The Age Of Indignation


Some guy who’s going to host a TV show has just caused a huge fit of umbrage because he once tweeted about ‘fat chicks’ and made a joke about Jews. How dare he! People are arguing about whether he deserves to host a TV show.

Prepare yourself for an endless witch-hunt if this shit goes on. Nobody will be allowed to say anything that might be objectionable to anyone.

The subjects of gender and sexuality are already so fraught with potholes of political incorrectness, it’s not worth getting involved. If you use the wrong word for transgender, you’re just a big mean homophobe. The Fat-Shaming thing is a variation we have already discussed here.

I’m wondering if this is the result of social media and internet trolling, or if it’s a natural consequence of liberalism. Being progressive now means being constantly indignant. When did everyone become such big babies?

I’ve been reading about the problem of free speech on college campuses, and the absurd level of sensitivity that students now require. There is a controversial ‘Trigger Warning Movement‘ afoot. You have to be careful not to ‘trigger’ someone by talking about rape or racism. You have to make sure everyone feels ‘safe.’ It’s like there are only two factions, bullies and victims, and if you’re not one, you’re the other.

Oberlin’s faculty members are advised to:

“[u]nderstand triggers, avoid unnecessary triggers, and provide trigger warnings.”

Triggers are something that:

“recalls a traumatic event to an individual, and experiencing a trigger will almost always disrupt a student’s learning and may make some students feel unsafe in your classroom.”

Now, here’s the juicy part. Professors are told to be aware of….

“racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression. Realize that all forms of violence are traumatic, and that your students have lives before and outside your classroom, experiences you may not expect or understand.”

This leads to changes in curricula and worries about material that might trigger someone. Madame Bovary might really fuck someone up, given its ending.

Here is a great essay on the situation.

Meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite jokes.  A Priest and a Rabbi are standing on a corner chatting when a little boy walks by. The Priest says, “Let’s screw him!” The Rabbi replies, “Out of what?”

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13 Responses to The Age Of Indignation

  1. annemarie says:

    Trigger warnings are a crock of shit. I was enraged for several days when I first learned about that thing about Oberlin. The point of education is to trigger– to trigger thought, passion, rage, love. I teach in a university and I say stuff that I know no American prof would say. I have proudly uttered the words nigger and cunt in class. I can see the shocked expressions on students faces, but I think most of them understand what I am doing (and I probably get a longer leash because I have an accent). But I always try to emphasize:
    1) that a text ABOUT racism does not a racist text maketh.
    2) that none of us have the right to be sanctimonious about how right-on our views are because it’s that very arrogance that causes racism and misogyny and homophobia to move underground, insidiously metastasizing in our unconscious because they are now the thoughts that dare not speak their name. (Look at what the forced celibacy of Catholic priests led to!)

    Patton Oswalt wrote a 53-tweet response to the Tervor Noah kerfuffle. I love how he emphasized the word “problematic” (please tell me this word is also on your hate list?).

    (1/53) Q: Why did the man* throw* butter* out of the window*? A: He wanted to see* butter fly*!

    (2/53) “Man” in my previous Tweet should not be construed as privileged, misogynist or anti-trans.

    (3/53) Nor should there be ANY assumption of said man’s race or religion. It could be an African American man, Asian, or any one

    (4/53) of the vast multi-cultural mosaic which make up the world we live in today. “Man” was simply an archaic placeholder for the

    (5/53) “subject” of the joke, and thus should not denote privilege nor exclude any sexuality, religion, nationality or offend any

    (6/53) feelings the joke listener may or may not have or have ever experienced in the past. Furthermore, the action of “throwing” is

    (7/53) NOT meant in any way to imply an exclusion of the differently abled, or even someone who@may have ever felt excluded from

    (8/53) or knows someone who was thus excluded.

    (8/53) And the choice of “butter” as the object being thrown was in NO WAY an insult to those with a strict lacto-vegan diet or

    (9/53) ANYONE who may be lactose intolerant, might KNOW someone who is lactose-intolerant (or knows someone who is ka to-vegan) or

    (10/53) may meet someone of those two persuasions anytime in the future. Also, “butter” does not mean the joke-teller is unaware of

    (11/53) or insensitive to the abuses in our current factory-farming dairy industry, including neglect of animals or additions of

    (12/53) hormones, pesticides or other contaminants. Also, PLEASE accept this pre-emptive apology if the word “butter” was a trigger

    (13/53) for any time in the past the joke recipient may have been called a “butter face” or knows someone who was insulted in such a

    (14/53) fashion. Aesthetic shaming is real and bullying hurts us all.

    (15/53) Also, again, privilege. What else? Oh yes…

    (16/53) “Out the window” was NOT meant as any sort of insult to the homeless population, in that the phrase “out the window”

    (17/53) could EASILY be construed as placing the butter-thrower in a house which

    (18/53) the butter thrower owns.

    (19/53) The triggering potential for “out the window” is not to be underestimated.

    (20/53) Nor should the act of THROWING AWAY food, which can be read as a violent, corporate-centric status maneuver.

    (21/53) Privilege.

    (22/53) Privilege.

    (23/53) Privilege?

    (24/53) PRIVILEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’nnn

    (25/53) The pronoun “he” in the 2nd part of the joke should, again, NOT be taken

    (26/53) as a patriarchal assumption.

    (27/53) Parts 28 through 36 will simply be the word “problematic” for your use in any other interpretation of the pronoun “he”

    (28/53) Problematic.

    (29/53) Problematic.

    (30/53) Problematic.

    (31/53) Problematic

    (32/53) Problematic.

    (33/53) Problematic.

    (34/53) Problematic

    (35/53) Problematic

    (36/53) Problematic

    (37/53) “See” is, we all know, VERY POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING to any seeing impaired or blind people hearing the joke

    (38/53) And, again, a pre-emotive apology is meekly offered.

    (39/53) And the fact that Twitter does NOT offer a Braille version of its website is part of a larger problem

    (40/53) which the joke was IN ABSOLUTELY NO WAY making light of.

    (41/53) Finally, the fact the man wanted to see butter “fly”

    (42/53) implies a flippant attitude towards mental illness or the subjects lack of abstract or

    (43/53) or symbolic/empathetic thought which was NOT the aim of the joke

    (44/53) or the joke teller. But context, as we know, does not matter. Only individual words and feelings do, so

    (45/53) as always, and from now on, no matter what the intent, aim, or satirical content

    (46/53) the deepest apology is offered to ANYONE

    (47/53) ANYWHERE


    (49/53) who found any offense in the previous joke.

    (50/53) Jokes should always entertain. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HEARS THEM.

    (51/53) A simple series of clarifying post-joke Tweets like the ones I just sent out will insure EVERYONE a gentle, comforting chuckle.

    (52/53) Welcome to comedy in 2015, @Trevornoah!

    (53/53) Also, the “come” part of “welcome” shouldn’t be construed in a “faggy” way.

  2. Dj says:

    Totally agree and think Americans are in a constant state of puberty, hysteria and confusion. Grow up! We have so devolved into being indignant babies it’s embarrassing. Aren’t they exhausted?
    Here is what I think should be off the table as of 2015 AD:

    Homosexuality. LGBT etc
    Interpretations of the constitution

    I am so sick of hearing all the constant yammering about these things…I am more concerned with economic, medical and peace solutions/progress than whether or not someone is called a big fat homosexual white chick who is stealing my liberty by not letting me drag a cross down the interstate…so useless…….

  3. Helen says:

    That’s one of my fave jokes too, though I prefer to use “fuck” rather than “screw”.
    My husband posted it on his f-book page for Easter.

  4. Maggie says:

    Reminds me of an art teacher I had in college, who told me and another student one time about how both her parents were killed in a murder suicide committed by her grandfather when she went away to college. She was our mentor and I was deeply touched that she shared this story with me. The other student complained to the administration that she had been traumatized by having to hear about it.

  5. Marla griffith says:

    college is a place to explore ideas, they may not necessarily be valid. I agree, we are becoming so fearful of saying anything controversial, but is that so bad? Do we need to hear racist and sexist comments and let them slide under the ” guise of humor”? Howard Stern is a great comedian and social commentator, but he has censored himself, and past shows, to become more acceptable to his AGT bosses. Black face was once acceptable, aren’t we better off without it? Women get to vote and own property. People change and grow. It’ difficult, I know.
    As far as progressives being indignant, I find the teabaggers are always throwing a fit or, ” indignant” for no apparent reason, ie, they want their country back, drink huge containers of soda, no climate change, etc, etc.

  6. Dj says:

    Forgot to add marijuana to my off the table list…….yes, forgot

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Marla griffith – I know what you mean about self-censoring and it’s a good thing. We don’t need to be oafs blurting out hate speech.

    But I don’t agree about tea-baggers: I think they’re enraged rather than indignant. They’re practically frothing at the mouth because there’s a black man in the White House and some people don’t want babies.

    annemarie – !!! What a fucking great series of tweets! Ha! And I wish I could take your class, you fucking cunt! xoxoxoxo

  8. Sister Wolf says:

    Dj – Hahahahaha! p.s. just smoked some dope, shhhhhhhh

    Helen – Great husband.

    Maggie – and now I’m traumatized by the student who complained. It never ends with ‘triggers.’

  9. Ali says:

    I think we should all be able to talk about what the fuck we want – but professors at universities shouldn’t be talking about complex and nuanced race, sexual assault, abuse, and gender issues of they aren’t knowledgable about these subjects. They are paid to teach! A lot of professors use these subjects stir shallow excitement or cherry pick ideas from people who actually know what they’re talking about to procure grant money. Nothing wrong with talking about this stuff in a public setting as long as the professor is capable of not only wha to just spoke of, but also, of moderating the conversation so it doesn’t become a clusterfuck of people spouting outlandish bullshit about these subjects.

    Everybody can stop being indignant though – people at large FUCK UP ALL THE TIME, nobody is immune. You can’t expect random humans to be on the same page as you.

    The most important thing is that humans who grapple with the issues derived from either race, assault, abuse, gender, sexuality, (or a few of these at ounce) should feel supported when they cut out the people in their lives close to them who refuse to engage a nuanced conversation about identity or trauma.

    The worst thing about these indignant people is that they’re looking outward instead of looking inward.

  10. Ali says:

    *lots of errors! Sorry, I am writing from my phone!

  11. Sister Wolf says:

    Ali – Yep, good point about avoiding giant ignorant clusterfuck.

  12. David Duff says:

    So there goes Shakespeare out of the college windows!

  13. WendyB says:

    I laughed Diet Snapple out of my nose at that joke.

    I haven’t visited here (or anywhere) in so long and I’m having a great time catching up.

    P.S. Trigger warnings are fucking bullshit and I’m entitled to feel fat whenever I fucking want to.

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