Posts Tagged ‘trigger warnings’

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Books sample trigger warning labelSensitive snowflake students will soon need trigger warnings for some of the world’s most famous literature, an award winning author has claimed.

Julian Barnes was stunned to learn young university pupils had been critical of the behaviour of book character’s like Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Students in the US called the protagonist, Emma Bovary, a bad mother based on her affairs, her lifestyle longing to escape dull, provincial life.

The 72-year-old told those gathered at the celebration of the Booker’s half-century on Sunday:

I don’t know where to begin to unpick that.

As for students asking to hear in advance the bad things that happen in Titus Andronicus.

We might as well have a trigger warning on all great works of literature.

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armstrongs war posterNew theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.

This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production’s mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.

A subsequent production, Armstrong’s War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:

This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.

And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.

James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.

I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they’re not blindsided by it, then they don’t have a negative reaction to it.

MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:

Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided by it.

For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.

Montreal’s Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women’s perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn’t a trigger warning anywhere in sight. Imago’s artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:

I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I’m not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they’re about to experience.

She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.

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Two Days One Night DVD A blogger at theincrediblesuit.blogspot.co.uk has written an impassioned and eloquent plea against spoilers contained inBBFC consumer advice:

As a foreign language arthouse film, Two Days, One Night arguably attracts a certain type of audience: one who, at the very least, has gone to the trouble of finding out the thrust of the story in order to decide whether or not to see it. So it’s fair to suggest that most people watching the film in a cinema know that it concerns Cotillard’s character, Sandra, struggling to get her job back by pleading with her workmates to convince them to forego their bonus.

What, then, does that audience think when the words suicide attempt appear on screen as a warning about the film’s content, alongside the BBFC’s 15 certificate, mere seconds before it starts? I can’t speak for everyone, but my own thoughts went something along the lines of: Oh right, so at some point things will get so bad that Sandra will try to kill herself. I’ll just sit here with that information stored away, waiting for it to happen, shall I? THANKS A RUDDY BUNCH, THE BBFC.

…Read the full article

It’s surely a bit tough on the BBFC. In the world of political correctness, suicide is one of the highest priorities for so called ‘trigger warnings’. Surely you can’t let people sensitive to suicide watch films like this without being warned.

The Guardian reports that the BBFC have seen the error in its ways:

Now the BBFC has said it will aim to stop giving too much away. The body began publishing the information on the card last year, and has tried to balance helping people make informed choices with not spoiling the storyline.

It said the problem rarely arose but it had sympathy with those who felt their enjoyment had been affected.

It believes it can tackle the issue in a pragmatic way without compromising the need to inform the public about a film’s content .

The BBFC will trial a new policy examining whether a potential spoiler can be withheld from the information prior to the film, although it would still be available online. The policy will be reviewed after six months.