Glasgow theology students given trigger warning about images of the crucifixion

Seriously, is there anybody studying theology—indeed, anybody alive—who hasn’t seen an image of Jesus on the cross? It’s so common that one would think that you needn’t be warned about exposure to it.

Well, that doesn’t take into account the new campus climate of giving warnings about things that don’t seem triggering at all. And Glasgow has fallen prey to that trend. As the Torygraph reported six days ago:

The University of Glasgow, part of the elite Russell Group, has introduced the warnings to its theology students studying Creation to Apocalypse: Introduction to the Bible (Level 1).

In one lecture about Jesus, it warned students it “contains graphic scenes of the crucifixion” adding that it would be flagged up to students beforehand.

The same centre has issued warnings to its veterinary students who work with dead animals and those studying Contemporary Society who will be discussing illness and violence.

But it’s worse: forensic students are warned about blood, and archeology students warned that they may see “well-preserved archaeological bodies” (presumably mostly skeletons), and vet students cautioned that they might see dead animals.

. . . Others include veterinary students being warned they will be working with dead mice, archaeology students that they will see a skeleton and forensic science pupils that they will be studying blood.

A spokesman for Glasgow University said: “We have an absolute duty of care to all of our students and where it is felt course material may cause potential upset or concern warnings may be given.”

Forensic science students at Strathclyde University have been given a “verbal warning… at the beginning of some lectures where sensitive images, involving blood patterns, crime scenes and bodies are in the presentation”.

At Stirling University archaeology students were given advanced warning that they would be shown an image of a well-preserved archaeological body in case they found it “a bit gruesome”.

It has also told its gender studies students: “We cannot anticipate or exclude the possibility that you may encounter material which is triggering [ie, which can trigger a negative reaction] and we urge that you take all necessary precautions to look after yourself in and around the programme.”

In some case students are allowed to absent themselves from the class and lecturers are advised to check on them later in the day.

My view is that you have no business studying theology if you can’t look at an image of the Crucifixion, veterinary medicine if you can’t stomach dead animals, nor forensics if you can’t take bodies and blood. As I’ve said before, there are cases in which students can be properly warned about images that they may find upsetting, but in no case should students be allowed to avoid the material. As for “lecturers checking in on those traumatized students,” that just perpetuates the culture of in loco parentis, which colleges shouldn’t be promulgating. It gives those students an unwarranted sense of specialness and entitlement.



h/t: jjh


  1. GBJames
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Ya can’t make it up.

  2. Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I think that my next syllabus will have this trigger warning: “See nothing, hear nothing, learn nothing.”

  3. Joseph Stans
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    If S student wished to study forensics and cannot do blood or bodies he should alert the instuctor and the instructor should hit him with a five iron before the semester.

    • busterggi
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t that be more of a wedge issue?

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:54 am | Permalink


    • Michael Fuhr
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      “Gentlemen, you are about to enter the most fascinating sphere of police work: the world of forensic medicine.”

      (Intro to the 70s-80s TV series “Quincy M.E.” starring Jack Klugman)

      • John Conoboy
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        That was the days the doctor could perform the autopsy and never get spattered with blood. Watch a show now, like NCIS, and they usually have the body lying on the gurney with the chest cut open and the organs missing. Where are the trigger warnings on broadcast TV?

        • jeremy pereira
          Posted January 12, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

          But, in spite of all that evisceration, Ducky Mallard is triggered by the sight of human genitalia, so much so that he has to put a towel over them – or a light that washes out all the detail.

  4. Lee Beringsmith
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    They should be issuing realistic trigger warnings, like don’t eat the cafeteria food.

    • John Nunes
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Or the cadaver…

  5. Tamethyst
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Is it “this generation” that want mollycoddled. Or is it an overindulgent over protective previous one.

  6. Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Imagine the trigger warning that would be needed if artists hadn’t added that diaper to shield us from the indelicacy of viewing his divine genitals.

    • Carl
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Or from reminding viewers he’s a Jew.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I find it interesting that re the Circumcision, it used to be crucial to depict the infant Jesus with his genitals exposed (and preferably a Mohel at the ready with the knife) because that ‘proved’ he was human (as well as divine). Now, though, the Church has officially scrapped that feast day, though it’s my favorite kooky feast day. The crucifixion and ‘subsequent’ resurrection are core beliefs of Christianity, without which there ain’t much reason to call oneself a Christian. And as Roman Catholics, it at least used to be a duty to make the Stations of the Cross during Lent, when one meditates on each outrage perpetrated on Christ’s body as he made his way to the cross, which I think must be a feast for RC sado-masochists.

      • jeffery
        Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Aren’t there several churches that claim to have Christ’s foreskin?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 17, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          You mean, he had several, errm, dangly bits? No wonder the artists had to give him a loincloth, just imagine the attention that would have attracted from irreverent small boys…


          • Posted January 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            The myths of the Jesus foreskin reliquaries are etymologically and ecclesiastically significant. Bear with me.

            In mid-medieval England, the Northamptonshire Church of Broxtowe, St. Scrotus the Eunuch, (mentioned passim as late as Chaucer) preserved the tibia of its eponymous Saint. Pilgrims came from yards around to worship. The Old English for ‘shin-bone’ is ‘scinu’, pronounced ‘shinoo’.

            200 years later, after the great but little known consonantal shift of early Modern English, ‘scinu’ was pronounced ‘skinoo’. In the next parish, the Church of Jesu the Impoverished, lacking funds, decided on a bit of church competition and ‘discovered’ an older relic of Jesus’ shin. It called it the ‘forescinu’ because it was allegedly the older of Jesus’ 2 shin-bones. Nobody seems to have noticed the logical inconsistency. But by now, ‘forescinu’ was pronounced ‘foreskinoo’: later the ‘oo’ was dropped, unlike St. Scrotus’ giggleberries.

            That’s how we get the proliferation of Jesus’ foreskin from the high to late Middle Ages. Naturally, the pilgrimages enriched the churches and entitled the pilgrims to indulgences: Martin Luther despised the church’s indulgence system as a get-rich-quick scheme. And that is how Jesus’ foreskin lead indirectly to Luther’s anti-Semitism.

            It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted January 17, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink



  7. Monika
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    We need a trigger warning for stupid trigger warnings. My brain is in a BSOD loop whenever I read them!

  8. eric
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m fine with being explicit in the syllabus. Guaranteed, there is some clueless freshman idiot who signed up for anatomy with no thought about the fact that it includes dissection. Never underestimate the clulessness of an 18 year old. You want to clue the clueless in.

    However, fully agree with JAC and others about the ridiculousness of either (a) letting the students avoid such material, or (b) having the professors ‘counsel’ the traumatized. That’s not a professor’s job. They aren’t counselors. If your studies make you feel bad, go to the school medical facility and tell them what’s going on. Then consider dropping the class – your classmates will likely thank you.

    As for the theology-crucifiction thing, I wonder if they’re talking about your basic depiction, or one of those full-on medieval gorefest oil paintings. I have to admit, there’s some 13th-15th century religious art on the apocalypse, hell, etc. that is pretty brutal. Not pearl-clutching couch-fainting brutal (at least not to me), but not fun either. I could definitely see warning young students that past painters weren’t nearly as squeamish about showing viscera and torture the way we are today.

    • GBJames
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Depends on what you mean by “being explicit” in the syllabus. An accurate summary of the course material is appropriate, just as it it for all classes.

      The problem with “protecting” clueless freshmen with trigger warnings about anatomy class is that it flags the course as being specially scary. It does nobody a favor to do that.

      • eric
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think telling students that there will be a dissection flags it as being especially scary.

        Maybe the difference is in the delivery. A syllabus that says “TRIGGER WARNING: HUMAN DISSECTION!!!” connotes a different sort of message than one that has the line: “Week 4: human dissection.”

    • Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      This one strikes me as particularly silly. Presumably xian students who want to study xian theology need/want to be protected from their own revered AND FABRICATED stories and imagery?!

      This is like little kids wanting to go swimming but not wanting to get wet (yes, that’s a thing kids do, as most parents will attest).

      • eric
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        I think the issue is that 21st century westerners may not have the tolerance of violent imagery and action that 14th century westerners did. I mean, we pretty much know that to be true – public executions by burning used to be a picnic spectacle. Sticking your thumb up some stranger’s ass in a bar was just good fun. Now, the first is considered horrendous and the second is assault. I have no problem thinking that someone born in 1999 may not like or feel comfortable the violent imagery that was common in 14th century art, regardless of whether that art was produced by people of their religion or not.

        • Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          It’s just the fact that it’s all made up to begin with.

          Monsters Under The Bed 502

          (Warning: In this class you may be exposed to artists’ renderings of monsters under beds)

          • eric
            Posted January 12, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            It’s just the fact that it’s all made up to begin with.

            LOL musical beef, I think it’s pretty well accepted that fiction can be disturbing. Your complaint is fast sliding into the argument from incredulity. I get that *you* don’t find graphic Christian imagery disturbing. But is it really so hard to grok that some people might?

            • Posted January 12, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink


              I didn’t say I can’t believe people do this, I said I think it’s silly. If you have such an aversion to the major events in the xian mythology then why devote yourself to its study? I think it’s sillier than people who want to enter, say, medicine but are squeamish about blood/etc. They may want to enter medicine because of a desire to do something really helpful for people. Trigger warnings about fairy tales are sillier than that, imo.

              If you don’t think it’s silly, fine. We have different opinions, and I’m ok with that.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:01 am | Permalink

          Maybe 21st century westerners that never watch TV or go to movies? Heck, there’s violence at many sporting events now.

    • loren russell
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      My very first TA assignment in the 1960s was for a 2-term vertebrate anatomy lab. Second term was all about the CAT, so each student received an embalmed cat for the first lab meeting. It was my job to draw the dotted-cuts the students needed to make to start study of the muscles [left side only].

      I did like cats even then, but live ones. And my farm boy background made me pretty insensitive to grossness.

      So, a half-hour in, I had coaxed 23 of my 24 students to make the cuts and expose the muscles they would have to study that day. Along the way I was getting the feel for peeling the cats, so when I got to Student #24, who had made a couple cuts, then just stared at the carcass, I took her scalpel, made the last cut, then dug my fingers under the belly skin and janked. Bad idea– the cat was a pregnant female, and milk/formaldehyde squirted out several teats. The student bolted and was never seen again. My prof took it in stride and said it was fine as it was the first week and there was a waiting list for the lab. No trigger warning then…

      • busterggi
        Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Mem’ries, back in ’72 I took Advanced Biology in my senior year at high school and we had to do cat dissections. One time, after we had done several assignments with our cats, we all got into a line holding our cats in the see-through bags by the cat’s tails and paraded slowly through the cafeteria to freak out our less fortunate non-classmates.

  9. Mike Herron
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Fully agreed.

    But I have a story. A grad student friend of mine from Bangladesh was looking for an elementary school near us and she went to the local Catholic school to see about getting her daughters enrolled. She had the girls with her and they had some time to kill before her appointment. They wandered into the church for a look. There above the alter they saw a statue of a bloodied young man nailed to a cross. They ran out and never returned. I think we are so accustomed to the brutal sight we are numb to it.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      But there can be an upside — at least in Jewish/Catholic humor — here’s one version of the joke:

      There was once a little Jewish boy who for the life of him was terrible at math. His parents had tried everything and nothing seemed to be working, so as their last resort they decided to send him to the local Catholic school because it had the best math program in the area. The first day, and every day after, the little boy came home and went straight upstairs and did all his homework. When they finally received his report card he had straight A’s. They were baffled an very curious about what the school did that worked so well, so they asked him “Son, what did this school do differently that helped you learn so well” the son replied “Well, “On that first day, when I walked in the front door and saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I KNEW they meant business!”

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of a different joke of the same sort. A man sees a parrot for cheap in a pet store. He asks the owner why it was so inexpensive, and the owner said because the parrot swears like a sailor. So the man bought the parrot and brought it home. Pretty soon, the parrot starts squawking a continual string of obscenities.
        Not knowing what to do, the man, on a whim, popped the parrot into the freezer. The swearing from the freezer went on for a time, then suddenly stopped.
        The man quickly opened the door, and the parrot walked out onto his arm, looked at him, and said in a clear voice, “I’m sorry. I know I have been bad, but if you give me another chance I promise to never swear again”.
        The man agrees, and to this the parrot asks, “Could you please answer a question?” “Sure”, says the man.
        The parrot looks meaningfully at the freezer and asks “What did the chicken do?”

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        How many millions of people go to movies each year? How many happen to have serious health crises while there? How often are, say, cardiac events that occur during your basic Disney kids’ movie remarked upon?

        People also keel over at baseball games, airports, Walmart, libraries…

        I once read in either Skeptical Inquirer or Free Inquiry that enough atheists had ended their anti-religion orations with something along the lines of, “…and if there IS a god, may he strike me dead as I stand here!,” that a few had actually had a fatal heart attack at that moment. (Which is why I like to say, “…and if there IS a God, let him prove it by giving me a Y-chromosome…”)

    • GBJames
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      “They ran out and never returned.”

      You say that like it is a bad thing.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      To be fair, an elderly woman had a heart attack and died during a showing of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”.
      ( as did a Brazilian Presbyterian minister though in the latter case friends don’t believe the film triggered his condition.

      Also, a Taiwanese man with a sensitive condition died watching “Avatar” with his doctor saying it was “over-excitement” from the film, and there have been multiple reports of people fainting and feeling severely ill as a result of viewing “The Exorcist”. (I myself got squeamish in the latter, but only during the early medical examination scene due to my phobia of needles, but was relatively equanamous through the rest of the film!)

      But still, warnings for a theology student????

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        Mentioning “The Exorcist” was a bad idea on the same day as a Tw**t that retells this tale from an adman’s memoir :
        In the creative department, you can get away with anything, as long as it’s funny.
        When I worked at [AdAgency], the Head of Television commuted in from Brighton every day.
        He started reading The Exorcist on the train.
        He said he thought it was the most evil book he’d ever read.
        In fact, he said it was so evil he couldn’t finish it.
        So, at the weekend, he went to the end of Brighton pier and threw it as far as he could.
        So I went to the bookshop.
        I bought another copy.
        Then I ran it under the tap.
        And left it in his desk drawer.
        For him to find.

        • Mike
          Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          Brilliant, and ?

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            The twi**r thread had someone telling a similar tale about Granddad, ending with the book being thrown into the fire. And regrets about not having thought of putting a charred copy on the bedside table.

        • busterggi
          Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Sounds like something I would do.

          Warms me cockles it does.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      Linda Ronstadt (who was sent to a Catholic school) notes that she found the graphic crucifixes gross and tried not to look. Also that being told that their childish peccadilloes were responsible for Jesus being so badly treated was so obviously wrong (since it happened before they were born) that it couldn’t possibly be true and she questioned everything else they told her.

      I got sent to a Congregational church, I seem to recall they had a crucifix, though maybe not one of the more spectacular ones, but I thought it was in distinctly bad taste.


  10. Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, I suppose it’s possible that old-fashioned puritan-area Protestants may never have seen a crucifix with Christ crucified. In fact of all westerners, maybe they are the most likely group not to have seen one.

    • eric
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      They probably consider the torture too titillating.

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    My reaction to the genital draping was the same as darwinwins above.

    Btw, I suspect a “well-preserved body” in archaeology isn’t a skeleton (though they probably warn about that too) but one preserved in a peat swamp. That dissolves the bones but preserves the skin like leather. There are some famous cases such as where a man was pulled out of a swamp after centuries, looking not much different from when he died, with rope still tying his hands behind him. There’s a horrible look on his face and it makes it very easy to imagine what he suffered.

  12. Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    For a generation raised n violent TV, Movies,and computer games, seeing real wounds of crucified should be easy.
    As a physician the first days in anatomy or surgery difficult, should be

  13. Sshort
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


    For chrissakes…

  14. busterggi
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Considering all the death, carnage, torture , etc that religion has caused, theologians should be the persons most used to seeing such things.

  15. Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, is there anybody studying theology—indeed, anybody alive—who hasn’t seen an image of Jesus on the cross?


    • Diane G.
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:18 am | Permalink


  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Please fasten your seat belts and put your seat in the upright position. Beware you may see a cloud go by. Luckily you cannot see below the airplane because the wheels have disappeared.

  17. veroxitatis
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Madness! I come from a generation of law students who were in no way surprised that the medical staff who contributed to the short course in forensic medicine delighted in displaying stills of the most gruesome murders and rapes. They counted it a victory against mere lawyers when some poor girl fainted! I also come from a profession where it was expected that one would take the next case which came along irrespective of one’s personal views. It might be rape, child molesting or fraud. Nowadays, one can be excused from taking such traumatic briefs.

  18. grasshopper
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “Figure Drawing Art Classes 101”
    — ** Warning ** —
    Students may be confronted with full-frontal nudity of male and female bodies, in provocative poses, with or without fig leaves. Bring your own charcoal.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      What? you’re not required to make your own charcoal, fresh in every class? Starting with growing the tree.

    • busterggi
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      I hate art classes held in blackface.

  19. Patrick
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    These people are going to put the Onion out of budiness

  20. Mark Reaume
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Trigger Warning for Theology Students:

    You may be presented with unsubstantiated claims that you will forced to regurgitate back as a fact in order to achieve a passing grade.

  21. Syfer
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Try to think out of the box for a moment:
    You can now, as one of your arguments for removing religious symbols from public life, mention the fact they resemble torture devices. Often with a person being executed.
    This is deeply insensitive. Think of the mental damage this might do to children. After all, we’re not showing models of electric chairs or guillotines with people being executed in public, do we?

    • BJ
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      “Think of the mental damage this might do to children. After all, we’re not showing models of electric chairs or guillotines with people being executed in public, do we?”

      We used to see those things at the haunted houses I would frequent when I was a child, but that was before everyone was “triggered” by everything.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 4:29 am | Permalink

      One of Bill Hicks’ routines imagined commemorating JKF with a sniper rifle symbol including having a sniper rifle lapel pin, going up to Jackie Onassis tapping it and saying “thinking of John”.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      Brilliant! 😀

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Lucky for this kid he never had to attend church every Friday during Lent, the way we Catholic schoolboys did, to recount all the gory, Mel-Gibson-like details of the Via Dolorosa while saying the Stations of the Cross.

    The only part of Christian theology that ever really skeeved me out was Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 4:30-31:

    … if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out … And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.

    (I hope that’s not advice given by parents who come home and catch their kid watching porn .) Still, I always managed to handle that passage straight, no warnings.

    No true theologically inclined Scotsman would do any different.

    • Carl
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      If Catholics are going to get squeamish, then when eating the actual flesh and drinking the actual blood of Jesus seems the appropriate time to me.

      • busterggi
        Posted January 12, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        And its raw yet. At least atheist barbeque babies before eating them.

    • eric
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Bah! Coming from an old school Lutheran background, we skipped over that namby-pamby Roman execution stuff and went straight to being told about all the horrible things Satan was going to do to you in hell.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:24 am | Permalink

        Free associating here–imagine the trigger warnings they need in Art History!

  23. Filippo
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    ‘As for “lecturers checking in on those traumatized students,” that just perpetuates the culture of in loco parentis, which colleges shouldn’t be promulgating. It gives those students an unwarranted sense of specialness and entitlement.’

    “In loco parentis” is the standard of responsibility imposed on K-12 public school teachers in North Carolina. I’d be surprised if that is not the standard imposed in every state. Perhaps that standard should cease starting ninth grade, so as to give students an opportunity to gain some experiene practicing some personal responsibility and accountability.

    • Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      In this case, the “loco” part seems apt.

  24. zytigon
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Surgeon/ GP Gavin Francis wrote a book, “Adventures in human being” about the various parts of the body. On page 126 he mentions a zealous French surgeon Pierre Barbet who in the 1930s wanted to investigate the crucifixion story. He tried nailing cadavers through their hands onto a wooden cross but found the nails just tore through the flesh under the weight of the body. The nail would need to be through the small bones of the wrist rather than the palm. Those wrist bones, the carpus, are held together very tightly by ligaments.
    However there is an idea that the Romans only put nails through the heel bones, the calcaneum, and actually only tied the arms to the horizontal wood with rope rather than nailing wrist or palm.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:33 am | Permalink

      When you say ‘tore through the flesh’ do you mean the hand pulled over the head of the nail, or the nail tore laterally out between the fingers? In the first case, the fix would be to use a small piece of wood* as a ‘washer’ under the head of the nail, but of course that wouldn’t work in the latter case.

      *You’d want to pre-drill it so the nail wouldn’t split it.


      • Diane G.
        Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:02 am | Permalink

        Gotta love an engineer…

  25. veroxitatis
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Ironic, in that Glasgow Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery holds on of the greatest depictions, or rather, conceptualisations, of the crucifixion – Dali’s St John of the Cross.

    • Nick
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Does nobody think that the whole thing might be ironic? That students may have asked for trigger warnings and the faculty decided to do their worst? This is Glasgae after all.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        And as the Death notices in Quake used to say, “Theologian failed to put the pin back in.”

    • stuartcoyle
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      I prefer Corpus Hypercubicus, but only because I’m a maths nerd.

  26. Billy Bl.
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    They should look on the bright side of life.

    • Jbaldwin
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink


  27. Larry
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Leading lives of quiet desperation, some people will gravitate towards melodrama just to get attention and give meaning to their lives. For some, that will be their 15 minutes of fame.

  28. loren russell
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Keep in mind that with a proper trigger warning Darwin [who famously was made ill by witnessing surgery at Edinburgh] might have had a head start at Cambridge. Probably would have missed the Beagle and become a happy beetle-collecting vicar in the English countryside…

  29. tubby
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I feel that if we got trigger warnings for naked men for figure drawing class we would have had better attendance.

  30. Stonyground
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    For some reason, this thread made me think of a disclaimer that I had to read and agree to on entering an Ironman distance triathlon. The opening sentence informed me that doing an Ironman is “physically demanding”. I suppose that would be a trigger warning for aspiring endurance athletes who weren’t actually aware that it was going to hurt a bit.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      Or the standard warning printed on admission tickets to car races when I was younger – ‘Motor racing is dangerous”.

      They didn’t feel obliged to go into exhaustive fine print.


  31. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    In the UK we have a ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ which sets out procedures and penalties for people not enforcing or following safe working practices at work. It has worked reasonably well, reducing death and injury in the workplace. It is famous, somewhat unfairly, for those in ‘authority’ (such as local council bosses) going overboard and enforcing daft restrictions on the most trivial activities.

    So it is no surprise to me that given a little ‘authority’ some people elaborate ‘trigger warnings’ into surreal and unreasoned warnings.

    Probably the same people who cannot see a pin-board in an institution without covering it with passive-aggressive instructions about returning equipment, turning off mobile phones, or not running with scissors.

  32. Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    There are some other aspects in “wanting to swim, but not getting wet”.

    The more obvious one is about consequences. You want to study X, you will be confronted with and challenged by X, which is the point.

    However, what is essential, what is optional? In some circumstances, the activity is not necessarily “swimming”, but just “something while in beach attire”. You can accept that, without getting wet. Maybe you want to tan, or build a sand castle. Not in the theology case, but there is some greater current, or undertow in the grand ocean nonetheless.

    The attitude behind such trigger warnings could also be driven by something else, that gets overlooked in the Special Snowflake narrative. What if the culture of the internet, and other shifts indeed have created a culture of customization, and not just naked (or beach-dressed) individuality?

    In recent history, you had to go through motions that simultaneously provided stability and predictability. I’m on the late edge of Gen X, the lost and useless generation of grunge, so I have an idea where the direction is going.

    Most people I know have worked in half a dozen companies and they aren’t yet fourty. We were told to show stability in our CVs, and found out it’s all a big lie and a scam.

    In a more big picture sense, I see that trajectory where individuals say: “okay, all bets are off. You aren’t keeping your promises, world. You demand extreme flexibility, demand that I follow your every whim. But I’m turning the tables now. You aren’t keeping your side of the bargain and give me something to settle in, no stability, and I know you Babyboomers are exploiters and liars. So, keep your crap, I stay poor if I must, but I will discrimminate, will be a difficult customer, and cherry pick and drag you down with it. I want to do X without the Y, it’s all brutal cutthroat now, just as you wanted it, now dance, because I am the customer.”

    I think there is some element of that, coupled with “because we can”. Maybe older generations are perplexed by streaming video and watching whatever you want at any time, but to millenials, it’s how the world is like. It’s individual, cutthroat, hyper flexible and global. Students pay for education with obscene debt? It’s not even sure for what they even need it, and it might be fake or obsolete by the time they are finished. The contract doesn’t work anymore. There’s at once an over-abundance of everything, and yet, everyone stares into insecurity and precariousness all the time.

    But not actually having to endure poverity, yet always being threatened by it can instill a sense of romanticism, resistance and defiance. At the moment, it’s a stalemate: the “establishment” makes all the demands and threatens that if you don’t do as they say, it’s dire for you, yet it needs millenials to cooperate and consume, or enlist. But that the threat doesn’t work anymore. Your degree is already useless, or there’s a sense that it is so and there is no stability. Because competition works many ways, and because millenials aren’t actually living in the streets and freeze, they can transform the threat into being a hyper-picky customer, who otherwise romanticises their refusal to cooperate as “resistance”.

    I’m obviously polemical and playing a bit of devil’s advocate, though I think complaining about it is just step one. The next is understanding what’s going on, and I think this is one other facet.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:40 am | Permalink

      “…I know you Babyboomers are exploiters and liars…”



      FWIW, baby boomers faced their (our) own obstacle of there being too few jobs for the glut of them. We were the first PhD’s driving taxis…

      Sigh, just Googled something similar, and the related search terms listed below were

      how baby boomers ruined the economy
      baby boomers worst generation history
      how baby boomers screwed us
      baby boomers caused this mess
      how baby boomers ruined the world washington post
      baby boomers ruined america reddit
      baby boomers don’t understand
      baby boomers ruined australia

      FFS. We also brought you civil rights, first wave feminism, the Stonewall riots and subsequent birth of the gay rights movement, Earth Day and the first national concern for the environment, the antiwar movement…not to mention sex, drugs, & rock ‘n roll…

  33. Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I think all universities should have just one “warning,” given at the time of acceptance: As part of your attendance in this institution of learning, you will see images that may be disturbing. You will also encounter words and ideas that may challenge your deeply held beliefs, and which you may find upsetting or even offensive. If you are not capable of processing these “triggers” like a rational adult, then you are coming to the wrong place, and we advise you to reconsider your application.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 2:41 am | Permalink


  34. Posted January 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I guess their art department should have a warning about Auguste Rodin’s “Gates of Hell” too, or the reproduction of it in Philadelphia that I first saw in grade school. And when I taught human anatomy, I was up to my elbows in at least 250 cadavers. No trigger warnings either time.

    Oh, and I agree with Robert Elessar. The only “trigger warning” for college should be if you don’t anticipate encountering some things here that may challenge and possibly upset you, stay home!

  35. zytigon
    Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    If the Laws of the Hebrew bible did not have crucifixion on the menu of capital punishment options then the god of chrisitanity who supposedly stipulated those laws must have all along schemed to have a foreign power ruling the region with rules that did include crucifixion so that Jesus could fall victim to that means of death. Since the Hebrew laws are claimed by the Old Testament to date to before the Israelites entered the promised land then the christian god must have schemed from that time that the Israelites would fail to reign supreme, meaning the promises of,’ obey me and you will have victory’ were deceptive.

    This would explain why babblegod didn’t just miraculously teleport all the non chosen ones off planet Earth, away to exile on an unknown exoplanet.

    The Old Testament god could have taken an easier route by simply revising his laws every century.
    O.T god might plead that he wasn’t the same god as the New Testament god.

    I guess the crafty christian apologist is going to come back with this excuse: “That God knew all along that he needed to trick the wily devil into crucifying Jesus. Since the devil would try to do the opposite of what God wanted then God made it look like he wanted the opposite of what he really wanted– he chose the Israelites so that the devil would choose the Romans and he said he wanted stoning as punishment for blasphemy so that the devil would pick crucifixion, hence in letting the devil think he had won, actually God won and saved the few chosen ones”

    How would that be different than God just decreeing, “crucify my dearly beloved Son when I send him down to Earth so that I can forgive a chosen ones” ? Lacks plausible deniability ?

  36. jeffery
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I’m not knowledgeable about TV programming and films in Scotland, but I suspect the chances of any child’s having NOT been exposed to thousands of instances of graphic violence (and that doesn’t take violent video games into account) and sexual activity long before the time they’re ready for college are pretty low- at least that included in college courses has a PURPOSE to it other than that of “entertainment”. This SJW-derived attitude of, “We must protect the poor snowflakes’ little minds at all costs” continues to reach for ever-new heights of unreality and ridiculousness. Why, if they were forced to watch Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of Christ, they might be scarred for life and have to be institutionalized!
    One DOES need to be a little careful, though- I met a guy years ago in California who took his four small children to go see “Team America” under the impression that it was a cute puppet movie for kids…..!

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