A New York Times debate on trigger warnings

Five days ago, the New York Times had one of its occasional debates in which several people write short pieces on a controversial issue. This one was called “Do Trigger Warnings Work?“, and there were two people on the “yes” side and one on the “no” side, so it’s not balanced. Nor are there data adduced (though one person mentions the existence of data), so at least the “yes” votes, are based purely on people’s “lived experience.” The whole debate was inspired by the letter sent by the Dean of my university to incoming first-year students, saying that the University of Chicago did not mandate trigger warnings, intellectual safe spaces, nor the disinviting of controversial speakers.

Before I summarize the arguments, I’ll once again give my own take on trigger warnings. First, I don’t think they should be mandatory at any university; decisions about whether or how to implement them should be left to the faculty.

How would I use them? Well, if I were presenting something that I thought was generally disturbing, like pictures of dead bodies, or wounds, or harrowing testimony (being an evolutionist, I never have to do this), I’d warn students in class on the day of presentation. I would not, however, issue trigger warnings for things like food and drink, violence, or things that people don’t find generally upsetting (see the mention of The Iliad below). Rather, I’d announce at the beginning of class that if students find some subjects disturbing, they should come to me in private in advance to let me know, and I would try to warn that student (privately) beforehand.

What I would not do, however, which at least one of the pro-trigger-warning people suggest, is to let these students have alternative assignments that are not as “triggering.” That is, I would not change the material or my syllabus, either for the class or for individual students. If a student has a problem, I would warn them privately but they’d still be responsible for facing the material. This is based on the finding that exposure to “triggering” material is the only way to surmount one’s phobia. Of course,  I am not a therapist and so students who are triggered by things they encounter frequently would be well advised, as one debater notes, to seek treatment.

Actually, you can read the three pieces yourself, but I’ll comment briefly:

It just seems like the right thing to do by Elana Newman, the R. M. McFarlin professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa, a research director at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and the co-director of the Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Adversity and Injustice.

Newman’s piece is actually sensible. She has no evidence that trigger warnings work, but says that several of her students have been grateful for warnings, as it allows them to confer with their therapist in advance. This of course means you have to put out the warning before the class, and given the list of things that some students find triggering, that’s impractical as a general tactic. But she also notes this:

Can trigger warnings be harmful? Although a student has never said this to me, I can imagine that explicit cautions may promote anxiety or expectations for an unpleasant emotional experience. Several graduates have told me that while my intentions were noble, the warnings were useless. They simply had no tools to understand their experiences at that time. Some said they felt nauseous, panicked, had flashbacks or engaged in avoidance activities after class that they did not understand. So the warnings were at best inert for them. Others told me they understood their responses to these reminders but they could not control them nor were they interested in working on them at that time. Interestingly, not one student ever held me responsible for those reactions.

Trust me, trigger warnings are helpful” by Sofie Karasek, the director of education and co-founder of End Rape On Campus.

Karasek is the most SJW-ish of the three debaters. She also describes herself as a “sexual assault survivor,” which surely influences her take. (I can’t find any evidence that Karasek, who is only 22, actually teaches students.) While adducing no evidence for the efficacy of trigger warnings save one anecdote, she recommends allowing those who might be triggered to study alternative material, a stand I don’t agree with (again, they should be in therapy):

It is not that difficult issues should not be taught — it is that they should be taught with nuance. Allowing a military veteran to skip a screening of Pearl Harbor or to opt for a less graphic version of a chapter about the Vietnam War is not succumbing to “political correctness” or interfering with learning; it is treating people with basic decency and respect.

You could also say that it is coddling students who should have exposure therapy. And what do you do with a book like The Iliad, which is full of violence and, indeed, has been subject to trigger warnings for “graphic violence,” “sexual violence,” and “suicide”? What alternative work of literature can you give them? None that I can think of. (The Bible, of course, is larded with violence and sex; should schools of theology issue trigger warnings for scripture?) In the end, Karasek goes off on a Regressive Leftist detour that doesn’t seem that relevant, and also is heavily weighted with identity politics and the promotion of her ideological agenda in class:

We are in a period of revitalized storytelling activism, from Black Lives Matter to#SayHerName. These stories are profoundly important because they open our culture’s eyes to systemic injustices that have long been ignored. Thoughtfulfacilitation from professors is crucial in these heavy conversations. For instance, asking, “Does anyone have anything to add, or a different opinion?” in response to a classmate characterizing all veterans as Islamophobes or all rape victims as liars encourages students to question sweeping and harmful generalizations.

Individuals from communities that are disproportionately affected by societal injustices are sometimes hesitant to participate. For instance, though I am open about being a sexual assault survivor, many people are not, in part because of the stigma associated with it. And frankly, while sometimes I might be willing to engage with someone who doesn’t believe that rape is “a real problem,” many times, I would rather preserve my mental health. In this situation, I would be more likely to participate if I saw my professor debunk myths about sexual violence with statistics and evidence-based research. When we silence marginalized voices by refusing to create a respectful atmosphere, we damage the educational experience for all of our students.

If you need a trigger warning, you need P.T.S.D. treatmentby Richard J. McNally, a professor of psychology and the director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University. He is the author of “Remembering Trauma.”

McNally, who probably has the most knowledge about this issue from a psychological standpoint, draws a distinction between “trauma” and full-blown “P.T.S.D” (post-traumatic stress disorder), which, I think is recognized as a proper distinction by psychologists and psychiatrists. His solution is not to give trigger warnings to either group, because—at least for P.T.S.D. sufferers—they’re counterproductive. (That, of course, presumes that the sufferer is getting therapy, which he recommends. If they’re not, what would he do?)  He does imply that there are data bearing on this issue, though he doesn’t cite any. He does say this:

Epidemiological studies show that many people are exposed to trauma in their lives, and most have had transient stress symptoms. But only a minority fails to recover, thereby developing P.T.S.D. Students with P.T.S.D. are those most likely to have adverse emotional reactions to curricular material, not those with trauma histories whose acute stress responses have dissipated.

However, trigger warnings are countertherapeutic because they encourage avoidance of reminders of trauma, and avoidance maintains P.T.S.D. Severe emotional reactions triggered by course material are a signal that students need to prioritize their mental health and obtain evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral therapies that will help them overcome P.T.S.D. These therapies involve gradual, systematic exposure to traumatic memories until their capacity to trigger distress diminishes.

Rather than issuing trigger warnings, universities can best serve students by facilitating access to effective and proven treatments for P.T.S.D. and other mental health problems.

This seems a bit harsh, for if I was going to show a picture of, say, somebody with a terrible war injury, I wouldn’t hesitate to warn students just before. Even if you don’t have P.T.S.D., maybe you can be more prepared—or even, in this one case, look away.

To see the diversity of subjects that people have said should be subjected to trigger warnings, here’s a list from Kyriarchy and Privilege:


You can see how difficult it would be to have to issue trigger warnings for people—look at the last item, for instance!

Finally, of the three items mentioned in the University of Chicago letter—trigger warnings, safe spaces, and a policy not to disinvite speakers—trigger warnings is the one most easily resolve. The University was not saying they cannot or should not be used, but that the U of C doesn’t mandate them; it leaves them up to faculty. Safe spaces is a difficult issue that the letter might have discussed in more detail, though it specified “INTELLECTUAL safe spaces,” i.e., free discussion in the classroom. And I see no good argument against my University’s policy of not disinviting speakers. I have little doubt that it will soon have a policy, too, for sanctioning students who try to interrupt or “shut down” speakers.


  1. C.Morano
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I can objectively see the points of some the arguments but the list of common triggers infuriates me. If even half of these items are an affront to some humans, they have reason even being in college and should seek serious mental help. To fear some of these things and not learn to deal with them is to deny the reality of living on planet earth. I am disgusted by any human disgusted by another species of animal. There is no justification for that other than the glorification of ignorance. This is beginning to become a new religion. I have zero respect and consideration for such humans.

    • Sastra
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Reading that list of common triggers, I worry a bit about whether *I* should come with a trigger warning.

      Maybe on a shirt, or on a metal tag I wear around my neck.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        You and me both! We need to wear medic alert bracelets.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      I am most likely triggering people just by working with them. The swearing, the discussion of sexism, our discussions of medical procedures we’ve had, slurs like “stupid” (my “stupid” project), spiders and insects in the labs in my building, pregnant women, many of us have OCD im sure. I’m a nightmare. How am I employed? Im basically a walking trigger.

  2. rickflick
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    When I was teaching Earth science to 10th graders, I showed a video on earthquakes. A scene showed destruction of buildings and roads and mentioned that many people had been killed in the quake. One girl made a horrible gasp and wobbled about looking shaken. At the time, I was not prepared to think about trigger warnings and had not been specifically trained to handle it. I was a little surprised that a 10th grader would be shocked by a program that she could have seen on network television. I tried to reassure her and the film went on and she calmed down. I didn’t give it much thought after that, but at this point I wish I had been a little more sensitive. I have no idea what her background experience was and hope she didn’t suffer long-term from her experience.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      When I was in elementary school they showed us holocaust footage on rememberance day! And we watched Old Yeller! How the hell are we alive still?

      • Merilee
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Old Yeller was the hardest to take😥
        (Not to mention Bambi…)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        [Trigger warning: This comment may contain triggers for hypersensitive wallies]

        Remember Bambi. When his mother got [trigger warning] shot? [/trigger warning] How we survived that I don’t know.


        • Richard
          Posted September 19, 2016 at 4:15 am | Permalink

          Joey: You didn’t cry when Bambi’s mother died?

          Chandler: Yes, it was very sad when the man stopped drawing the deer.

  3. Merilee
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink


  4. James F.
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone else notice that under the -isms trigger warning it includes sex positive shaming. Which I guess that means shaming people that have a healthy perception on sex? Anyway one of the other triggers that shouldn’t be talked about is any mention of sex (even consensual) is that like a catch-22 or what?

  5. Christopher
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Spiders, insects, snakes, “slimy things”…? I hope those people have trigger warnings posted by their front doors “Trigger Warning: Living Things May Be Found Outside!”

    good grief.

    Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but in a university setting, a professor or TA typically hands out something known as a syllabus, which, if done properly, is meant to give the student a general idea of the topics to be covered over the course of the semester. Is this not an acceptable “trigger warning”, that, yes, little snowflake, you’ve signed up for a biology course, and yes, in this semester we shall be discussing reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. If this is something that you feel you cannot handle emotionally, perhaps you are in the wrong class. (or one can substitute World History since 1900, and discussing both world wars, including Nazism).

    You know what classes really need trigger warnings? How about “Trigger Warning: this biology professor is also an ordained priest and does not accept a world view that does not include a prime mover at the root of the creation of the universe” or “Trigger Warning: this literature professor will tell you not to simply repeat her interpretations of any given story we will be reading, but will punish you with poor grades if you do not actually repeat back her interpretations in your paper and instead include your own”*.

    *these situations may, or may not have actually happened to me at uni…

  6. nicky
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I used to think that trigger warnings were somehow useful, that if, say, your partner died of a cancer you might not like to see an Rx with a spinal column riddled with metas.
    But when I see that list I’d say: f**k trigger warnings. You will get confronted with slimy things, blood, spiders and vomit anyway. Or a spinal column riddled with matas. That is how life is.
    From now on I solemny pledge I’ll not give *any* ‘trigger warning’ in my lectures (and I’m tempted to, but will not, add some extra gory pics, and the Ceiling Cat knows a have quite a few of those).

  7. Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    That list is kind of unbelievable. I still think trigger warnings have a place. I’ve used them (before I knew the term) when I was going to show a biology class pictures of naked humans, or when I was going to talk about potential negative things associated with sex (rape, pregnancy that goes bad, STD’s, etc.). I never did it to help people avoid things, but to help people gather their resources to face something that might be difficult.

  8. Christopher Bonds
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I remember one year when I was teaching Introduction to Music, I wanted to do a unit on popular music. This was when a lot of rap records carried “explicit lyrics” warnings. I asked students to bring in examples of music they enjoyed listening to, from which I would select certain ones for discussion. (I’m not sure I would do that now, if I were still teaching, at least not in the same way.)

    I did ask the class what they thought of playing explicit songs in class, and I don’t remember anyone objecting (it’s not like they hadn’t heard the songs many times, I’m pretty sure), but I felt good that I asked, anyway.

  9. Flemur
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Trigger Warning: [Subject]

    With that out of the way, apparently “Kyriarchy and Privilege” consists of two neurotic teen-aged girls.


    • Flemur
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Sorry! I didn’t realize the content of that link would appear here…

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      That’s a parody site … I mean, it’s gotta be … right?!

      • steve
        Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:13 am | Permalink

        Here’s a roll of hockey tape. That’ll fix it for ya. That’s what got me through uni when things broke.

        Can I send that through the wires?

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the Snowflakes need a special course in how to live in this world without trigger warnings and deal with whatever your phobia might be. The course could consist of watching the popular show from Britain – Doc Martin. Here is the perfect example of someone overcoming or at least living with a serious problem for any surgeon, haemophobia. He gives up the practice he was trained for but manages as a GP in a small town. He also has other social issues that might get in the way of a doctor in GP but he gets the job done.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Jeez, your first sentence brought to mind “Snowflake babies,” the “rescued,” “adopted” embryos left over from in vitro fertilization that some fundamentalist zealots are on a mission to save from the “holocaust” of abortion, as Saint aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu might put it. Interesting, though, I see that the RC Church is against embryo adoption, but haven’t yet read into the theological reasons. What would CS Lewis say?

  11. Dinah Maddalena
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    It would be IMPOSSIBLE to know exactly what might cause intrusive thoughts for someone with OCD.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Even so, it is a catch-22. If you are explicit and list, say, hand washing or germs, you would risk triggering intrusive thoughts.

  12. ladyatheist
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I have known a few people who get ‘triggered’ by things that nobody could possibly predict. Fortunately, they didn’t think the rest of the world had to cooperate with their desire never to be reminded. Perhaps the trigger-happy folks could create a list of literary works studied in college and the potential triggers in them. Then you could add the URL to the syllabus and let the butterflies figure it out for themselves.

    Can someone who is so prone to emotional distress actually work at a full time job? Can you imagine having to go through your work day worrying about all the triggers of all your coworkers?

    Oh wait, Monty Python already imagined that:

    • GBJames
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


    • Christopher
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Of course you must realize that this video requires a trigger warning of its own, as it portrays the man carrying the woman, reinforcing the negative gender stereotype that women need men to do things for them, plus, the bride was wearing white, which is a form of traditional sex-shaming, denigrating all those brides who may have had premarital sex, never mind that there were no people of color in the video (racist) and the couple were in traditional gender-binary roles when clearly they should have been either a lesbian or gay couple (homophobic) and really, there should have been at least one transgender person in a role, preferably one in power (transphobic). So, now that you’ve outed yourself as a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic bigot, we shall all have to take to tw*tter and harass you with death threats.

      Have a nice day!

      • ladyatheist
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Any man with an English accent is presumed to be gay, or non-binary, or a poofta.

        The woman managed her transgressive non-gendered resistance by uttering the word ‘mattress’ and although she cried, she was exceedingly annoying, thus drawing sharp attention to the otherness of the …

        I can’t do this. I can’t even pretend to be that kind of writer.

        • Christopher
          Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Sorry to have traumatized you, my post should have included a trigger warning about the trigger warning that your video should have included!

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

            I get triggered by trigger warnings. They set me off into a long raving diatribe about the inanity and idiocy of trigger warnings. I require a pre-trigger-warning warning so I can avoid trigger warnings that may trigger my trigger-warning-phobic behaviour.


            • merilee
              Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink


  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Trigger warnings have been used very sensibly for a very long time.

    Warning: This content includes scenes of graphic violence and nudity, and may not be suitable for all audiences.

    See? I don’t think many people would object to trigger warnings of that sort.

  14. Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Just put a satellite in orbit around the planet with a gigantic sign with all possible trigger warnings so that everyone on the planet can be warned. Of course, the sign would have to be long enough that it draped onto parts of the Earth as it passed over. Come to think of it, we probably need to forewarn potential visitors to our planet also.
    Beware of the inhabitants who are easily offended!

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Trypophobia?! Dang, fear of “irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps.” Such things never bothered me before, but just reading the Wiki entry for trypophobia creeped me out. Now I’ve caught it. I used to think that lotus heads were beautiful, but from now on I’m gonna need a trigger warning for lotus heads. I see that what just happened to me falls under the rubric of “ironic process theory” — there’s a theory and a disease for everything.

    Re the last trigger warning on the list, I once knew a guy who suffered from OCD and was also bi-polar (and did he suffer! His suffering was insufferable to the rest of us). When in a good mood, he was given to issuing angry trigger warnings to everyone in his immediate vicinity not to say anything that could possibly disturb his fragile, brittle tranquility — he could fly into a rage in an instant, curse and throw breakable objects around. So he intimidated everyone and cowed us into silence, except to agree with everything he said, laugh at his lame, often cruel and offensive jokes, praise him for laboriously picking up every crumb or particle of detritus that he could find on the floor — and when he’d break a glass or ceramic cup in anger, he’d have a whole lot of picking up to do, which, in retrospect, probably also satisfied the demands of his OCD, so this became a nasty loop of nasty activity.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      What about genuphobia? Why does nobody think of people with a morbid fear of knees?

      If I was forced to issue warnings about spiders and reptiles, I’d do so. Then I’d jump out in front of the students dressed as a clown.

    • jay
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I had trypophobia (I don’t know if it’s a recognized condition, though) for a long time before finding out that there was a name and other people have it too. Many people with this symptom are also disturbed by dead trees, as I was when a child.

      It certainly is not life crippling (can I use that word?) and I don’t need trigger warnings. My sensitivity varies greatly from month to month, but sometimes triggers a very queasy stomach.

  16. Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    “His solution is not to give trigger warnings to either group, because—at least for P.T.S.D. sufferers—they’re counterproductive. (That, of course, presumes that the sufferer is getting therapy, which he recommends. If they’re not, what would he do?)”

    I don’t think it necessarily does imply they are getting therapy. I may be wrong, but I suspect that he thinks that it’s counterproductive in that it might encourage people who aren’t getting therapy to avoid triggering content rather than getting therapy. If someone is triggered in the relatively safe context of a college classroom, as opposed to less supportive contexts, it might encourage them to get therapy, or provide the opportunity for a professor to suggest they see a mental health professional.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure I was clear. (bad wording) I meant it’s not counterproductive because being triggered in that context, particularly if you aren’t getting therapy, could be productive.

  17. macha
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    On TV, I avoid programmes with “very strong language” flagged (is that the same as a trigger warning?), because they’re usually full of violence and other nasty stuff which I don’t like. So I’d rather not have to waste 10 minutes of my life before switching off and reading a book.

    Similarly, warnings of “sexual violence” and other grody behaviour. So yes, I think in some situations they’re useful.

    However, I did a degree in Physics, so other than Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity “doing my head in”, trigger warnings weren’t relevant, so I can’t comment on Humanities and so on.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      I need a trigger warning before you talk about gravity because when I was 3 I fell down and went “boom” and I never got over it.

      • macha
        Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:01 am | Permalink

        I’m sorry to hear you fell over when you were 3 and I hope that you eventually recover from the trauma it caused.

  18. Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    The trigger warning list reads like a checklist of ways to irritate my kids 20-somthing SJW (Social Justice Warrior) friends. Off to rattle some cages…

  19. Bill
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I have to wonder if the people who need trigger warnings even watch the news or use the internet.

    Both CNN (MSBC, FOX, etc) and the Internet is full of upseting things nowadays, so i imagine these people are don’t have TV’s or even use smart phones, right?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      You have to wonder how they got through high school.

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I am constantly frustrated with people who think everyone must adapt to them and if they flip out over something innocuous then that’s your problem. I work with some of these people. It’s exhausting!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t help that we’re taught to keep it all inside.

  21. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    [Trigger warning: This comment may contain triggers for hypersensitive wallies]

    Shouldn’t that list of triggering subjects have a trigger warning? Since it includes just about every word or topic known to have a triggering effect on anybody.

    Either it’s an Onion-style satire or it’s the most [trigger warning: slurs] monumentally dumb piece of PC [trigger warning: language] sh*t I’ve seen in a long time.

    (What the [trigger warning: sexual reference] f*ck is Kyriarchy anyway?)


  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Aw, the kids are alright. (That’s the Who who said that.)

    College kids’ve been doing dumb shit since time immemorial — from wearing raccoon coats to eating goldfish, to cramming into phone booths and Volkswagens, to streaking, to beer pong.

    Sure, I realize that a lot of their warrior-ing for social justice is just a faddish pose, but if some of them come out of it with an actual socially-conscious conscience, that’s a good thing, no? Can’t have too much of that.

    All they really need to do is stop taking themselves so goddam seriously.

  23. Diane G.
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately the willfully hypersensitive, self-proclaimed victims of some of the ludicrously banal items on that trigger list only succeed in diminishing the concern we should all have for true victims of violent crime, combat veterans, those who have indeed suffered terribly for whatever reason, etc. Life is hard enough without going out of one’s way to be offended.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink


  24. somer
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    (trigger alert spelling mangle ahead)
    I think they want to change things to:

    Land of the Twee, Home of the N(ee)ave

  25. Bob
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    May I suggest that Catoptrophobia is a godsend for those who have Trypophobia.

  26. jay
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    A sort of humorous side point. My ex wife is heavily into biology and medicine. She would get different surgery videos to watch — and I would just leave the room. Not something I could look at.

    Anyhow, she was also into forensics, and once when we were in a restaurant waiting for our meal, she pull out this book (intended for law enforcement) about murder investigation techniques with lots of crime scene pictures. I had to remind her (didn’t occur to her) that others might find this disturbing. So she put it away.

  27. Posted September 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The mention of “alternate assignments” brings back something that came up when I took HS senior biology course and CEGEP biology. What do the biology instructors here do with students that don’t want do dissections? It seems to me that this is somewhat analogous to some of the uses of trigger warnings.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      They should just do the damned dissections. I wasn’t crazy about dissecting the cat in university, but I didn’t raise a fuss and actually found itfascnating once I got into it. You don’t do the dissection, you lose a certain % off your grade.

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