[ Edited: 03 November 2017 11:27 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 03 November 2017 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dave Wilton - 03 November 2017 04:39 AM

Perhaps so but previous ages didn’t need trigger warnings to protect them from the big bad world.

Actually, they did need them, but they were ignored and allowed to suffer in silence.

That’s a very broad statement, and a subjective opinion. I wouldn’t conflate students with veterans. The majority of students have not been exposed to the stress of fighting in a war.

There’s no evidence that trigger warnings are helpful and there might be evidence that in actuality they might be harmful.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

Some of these warnings involve outright censorship, and let’s be honest before they get to college these students are exposed to all sorts of sex, violence and deviant behaviour on the Internet, on TV and at the movies.  It seems incredulous that they would be truly shocked by something they experience in a college classroom. At Wellesley College students used the trigger warning concept to object to the statue of an underwear-clad man; it triggered thoughts of sexual assault. I would classify that as a silly trigger warning.  I understand that specific trigger warnings might be helpful for some students, but overall to coddle students with such minutiae is not going to prepare them for the trials and tribulations of life.

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Posted: 04 November 2017 01:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Logophile - 03 November 2017 06:47 PM

The majority of students have not been exposed to the stress of fighting in a war.

Right, and the majority of students don’t require trigger warnings. It’s for a minority that have experienced trauma.

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Posted: 04 November 2017 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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And somewhere around 20% of female students have experienced some form sexual assault or rape, and nearly all have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

So much of this is overblown hyperbole in the press (including the Atlantic piece with conflates racial microagressions with trigger warnings) that repeat ad nauseum the same handful of incidents where people (usually undergraduates) have taken the idea of trigger warnings too far and demanded that they allowed to skip required course material (which inevitably resulted in the university refusing to honor the absurd request). A survey of US universities found that less than five percent had any kind of policy on trigger warnings at all and none required them. They’re simply devices used by individual professors as a courtesy to students.

As for the chilling effect on material in classes, I see that as professors being forced to reflect on the material they’re covering. That’s a good thing. It happened to me with one of the poems I taught in a class at Toronto, Aphra Behn’s “The Disappointment.” It depicts a sexual encounter between a man and a woman that is traditionally interpreted as consensual, but which can easily be read as a rape. I didn’t stop teaching it, but I did alter the way I taught it to acknowledge (and warn) that it might be disturbing to some and, perhaps more importantly, to open up a new way to look at the poem.

And rather than coddling students, such warnings better prepare them to receive the material. In a case where material may simply be upsetting, rather than truly triggering psychological trauma, warning the students allows them to read it it critically, rather than having their gut reaction overwhelm them and think of nothing else. “Spoilers” have been shown to improve comprehension and retention of material.

The whole trigger warning thing is a classic case of the press having an easy and familiar narrative ("those lazy and spoiled kids these days") that they can shoehorn a story into with minimal reporting.

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Posted: 04 November 2017 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks again, Dave.  I appreciate your being there to discuss these matters in a calm, rational way that I have difficulty mustering up when confronting lazy dismissals of other people’s trauma.

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Posted: 04 November 2017 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dave Wilton - 04 November 2017 05:26 AM

And somewhere around 20% of female students have experienced some form sexual assault or rape, and nearly all have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

So much of this is overblown hyperbole in the press (including the Atlantic piece with conflates racial microagressions with trigger warnings) that repeat ad nauseum the same handful of incidents where people (usually undergraduates) have taken the idea of trigger warnings too far and demanded that they allowed to skip required course material (which inevitably resulted in the university refusing to honor the absurd request). A survey of US universities found that less than five percent had any kind of policy on trigger warnings at all and none required them. They’re simply devices used by individual professors as a courtesy to students.

As for the chilling effect on material in classes, I see that as professors being forced to reflect on the material they’re covering. That’s a good thing. It happened to me with one of the poems I taught in a class at Toronto, Aphra Behn’s “The Disappointment.” It depicts a sexual encounter between a man and a woman that is traditionally interpreted as consensual, but which can easily be read as a rape. I didn’t stop teaching it, but I did alter the way I taught it to acknowledge (and warn) that it might be disturbing to some and, perhaps more importantly, to open up a new way to look at the poem.

And rather than coddling students, such warnings better prepare them to receive the material. In a case where material may simply be upsetting, rather than truly triggering psychological trauma, warning the students allows them to read it it critically, rather than having their gut reaction overwhelm them and think of nothing else. “Spoilers” have been shown to improve comprehension and retention of material.

The whole trigger warning thing is a classic case of the press having an easy and familiar narrative ("those lazy and spoiled kids these days") that they can shoehorn a story into with minimal reporting.

There are two arguments here and this is not the forum to get into this kind of a debate.

[ Edited: 04 November 2017 09:04 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 06 November 2017 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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So much of this is overblown hyperbole in the press (including the Atlantic piece with conflates racial microagressions with trigger warnings) that repeat ad nauseum the same handful of incidents where people (usually undergraduates) have taken the idea of trigger warnings too far and demanded that they allowed to skip required course material (which inevitably resulted in the university refusing to honor the absurd request). A survey of US universities found that less than five percent had any kind of policy on trigger warnings at all and none required them. They’re simply devices used by individual professors as a courtesy to students.

Not always, though. This was reported in The (London) Times on 17 January last:

The University of Glasgow — like many other universities — issues “trigger warnings” to undergraduates before classes or lectures whose content they may find distressing.

Documents released under Freedom of Information legislation reveal students at the School of Medicine are given such a warning before they take part in a Communication Skills Breaking Bad News/Bereavement role play session. The documents show that “if any students feel they would struggle with the session or are affected by it then they should speak to a member of staff”.

It adds: “They are under no obligation to undertake that particular role play.”

Mita Dhullipala, who chairs the British Medical Association Scotland’s medical students committee, said that on occasions, such as a student having recently suffered a bereavement, such optouts were appropriate.

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