5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

On behalf of adults with jobs everywhere, it'd be really great if people stopped being so sensitive.
5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

It seems like more and more people can't help but lose their minds over what I guess I'd call "social justice issues." It's really starting to feel like they can't handle a simple difference of opinion. All they do is sit online, getting offended and causing problems for us normal folk who are just trying to do our jobs and get through the day. It's like, calm down, ya know?

So, on behalf of adults with jobs everywhere, I'd really prefer if people stopped being so sensitive, because now ...

Trigger Warnings Are Ruining Colleges

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

There's no better evidence that hypersensitive college kids have gotten out of hand than the proliferation of so-called "Trigger Warnings." Turns out that a bunch of cowardly "trauma survivors" and their wimpy "PTSD" are coming into classrooms across America and demanding that people put these warnings in front of anything that they might find offensive. Wanna talk about Huck Finn? Too bad, you can't, until you give everyone a Trigger Warning that it contains offensive language.

The whole concept is terrible, and it's destroying America.

How We Can Stop Being So Sensitive About It

My first step in taking down Trigger Warnings was to find them being used in day-to-day life so I could mock them, but when I Googled "Trigger Warning," I couldn't find any. Instead, I found a mocking Urban Dictionary definition, a Neil Gaiman book, and then a bunch of articles about how the whole idea is dumb (which I already knew).

Why L Use Trigger Warnings The New York Times ww.nytimes.com..hy.uso-triggorwarnings.hm.. The New York Times Sep 19. 2015- TRIGGER warnings have been

Oh, wait: That one article is about a professor who actually uses Trigger Warnings! I wonder what the deranged censorist has to say!

Increasingly, professors like me simply give students notice in their syllabuses, or before certain reading assignments. The point is not to enable -- let alone encourage -- students to skip these readings or our subsequent class discussion (both of which are mandatory in my courses, absent a formal exemption). Rather, it is to allow those who are sensitive to these subjects to prepare themselves for reading about them, and better manage their reactions.

That ... actually makes perfect sense. Because accommodating the needs of students is an important part of pedagogy. But surely the thousands (if not millions) of other professors using Trigger Warnings are coddling the students and turning them into whining babies, right?

Shit. I guess not, since in the only study on the use of Trigger Warnings, fewer than 1 percent of those surveyed had any experience with Trigger Warnings in college classrooms at all. There wasn't even any strong consensus on what a Trigger Warning is.

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues
Scharfsinn86/iStock/Getty Images

"I think I found it!"

This is kind of embarrassing, but I guess the best way to deal with this Trigger Warning epidemic is to stop getting so upset whenever you hear about Trigger Warnings. Maybe the answer is to ask people to give some kind of preemptive notification before they use trigger warnings. Perhaps all articles that have Trigger Warnings should preface those warnings with a Content Notice to prepare us for Impending Advisories.

Trans People Keep Forcing Us To Memorize New Words

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

Look, everyone: I'm fine with acknowledging transgender people, but I draw a hard line at this apparent mandate that we all memorize a thousand new pronouns. I'm sure that violates one of the Amendments (the eighth one, if I were to hazard a guess). And I know I'm not alone. This is a very real fear.

Mar 9 @JFSargent Does remembering a myriad of weird made-up pronouns and genders cost you nothing? IMHO it's a lot of wasted mental effort.

Our mental effort is at stake, people.

If someone comes to me and says I should be kicked out of polite society because I haven't memorized a bunch of new words, I will resist! I will fight them on the beaches! I will fight them in the streets! I will not learn new things!

How We Can Stop Being So Sensitive About It

To solve this problem, I went on a journey, a journey I'll call "living on this planet and largely going about my own business for roughly three decades," and I discovered that, ah, no, there's no new language that trans people are forcing us to learn, and nobody is threatening to kick me out of society. At least not for this reason (jury's still out on my singing voice). In fact, we're pretty much just using the two pronouns you already know, though occasionally someone will prefer "they" or "ze." So that's one new word to remember. Trans people are less demanding than the writers of Game Of Thrones.

In fact, even when I read the writing of people who are at the point of being angry and defensive and vocal about being called by the wrong pronoun, they're still stunningly articulate and patient about the whole thing. They tend to react with more patience and understanding to other people intentionally misusing pronouns specifically to piss them off than I react when someone takes a superhero I like and makes a bad movie out of him.

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

I'm so scared of being hurt again.

So, I guess that, like with the Trigger Warnings, it's actually me -- the guy this whole issue doesn't affect at all -- that needs to stop being so sensitive. I guess my best option is to just not think about it so much, beyond remembering which pronoun people would prefer I use. Which I was going to do anyway.

So ... what do you think I should do with all this extra mental effort I have now? Let me know in the comments!

PC Culture Is Silencing Everyone

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's being politically correct. I'm a fucking comedian, you limey cocks and cunts; I need to have the full roster of the English language at my disposal to do my job correctly. That's why I participated in #TheTriggering, an online movement to take back our language by saying all the righteous stuff that the hypersensitive PC Police are trying to quash with their oppressive, fascist agenda.

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

Wait, sorry, I must've gotten confused, because that's the normal stuff I hear all the time, all around me. I don't know who's trying to stop people from saying that Planned Parenthood is a bad organization or that #BlackLivesMatter is a failure, but apparently they missed the entire Republican Party and most of Reddit and my uncle.

Foton Foon nigger faggot kike cracker wetback jap beaner I love seeing how unhinged liberals are getting porch-monkeykill yourself fucking over efferv

There we go! That's more like the stuff people tell us we can't say! Now, about this movement ...

How We Can Stop Being So Sensitive About It

I have a quick question before we get too into this: Is it really bad that we frown on this stuff now? Would the world be better off if everyone walked around shouting slurs for no reason? I'm not saying we should pass a law against it, but neither is anyone else. For example, there's no law saying I should shower regularly, or flush the toilet when I'm done, or that I should wear headphones when I listen to Don McLean's American Pie, but I do those things because I like the people I work near and I want them to have good days. I don't casually use the N-word or make gay jokes for the same reason. Is this a personal weakness?

The comedian Anthony Jeselnik recently said, "Anyone who's complaining about PC doesn't want to work that hard on the jokes." A lot of people complaining about PC culture seem like they're just not very smart or clever and are frustrated that this is holding them back. For example, the person who came up with the idea of #TheTriggering and bragged about how successful it was said in an op-ed said that part of her motivation was that it's "ridiculously fun" to repeat old, mean-spirited jokes like these:

Mar 9 How do teach a paraplegic to swim? Weld his wheelchair to a submarine! Offensive iokes : free speech @CdnHumanRights #TheTriggering

That's her tweeting.

I just think it's weird that the person passionately defending free expression couldn't come up with her own mean joke; she had to steal one from "Tasteless Jokes To Offend Your Parents!" -- the book her math teacher confiscated in third grade. Which is the incident that made her such an ardent free-expression activist in the first place. I admit that I don't know if that's true. Maybe she thinks "originality" is a flavor of workout shake. It's also possible that the brain-slug controlling her actions is made weaker by creative thought. There's an infinite number of possible reasons that someone isn't funny, but "political correctness" is literally never one of them.

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

Safe Spaces Are Coddling Our Students ... ?

Sorry about that question mark. I admit that I'm getting a little self-conscious about my rage, here, since it keeps turning out to be misdirected. But "Safe Spaces" ... have got to be bullshit, right? I mean, it sounds so stupid. Like on South Park, when they have Vin Diesel and Steven Seagal demanding Safe Spaces to protect them from mean Internet critics:

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

Haven't the celebrities taken enough from us? Can't they just stop being so sensitive?

How We Can Stop Being So Sensitive About It

Goddammit, it only took me five seconds of Googling to discover that (again) Safe Spaces are nothing like what South Park thinks they are. Nobody is talking about giving celebrities Safe Spaces to be famous in, the discussion is about college kids who have traditionally been victims of harassment being allowed to not be victims of harassment for a while. Like, if you're a gay college student and active in the PRIDE group, you can go to a "Safe Space" where you're allowed to just hang out and people aren't allowed to ask you questions about what it's like to be gay. It really just sounds like a "home" to me and ... I haven't been keeping up, but we're still allowed to have private homes, right? And to choose who we live with? I wouldn't choose to live with somebody who listened to dubstep, and that's my right as an American. I assume that right extends to people who don't want to be called a "fucking Jew" while they're trying to watch the new season of Daredevil.

Because that's what "Safe Spaces" are. They're just homes. I have a safe space, I guess, in that sometimes I don't like to talk about pop culture and make jokes; I just wanna sit on my couch and read or poke around the inside of my car pretending that I know how engines work. Are we making fun of people for that now? Please let me know in the comments.

Outrage Culture Is, Surely, Ruining Everything. Surely.

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues

Why is everything such a big deal these days, huh? Why is everyone so outraged, all the time, about everything? Why can't anyone just calm down and rationally discuss the issues? It makes me so mad that I wanna- oh no I can already tell where this is going.

How We Can Stop Being So Sensitive About It

I have a fun game I like to play, and maybe, if you want, you can play it with me. Don't worry, you don't have to stand up. Next time you hear that a bunch of people are mad about something, just Google it and try to figure out how many people are actually mad, and what they're actually saying.

Here, I'll do one for you: You know how college students these days keep kicking speakers off their campus if they don't agree with them? Even Obama thinks that's a bad idea! Turns out that if you go and read what the students actually say, in a lot of cases they aren't trying to kick the speakers out -- they're just protesting (challenging an idea directly -- the exact thing we want them to do) and the speakers are choosing to leave (refusing to engage with people who disagree with them, the exact thing we're criticizing the students for doing). So wait -- is the point of this controversy to tell college students they can't voice their disagreements and that they have to keep their opinions to themselves? Sorry -- who's the enemy of free speech, again?

5 (Statistically BS) Complaints About Social Justice Issues
Rahul Sengupta/iStock/Getty Images

It's the person expressing the opinion that you don't like, right?

It happens with Conservatives too: Remember the Starbucks red cups controversy? Not a thing. You can track the whole thing back to a video made by Joshua Feuerstein, where he tried to convince everyone to make a big commotion over it. A few people agreed to, because Feuerstein is a charming guy and a talented entertainer, and he made the whole thing sound fun. But I can't actually find anyone who was genuinely mad about Starbucks having red cups. Even the people who believe in the War on Christmas thought it was pretty silly.

Then there's the "Underage Red" incident, which I discussed with Adam Tod Brown on his last podcast. It's the same basic thing: A woman tweeted a joke about a silly lipstick color, and the Internet reacted as if she was starting a movement. But, of course, she just thought it was silly. It was the people complaining about over-sensitivity that were actually being over-sensitive. "You need to stop getting your feelings hurt!" the Internet said, because its feelings were hurt. "Just take a joke!" they said, loudly and publicly unable to take a joke. Isn't that weird? It's so weird.

I get that social progress is fueled by outrage. But on the modern Internet, careers in entertainment can also be fueled by outrage. So next time someone tells you to get really mad about something, maybe take a few minutes to make sure that something isn't really dumb.

JF Sargent is a senior editor for Cracked. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Check out more of Sarge's rules of life in 6 New (Simple) Rules That Will Make Facebook Not Suck, and find out why the only thing to get up in arms about is candy in 5 Reasons Modern Candy Is Total Bull$#!t.

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