Jeffrey Cranor is a writer for the podcast, Welcome to Nightvale (I listen to it, it’s entertaining). And he gets messages.
I was just about to listen to Episode 3. If you continue to advertise “trigger warnings”, I will no longer listen to your podcast and will advise every person whom I know not to listen.
The clarification that the podcast contains a description of someone being assaulted is pathetic. Stop it or lose listeners.
You know what’s pathetic? The people who get upset that a writer might show a little courtesy to someone who has had a more traumatic experience in their life than they have had; that a writer or a professor can recognize that the people listening to them are not blank, passive ciphers but have also brought their own history with them, and that what is merely an entertaining or academic exercise for us may actually be a lived experience for our audience.
So we give a small nod to those listening. We say, in effect, “I’m going to tell you a story, but I appreciate that it may bring back unpleasant echoes to some of you.” It’s saying that we respect the audience and understand that there are deeper contributions that some of them may make to some parts of what we’re telling them.
And then, of course, there are some members of the audience who are blank, passive ciphers and have never had a stressful experience…or they have, but they never learned from it. And they resent being reminded that there are other people present who have had more complex lives than they have had — and they don’t like being reminded that they are privileged little puddings. So they complain. Their lives are so fortunate to them, that having to listen to a 20 second warning message that a story includes a description of an assault is more traumatic to them, by their accounts, than an actual assault was to someone else.
It’s no surprise that the same people who are aggravated by trigger warnings are also the people who deplore codes of conduct at conferences. How dare you tell me that others might suffer from my actions? Freedom! Freedom excuses everything!
Of course, Cranor is a professional writer, while I’m just a guy with a blog. So what took me several paragraphs to explain, he can whip off in a line. A perfect line:
Grow up, you whiny little shit.
I’ll have to remember that. My usual response is to just roll my eyes, but that lacks the verve of a good punchy dismissal.