You Are Triggering Me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma

You Are Triggering Me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma

A very well-written post by Jack Halberstam at BullyBloggers, a.k.a. “the queer bully pulpit you never dreamed of” —

I was watching Monty Python’s The Life of Brian from 1979 recently, a hilarious rewriting of the life and death of Christ, and I realized how outrageous most of the jokes from the film would seem today. In fact, the film, with its religious satire and scenes of Christ and the thieves singing on the cross, would never make it into cinemas now. The Life of Brian was certainly received as controversial in its own day but when censors tried to repress the film in several different countries, The Monty Python crew used their florid sense of humor to their advantage. So, when the film was banned in a few places, they gave it a tagline of: “So funny it was banned in Norway!”

You Are Triggering me!

Humor, in fact, in general, depends upon the unexpected (“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”); repetition to the point of hilarity “you can have eggs, bacon and spam; spam, eggs, spam and sausage; or spam, spam, spam and spam!”); silliness, non-sequitors, caricature and an anarchic blend of the serious and the satirical. And, humor is something that feminists in particular, but radical politics in general, are accused of lacking. Recent controversies within queer communities around language, slang, satirical or ironic representation and perceptions of harm or offensive have created much controversy with very little humor recently, leading to demands for bans, censorship and name changes.

Debates among people who share utopian goals, in fact, are nothing new. I remember coming out in the 1970s and 1980s into a world of cultural feminism and lesbian separatism. Hardly an event would go by back then without someone feeling violated, hurt, traumatized by someone’s poorly phrased question, another person’s bad word choice or even just the hint of perfume in the room. People with various kinds of fatigue, easily activated allergies, poorly managed trauma were constantly holding up proceedings to shout in loud voices about how bad they felt because someone had said, smoked, or sprayed something near them that had fouled up their breathing room. Others made adjustments, curbed their use of deodorant, tried to avoid patriarchal language, thought before they spoke, held each other, cried, moped, and ultimately disintegrated into a messy, unappealing morass of weepy, hypo-allergic, psychosomatic, anti-sex, anti-fun, anti-porn, pro-drama, pro-processing post-political subjects.

"Such hardship competitions, but without the humor, are set pieces among the triggered generation," writes Jack Halberstam
Such hardship competitions, but without the humor, are set pieces among the triggered generation, writes Jack Halberstam

Continue reading at BullyBloggers…

 

2 Responses to "You Are Triggering Me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma"

  1. Pingback: You Are Triggering Me! The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma | Adult WIkiMedia

  2. Ernest Greene   July 10, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 AM

    The right has no monopoly on censorship. Because they’re good at advancing their political agenda we’re more aware of their attempts at silencing opposing view.

    But the left has nothing to brag about in that department. They first tend to silence dissenters within their own ranks by public shaming. Then they move on try limiting speech in the name of “protecting” vulnerable individuals. In fact, what they’re trying to protect is their own vulnerable ideas, which often don’t stand up under rational scrutiny. Thus if you make it impossible or at least risky to address certain whole topics their perspective on those topics becomes the default view where they are (generally in limited enclaves like higher education and left-leaning media).

    The results are the same. People are told to shut up and, faced with various penalties for non-compliance, generally do.

     
    Reply

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