Tag Archives: college

Weekly Reading

Articles that Lady in Red found fascinating this week:

  1. When it’s okay to adopt the dialect of your audience: “It Wasn’t ‘Verbal Blackface.’ AOC Was Code-Switching.” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-code-switches-black-english/586723/
  2. David Frum elegantly documents Canada’s sweetheart stepping in it: “Justin Trudeau Falls From Grace” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/snc-lavalin-justin-trudeaus-fall-grace/586645/
  3. “Nobody wanted to hear me read ‘Ozymandias.’” Why are we all loving the Varsity Blues scandal?: “They Had It Coming” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/what-college-admissions-scandal-reveals/586468/
  4. The best travel writing you may ever read: “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer” https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/travel/thin-places-where-we-are-jolted-out-of-old-ways-of-seeing-the-world.html
  5. “‘I am synthetic life form ‘Yoko K.,’ assembled in the US with components made in Japan…designed to assume the role of an ‘electronic musician.’ I am one of many secret agents sent to this time to plant magical thinking in people through the use of ‘pre-22nd century nostalgia Mars pop music.’” How to make hospital beeps more pleasant and more meaningful: “Anatomy of a beep: A medical device giant and an avant-garde musician set out to redesign a heart monitor’s chirps” https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/10/medtronic-musician-redesign-heart-monitors-beeps/

Curriculum “Trigger Warnings”

In today’s NY Times, the idea of implementing university curriculum “trigger warnings” for sensitive material is discussed.   These are written statements that appear on syllabi warning students of literature or films that depict violence, sexuality, racism, suicide, poverty, etc. Lately, students at several universities have advocated for them to prevent PTSD reactions in student victims of war, rape, and other traumas. The warnings could give these students the opportunity to back out of exposure to the objectionable material.

Many academics oppose the blanket warnings as limiting and say that creating healthy discomfort is key to gaining a higher education. Of course, accommodations can be made on a case-by-case basis for struggling students, but creating an institution of censoring is frightening.

ModCon also opposes trigger warnings, mainly because they would be imperfect and just give a false sense of security and coddling. Who can know what does or does not trigger anyone?  Yes, while there are some common patterns, someone may have once been smothered by a teddy bear and now has a panic attack when seeing a cute teddy bear.  The point is, no one can unfortunately shut out pain, and all of us need to walk through life with varying degrees of mental resiliency.  “Trigger warnings” won’t protect everyone, and if enough people blindly depend upon “the system” to protect them, the results could be even worse.