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Comedian Bill Maher continued his streak of being one of — if not the most — grounded liberals in media with a scathing critique of trigger warnings.
TRIGGER WARNING: This article may trigger delusional who insist on trigger warnings for anything and everything lest they be faced with reality.
Maher closed the most recent episode of HBOs Real Time with Bill Maher, with a monologue on just how absurd trigger warnings have gotten.\, and how they don’t even work to begin with.
Flinders University in Australia studied other studies on trigger warnings, and they came to the unanimous conclusion that they simply don’t do the job. They found they caused more problems for people who had experience trauma.
As Maher joked, “It’s like if seat belts were made out of broken glass.”
He discussed how like so many other things that have poisoned the left, trigger warnings started on college campuses. They were meant to be a way for students to prepare themselves for uncomfortable material in books, movies, or even history lessons.
“A trigger warning is a kind of ‘close your eyes, here comes an ouchie,” Maher said.
He also talked about how some colleges had gone so far as to ban some “triggering” words or phrases like “you guys,” “white paper,” “peanut gallery,” “insane,” and — to Maher’s shock — “virgin.”
“We can’t say virgin? As opposed to what, person experiencing not getting laid?”
He went on to slam Brandeis University for even slapping a trigger warning on the phrase “trigger warning.”
The reason? Because it reminds students of violence.
Maher Trashed How Out Of Hand Trigger Warnings Have Gotten
Maher touched on how trigger warnings are everywhere. Seriously. There was even one before a theatrical performance of the terrible musical you probably had to watch in high school, Oklahoma!
Surprisingly, that trigger warning didn’t say “Warning: the following is a pile of flaming donkey excrement.”
Instead, it warned audiences about darkness and violence. Yes, in Oklahoma!; the musical with a title featuring history’s most superfluous use of an exclamation point and a plot centering on a box social.
“My senior class in high school put on ‘Oklahoma,’ and I thought it was corny and provincial then. I cannot imagine the fragility of someone who needs to be warned about it. How did these people get to the airport, let alone through childhood?” Maher asked.
Even wilder, the Globe Theatre warned patrons that Romeo & Juliet included suicide. This is something everyone who took ninth-grade English would know going in.
Trigger Warnings Reinforce Trauma As Part Of Someone’s Identity
Maher then hit on something that has become a major problem in society. Coincidentally, it’s something trigger warnings had a hand in shaping: the idea that past trauma is one of the central tenants of one’s identity.
“And again, all the research shows that these trigger warnings don’t even work! What they do is reinforce the idea that trauma is central to your identity, and that you should let it define you instead of dealing with, it dispatching it, and moving beyond it,” Maher said.
“People wonder why the younger generations have so much anxiety, it’s this stuff! Lots of stuff makes us uncomfortable. You know what makes me uncomfortable? This bulls–t. People who start every conversation with ‘As a person who,’ ‘As a survivor of,’ I’m triggered every time I see a trigger warning, because I’m reminded of how weak my country has become.
“It’s like wearing a mask on your mind.”
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle