According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest buffoonery college students pay for are ‘trigger warnings’. The idea is that some books may contain passages or words that are offensive to some readers.
Who determines what is offensive to whom has not been clarified. But apparently, even a popular and well-known novel, such as Huckleberry Finn, may have words that trigger a sense of outrage, indignation or humiliation. Delicate students need to be warned so they can avoid these things.
Meanwhile, Washington is under pressure to put a trigger warning on its football team. The press reports that ‘Redskins’ is offensive to parts of the population. The typical fan replies that he has no problem with the word ‘Redskins’. He thinks, au contraire, that it honours the people his ancestors tried to exterminate.
But he misses the point. No one cares what he thinks. The ‘warning’ is for the benefit of others, those who think they have the right to tell him what words he may or may not use.
Some words are OK. Others are taboo. Ideas, too. And associations.
The Church of England has just given its clergy some guidance. It is not OK, says the Queen’s Church, to join the British National Party or the National Front. These political organisations are guilty of the “sin of racism”, it says.
We don’t recall racism being on the list of mortal, or even venial, sins. We don’t know how you commit it. But the Church of England has found a British political party guilty of it. Without trial or appeal even.
Our friend Reverend Peter Mullen, C of E, reports that the dean of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson, was actually a member of the Communist Party, even when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany, with whom England was at war.
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They must have been more open-minded back then. They didn’t boot him out. Or try him for treason. Soviets considered him a “useful idiot” to whom they gave the International Stalin Peace Prize in 1951.
The Communist Party is still in good standing with the Church of England, as far as we know, despite being largely responsible for 30 million deaths. And every other whacked-out group that ever owned a mimeograph machine.
Yesterday was a slow day in the markets, so let us take advantage of it to warn sensitive readers: over time, we are bound to offend just about everyone. Or, at least we hope so.
Gay readers, people of colour, Native Americans, those with Republican or Democratic tendencies, honkies, zombies, jackasses, the rich, the Pope, the poor, Argentina, soldiers, lawyers, fatties, skinny people, cripples, fascists, collectivists, libertarians, half-wits and retards, WWII veterans, global warming believers and deniers, Keynesians, monetarists, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, intellectuals, artists, rap stars, architects, frogs, krauts, wops, sex changers, Albanians, Gypsies, Congress, the state of Indiana, old people, young people, middle-aged people, dead people, heroes, cowards, the elite, oligarchs, poligarchs.
We can’t think of any group, distinction or feature unworthy of ridicule.
Here in Normandy, the creaky veterans of D-Day are gathered on the coast. Every heart beats with pride for those who survive. Every eye mists in remembrance of those who didn’t.
The French newspaper, Le Figaro, tells the story of 19 young men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, who died on Omaha beach on the 6 June 1944.
But what were they doing there? What dog did those Virginia farm boys have in the Europeans’ fight? The Nazis were awful. But so were the Soviets. The Bedford boys may have helped defeat one group of nasty people, but they contributed to the victory of another. And what for? So, America’s political elite could throw its weight around on the international stage.
There, have we offended everyone now?
Still, one thing stands out, where we need a special trigger warning: The Daily Reckoning is bound to offend anyone who thinks central bankers know what they are doing. And modern economic theories may trigger severe allergic reactions in readers whose common sense is still intact.
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