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April 1, 2020

The Great Triggering

The Great Triggering
“Hard times create strong men.
Strong men create good times.
Good times create weak men.
And, weak men create hard times.”

— G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain

We have had it very well here in the United States recently.  As the phrase above points out, in the good times we start to squabble over very petty things - things that in the grand scheme of things are very minor.  Things that we can only argue about in good times when we don't have to have steeled wills to deal with hard times.

Until the outbreak of the Corona virus, one of the things that seemed to hit the airwaves on a regular basis was a talk about trigger warnings.

Trigger warnings have been applied to anything and everything from college courses, classic literature, blog articles, podcasts, lectures, tv shows, t-shirts,  and even comedians.  In short it is applied to anything that contains potentially distressing material.

The broad use of trigger warnings have been used for both legitimate and illegitimate uses.  Classic literature books such as The Great Gatsby have been lobbied to have trigger warnings added to them due to violence contained in the book.  Law schools have had serious conversations after a few years ago a student asked to be excused from the curriculum due to the conversation around rape law being triggering for them.  They didn't want to have to deal with the emotional stress that potentially could be surfaced from the material.  Students have set up safe spaces outside of lecture halls when a guest lecturer comes in and has opinions which they oppose.

And on and on it goes.

During the good times, it was easy to argue and slap trigger warnings on everything.  Now that we live in a world where we see life being a little harder due to the Covid-19 disease (not virus - its the Sars-Cov-V2 virus the disease is Covid-19) the talk of trigger warnings seems to all but disappeared.  We have moved, in a way, from the good times to slightly hard times.  We are in the phrase of steeling our wills and becoming hard people again.

This conversation that we had this week was recorded before any of the stay in place orders were put in place - and at that time triggering was something that was still being talked about on a regular basis.  We talked about our own thoughts and opinions on people being triggered over various things - including what should we do if our job (for those essential people) asks us to do something in which we don't believe in and it triggers our sensibilities.  

That being said - while we agree that trigger warnings are pretty much stupid - we are all in agreement that trigger warnings for those with real PTSD (for examples soldiers returning from war - not PTSD from Hillary loosing the election) is essential and should be the only trigger warnings even considered.  

Sorry - guess that was triggering