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Thread: Being Free to read and write whatever you want

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizmonster View Post
    I'm not sure where people are seeing all these specious trigger warnings. I see them primarily on forum posts, here and therabouts, and I read about them happening at universities, but not often (and, with a few exceptions that I tend to read with skepticism, handled fairly reasonably). The only common trigger warnings I see are movie and TV ratings, which are indeed crude, but not entirely useless.

    And I'm not clear how they harm anyone. Back in the stone-age days of Usenet, they were pretty common. And they didn't restrict what you could talk about - they freed you up to write as vividly as you needed to, because you didn't have to worry about people sensitive to your subject matter - they weren't reading, because you'd already warned them off. Trigger warnings expanded what you could comfortably discuss.
    That's exactly the thing. In the past, these topics often weren't discussed at all. By putting a warning in, people have the choice to not read it if they don't want to.

    I don't see that it's any different to warning about anything else, e.g. swearing, nudity, whatever. Or like on DVDs where it has info next to the certificate, saying why it's got that rating, e.g. for The Heat it has "15 - contains strong language, violence and sex references". I have kids and this is very useful info to know what's suitable for them and what's not.

    Seems to me the alternative is either to ban everything (i.e. like banning any film that doesn't have a U certificate), or to have no information about the content of anything whatsoever, meaning that people who know they're sensitive to certain things, and parents who want to keep things age-appropriate for their kids, not to mention NSFW warnings for people viewing the internet at work won't have the information they need to make an appropriate decision. This would lead to massive amounts of complaints about things people found offensive in films, books , forum posts etc which would be completely avoided with simple warnings.

    I hate the term "trigger warning" though. Why not just call it a warning? If people are getting their knickers in a twist over the idea that a "trigger warning" is a completely new thing, then maybe just call it something else.

    Unless trigger warning means something completely different to the above?
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 08-12-2017 at 10:26 PM.
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  2. #27
    tiny hedgehog JetFueledCar's Avatar
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    I gotta say here, the author of the original article seems oblivious to me.

    I'm white, but I'm aromantic. I don't feel romantic love, I don't see the point of romantic love. I'm also sex-repulsed asexual. It's been pointed out elsewhere, though I can't find where now, that these are villainous tropes. It's a sign of evil to be "unable to love." Does this author really not see how that's harmful? Does this author not understand that when everyone in stories is either waiting to be paired up or "broken" in some way, it influences how people treat people like me when I tell them I don't want to get married, I don't want kids, I don't even want to kiss someone who isn't my family?

    Or let's go with one that's really prominent: the Evil Albino. (Warning: Link goes to TV Tropes. Judge the time it will take to read accordingly.) Albinism really happens to real people. Show me one instance where they get a positive role model. Not even one that's not smothered in problematic assumptions and misinformation--just a positive role model who looks like them.

    Hard mode: If they're sexualized, it doesn't count.

    Bonus: Try to find one for the "designated evil disabilities" linked in the page.

    When we see a certain kind of representation in fiction, it absolutely does influence how we treat the representative's real-life counterparts. It does. It's been shown over and over that books influence our worldview--Harry Potter gets used a lot. Why is it so revolutionary, why does it upset us so much, to think that now we might actually have to act like it?
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  3. #28
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    When Sarah Hoyt isn't engaging in woeful misreading of Early Modern English in the form of Shakespeare retellings and pastiche, she's one of the Sad Puppies.
    Last edited by AW Admin; 08-12-2017 at 11:21 PM.

  4. #29
    tiny hedgehog JetFueledCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    When Sarah Hoyt isn't engaging in woeful misreading of Early Modern English in the form of Shakespeare retellings and pastiche, she's one of the Sad Puppies.
    So just to be clear. The person telling us that "free men and women" are free to read and write racism and sexism and every other -ism and pretend we don't hurt anyone...

    Is, in a very public way, all of those -ists.
    "Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days, nothing else matters." - Neil Gaiman

    In the Batman movies in the 60s, the Batmobile was designed to run on jet fuel. It looked cool and went fast but it could only run for about 7 seconds at a time. So now you know why a hyperactive project-hopping writer is called JetFueledCar.

    It's not a political Twitter, but I'm a political person, so it amounts to the same thing.

  5. #30
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JetFueledCar View Post
    So just to be clear. The person telling us that "free men and women" are free to read and write racism and sexism and every other -ism and pretend we don't hurt anyone...

    Is, in a very public way, all of those -ists.
    Pretty much, yeah. Also she seems to think catachresis is socially acceptable.

  6. #31
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post

    I hate the term "trigger warning" though. Why not just call it a warning? If people are getting their knickers in a twist over the idea that a "trigger warning" is a completely new thing, then maybe just call it something else.

    Unless trigger warning means something completely different to the above?
    The right has a habit of taking terms coined by the left--trigger warning, political correctness, privilege, diversity, even the word "liberalism" itself, out of context and turning it into an insult. Then people on the left eventually start objecting to the use of the word too, because it becomes indistinguishable from the right's straw-man version of it.

    Is the left just terrible at inventing catch phrases for complex concepts, or is the right all about discrediting and destroying anything that challenges their status quo?
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 08-13-2017 at 12:09 AM.
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  7. #32
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    The right has a habit of taking terms coined by the left--trigger warning, political correctness, privilege, diversity, even the word "liberalism" itself, out of context and turning it into an insult. Then people on the left eventually start objecting to the use of the word too, because it becomes indistinguishable from the right's straw-man version of it.

    Is the left just terrible at inventing catch phrases for complex concepts, or is the right all about discrediting and destroying anything that challenges their status quo?

    Did lefties coin the term "politically correct"? I've only ever heard it said by socially conservative people in the whole Daily Mail-ish "PC gone mad!" kind of way. I thought the phrase had come about due to their objection to being called out for being bigoted.

    So yeah, not just indistinguishable from the straw-man version of it... the concept gets completely swamped by the straw-man version.
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  8. #33
    figuring it all out AnthonyDavid11's Avatar
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    Absolutely. Be free to do whatever you want. Freedom of speech protects the unpleasant. Dictatorships only allow the pleasant. Great post!

  9. #34
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    Did lefties coin the term "politically correct"?
    Pretty much. But meaning and usage have shifted, and the term is now so variously defined that two people could use the term in a conversation with one another and mean entirely different things by it.

  10. #35
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    or is the right all about discrediting and destroying anything that challenges their status quo?
    Oh, I think that tendency is fairly universal to human nature and human groups, be they political, religious, corporate, or familial.

  11. #36
    practical experience, FTW Jan74's Avatar
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    Yes we are FREE to write and read what we want, however we aren't FREE from the consequences of those choices. I've read the various blogs etc on The Black Witch novel and think the blog is reading way too much into her opinions and picking apart the book. But she is free to her opinion and her write to blog about it, however it becomes tricky if you are doing so with malice to make sure that author can't make a living, maybe the blogger is jealous of this new author and her success.

    I enjoyed twilight, after reading the series I came across many blogs that tore the novel apart and I'm glad I found these blogs AFTER I read the books, I wonder if they would have swayed me? I think these bloggers were just looking for juicy fodder to increase their subscriber numbers, and so be it, it's a free world. Twilight and Bella were touted as being dangerous for young girls etc, I found it to be an innocent romance that many women of all ages flocked to in droves.

    So I don't think blogs and naysayers can take away someone's right to buy a book, or write a book(fake names) they might join the bandwagon and flog the book while they have it on their kindle and they are in the midst of reading it

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  12. #37
    practical experience, FTW buzhidao's Avatar
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    Dunno man. I think the author is missing the point, but then I can't quite nail down what point she's aiming at. The post seems to argue a few things --

    1) Books can't physically hurt people, which is an invented counterargument to an argument that doesn't exist,

    2) Ideas such as those contained within books can't hurt people, which, to me, is either great ignorance or a remarkable way to misunderstand most of human history,

    3) Don't let negative reviews keep you from reading a book, which sort of defeats the purpose of all reviews everywhere, cos the entire point of a review is to help decide whether or not to spend your time and money on the book, isn't it?
    Last edited by buzhidao; 08-16-2017 at 05:29 AM.

  13. #38
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
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  14. #39
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzhidao View Post
    3) Don't let negative reviews keep you from reading a book, which sort of defeats the purpose of all reviews everywhere, cos the entire point of a review is to help decide whether or not to spend your time and money on the book, isn't it?
    Negative reviews are sometimes more informative than positive ones. I've bought many books based on the content of a negative review. I always appreciate when someone who's actually read the work takes the time to explain their reaction to it - it's that explanation, not whether or not that person liked the book, that gives me some insight into whether or not I'd be happy spending money on it.
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  15. #40
    Friendly Neighborhood Mustelidae The Otter's Avatar
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    Yes we are FREE to write and read what we want, however we aren't FREE from the consequences of those choices.

    I hear this argument a lot in regards to free speech, and IMO it kinda misses the point.

    Yes, no one is free from the consequences of their actions: the question being debated, usually, is whether those consequences are fair or appropriate, and whether we should support or condemn them. There are a lot of gray areas, because free speech as a social value is a lot more nuanced and complicated than free speech as a legal principle. But the two concepts tend to get used interchangeably.
    Last edited by The Otter; 09-01-2017 at 08:36 AM. Reason: clarifying some thoughts

  16. #41
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    I think we are in an interesting time period. On one hand, the open access to communication and information has propelled people to pushing the limits of writing like never before, tackling new potentially formerly taboo subjects and exploring topics people might shy away from. On the other hand, as I feel people on a whole are still new to the social media age, the idea of triggers, being offended, and most importantly, anticipated offense, have run rampant. People and groups often censor themselves in fear of an anticipated outrage over something. This can make people hesitant to tackle certain subjects. However, we are at a point where the topics that do push envelopes also often get noticed and popular. These things can attract just as much support in the information age as they do criticism. So it's a bit of a double edged sword. I think in the end on the question of are we free to read or write, it falls down to yes in the modern times, you just have to deal with the initial response to it. I would argue in the past it was less free, as everything felt a bit more closed off.

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