Trigger warning: I am a gleefully politically INcorrect satirist, so continue at your own risk. I have mentioned in numerous posts, control of the lexicon is ground zero in the battle for the culture. However, to put it in perspective before we begin, take a look at this video from PragerU. prager
I firmly believe in defining my terms, and since I will be referring over and over to opposite sides of the political/cultural spectrum, I will create my own names for each direction of the cultural spectrum. The last time we could joke about this was the Pat Paulsen for President satirical campaign in 1968. His answer when asked whether he was “right wing” or “left wing” was “neither, I’m middle of the bird.” Some of the descriptors of left wing are: progressive, liberal, leftist, radical, socialist, communist. Some of the descriptors of right wing are: conservative, traditionalist, old fashioned, fascist. Since I believe that the cultural battles are even more bitter than the political battles, I will restrict my definitions and list of cliches to the cultural. On my extreme left are those who tend to be socially emotional, idealistic, experimental, even utopian. I will call them perfectionist progressives, PP’s. On my extreme right are those who tend to be socially conservative, rational, traditional, even stodgy. I will call them comfortable conservatives, CC’s. When presenting the following components of their “ideal” societies, I admit the following: I am inferring from common statements, not personal interviews; of course, there is a whole spectrum of beliefs within each cultural persuasion, and many of these will be missing; I am extrapolating what society would look like from their stated ideas.
Extreme PP’s tend to believe that perfection in government and human relations is possible, perfection defined as anything better than what we have. What their utopia looks like: Everyone is happy, or at least their needs are provided for, no one is excluded from any group they want to be a part of, or discriminated against, consent gives permission to any activity, no matter how depraved, the very idea of depravity is judgmental and therefore void, no restrictions nor value judgments placed on any concept, no matter how unnatural it is (oops, judgmental again), society as a whole accommodates to the desires of the few, government’s job is to “level the playing field” with policies which promote equality of outcome and restrain the greed of the wealthy, if necessary by redistribution of wealth.
Extreme CC’s tend to believe that principles which worked in the past are still valid, even if some policies need to be tweaked to accommodate new technologies and realities, and that perfection in government and human relations is not possible. What their society looks like: everyone has equal opportunity, but not talent, so outcomes will be different regardless of opportunities; those who are able and willing to work have jobs that provide for basic necessities but not luxuries, but those unable to work due to illness, infirmity, or mental incapacity are provided with the necessities through private and church charity; government exists to protect life, liberty and the pursuit, but not the guarantee, of happiness; laws and rules represent boundaries of behavior, and those who stray outside the boundaries are either punished, if the actions were willful, restrained if they pose a danger to others, or rehabilitated if feasible; the most valid form of rehabilitation is restitution to the victim; charity is not a function of government, but of religious organizations or individuals.
Entering the phrase “top cultural buzzwords” in the YouTube search box, most of the videos were about buzzwords of the CC side of the cultural spectrum, not the PP as I expected. Most of them were from one guy, and certainly won’t win any awards for creativity, but to his credit, they really weren’t about buzzwords; rather most were attempting to explain how CC extremists take a few unrepresentative incidents and blow them out of proportion. “Trigger Warnings” are an example of some CC advocates “blowing things out of proportion”, according to Thom Avella, the author of most of the videos on CC buzzwords. He justified “trigger warnings”: “Let’s not marginalize traumatized people.” But NPR Ed sent out a survey last fall to faculty members at colleges and universities around the country, focused specifically on the types of institutions most students attend — not the elite private universities most often linked to the “trigger warning” idea. They received more than 800 responses. Here are some key findings:
- About half of professors said they’ve used a trigger warning in advance of introducing potentially difficult material.
- Most said they did so of their own volition, not because of a student’s request or an administrative policy.
In fact, the picture that emerges is of professors making private decisions within the four walls of the classroom. Only 3.4 percent said students had requested such a warning. Most instructors who told us they’d used trigger warnings — 64.7 percent — did so because, they said, “I thought the material needed one.”
So what are the types of material that are most likely to trigger a trigger warning? NPR respondents were most likely to say they had used trigger warnings in reference to sexual or violent material. Racially, politically, or religiously charged topics were mentioned less often. “I have had students break down reading novels depicting sexual assault and incest in my gender studies courses,” a professor at the University of North Carolina said in a survey response.
PP (woke) buzzwords. The phobias: homophobic, transphobic, biphobic islamophobic. Gender and sex: transgender, cisgender, deadnaming, gender dysphoria, trans exclusionary, non-binary, mansplaining, marriage equality. The emotional supports: safe spaces, triggering, micro-aggressions, hate speech/crime, marginalize. The racial/ethnic protectors: cultural appropriation, diversity, affirmative action, white privilege, undocumented immigrants. economic euphemisms: social justice, fair share, shared responsibility, justice involved youth.
I will demystify some of those buzzwords in my next post, but in my opinion, PP’s who get offended take themselves way too seriously. There is an antidote to taking yourself too seriously; it’s called satire. I would highly recommend watching reruns of Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show, Mean Tweets on YouTube and especially, the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld. If you survive those and think you can no longer be triggered, you are ready for this routine from Chris Rock. rock