Friday, March 20, 2015

Trigger Warnings

      I've been thinking about "trigger warnings."

      I was thinking about them today especially, since I just saw the movie NEIGHBORS (2014) and thought a couple of times before it was over that it should come with, "CAUTION: The sex and nudity that earned so much of this movie's 'R' rating includes a nude Seth Rogan having sex" (which might cause negative reactions with some people). Let's just say, finish your popcorn somewhere in the first twenty minutes of the film.

      More so, I've been thinking about "TW's" because for once I was ahead of a curve. Thomas P. Dunn and I put our tongues lightly in our cheeks and provided WARNINGs and CAUTIONs in the bibliographies (filmographies, discographies, etc.) we provided in the essay anthologies we edited in the 1980s, The Mechanical God: Machines in Science Fiction and Clockwork Worlds: Mechanized Environments in SF, and, much more so, our compilation Clockworks:  [...], our List of Works Useful for the Study of The Human/Machine Interface in SF (1993).

      I immodestly list some of these precursor-TW's below.

      With the SciFi "underwater ALIEN" flick DEEPSTAR 6 (1989), " (Caution: Do not depend upon this film for details about decompression.)"

      With the US/Italian LEVIATHAN (1989), which rips off — sorry, which is more militantly intertextual with — ALIEN than even DEEPSTAR: "Caution: Arguably more sexist and less reliable on decompression than Deepstar Six.) "(Caution: Cronenberg's The Fly can be rough going for people figuratively weak of stomach or literally strong of gag mechanism.)

      On MANN AND MACHINE (1992) and a whole bunch of other movies from the 1970s on, "Caution: Contains material offensive to the 4th Amendment and other parts of the American Bill of Rights."

      On the role-playing game The Cyberpapacy: The Sourcebook of Virtual Reality (1991): "Caution: The Sourcebook is impeccably antiFascist; we're less sure of the game as played.
Commenting on the novel Codgerspace, by a competent and well-known author whose initials you might recognize: "Caution: In Codgerspace ADF attempts ethnic humor; he's not very good at it."
On the more or less cyberpunk Psychodrome novel, " uses consciously 'the dangerous female' motif. " (I.e., the femme fatale — but we tried to stick to English.)

       On an (otherwise) excellent book from 1963, which became an important movie: " "(CAUTION: Readers who like their prose lean may find long stretches of OBS too ornate for their tastes.) "
Well, etc., especially in Clockworks 2: The Wiki, where I've upped the volume with caps for CAUTIONs (and one TEXTUAL WARNING so far) and have included cautioning people that they might be dealing with a book written in High Theory, so they might want to allow plenty of time to get through it, plus exercise time to work off anger if you are like me and react poorly, though strongly, to jargon and opacity.

      The truly serious warnings in the Clockworks series primarily involve the US Bill of Rights, which is violated casually and frequently in a number of works, especially with Search and Seizure — Warrants are for wimps! — and violence against suspects. In a mutually reinforcing feedback loop with real world violations, such motifs are as dangerous as any scene that might cause a post-traumatic stress reaction and far more dangerous than scenes that might make readers, viewers, and/or auditors merely uncomfortable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment