Maher declares war on trigger warnings: ‘It’s like if seat belts were made out of broken glass’

Liberal comedian Bill Maher declared war on so-called “trigger warnings” during the latest episode of his HBO show, “Real Time.”

He began the relevant segment by citing a recent study about said warnings.


“A new study from Flinders University analyzed a dozen other studies on trigger warnings, and they all came to the same conclusion: they don’t work. Not only don’t they protect your feelings, but if you actually have been traumatized by something they’re warning you about, a trigger warning makes it worse,” he said.

“It’s like if seat belts were made out of broken glass. It winds up just being a reenactment of the old joke how do you keep a  p—y in suspense — I’ll tell you later,” he then quipped.

As previously reported, so-called “trigger warnings” became popular on college campuses back during the Obama era. They’re basically a warning telling soft people that they might be horribly offended by something.

“Students started demanding them so they could get ready in case something in a book, or a piece of art, or a history lesson reminded them that life included bad things and not just good and sometimes people were mean. You can’t have that just sprung on you,” Maher explained.

“Several universities in recent years have even compiled lists of words we should be warned about to get rid of altogether, including balls to the wall, no can do, you guys, master, white paper, man in the middle, gyp, off the reservation, peanut gallery, insane, and virgin,” he continued.

Two years ago, for example, students at Brandeis University released an “Oppressive Language List” containing normal, everyday words that were allegedly offensive, including “killing it, beating a dead horse, and yes, even trigger warning,” according to Maher.

But “at some point,” he lamented, the trigger warning fiasco “escaped” from college campuses and entered the real world. These days, trigger warnings are ubiquitous.

There are “warnings at the top of Reddit threads and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram posts, warnings before your favorite serial killer series, before news articles,” Maher explained.

Disney even put a “trigger warning” on “Dumbo.”

“Theaters do it now too. The storied Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis tipped off their crowd that a play included simulated gunshot, strobe lights, and haze … in case you’ve been groped by a thick fog,” Maher continued.

“A theatre in Brooklyn alerted the audience to expect moments of darkness and violence, and this was for Oklahoma. My senior class in high school put on ‘Oklahoma,’ and I thought it was corny and provincial then. I cannot imagine the fragility of someone who needs to be warned about it. How do these people get through the airport, let alone through childhood,” he added.

Likewise, two years ago London’s Globe Theatre included a suicide “trigger warning” for “Romeo and Juliet” …

“But Romeo and Juliet has been in your Netflix queue since 1596. You’ve had 400 years to prepare. And also, it does kind of give away the ending. I don’t understand how a society that’s so in love with spoiler alerts can also be into trigger warnings. Tell me what’s going to happen, but don’t tell me,” Maher commented.

Continuing his commentary, Maher then aimed his fire directly at “trigger warnings” themselves.

“What they do is reinforce the idea that trauma is central to your identity and that you should let it define you instead of dealing with it, dispatching it, and moving beyond it. People wonder why the younger generations have so much anxiety. It’s this stuff. Lots of stuff makes us uncomfortable,” he said.

“You know what makes me uncomfortable? This bullsh-t. People who start every conversation with ‘as a person who,’ ‘as a survivor of.’ I’m triggered every time I see a trigger warning because I’m reminded of how weak my country has become. It’s like wearing a mask on your mind,” he added.

Concluding the segment, the liberal comedian then offered young listeners some pertinent advice.

“Bruce Wayne, you’re familiar with, was afraid of bats. So what did he do? He became Batman. That’s the way to go, because honestly, we cannot go any further in the other direction we’ve been going in. We’ve already passed the point of parity,” he said.

“A student group in Australia recently called for trigger warnings on eye contact. Even the Taliban are okay with eyes. Eye contact? Were you traumatized as a child after losing a staring contest? What’s next — trigger warnings for conversations? Having everyone walk around with name tags that say ‘Hi, I’m Dave, please don’t bring up doorknobs’ or “Hi, I’m Josh, I have a drug problem and a hairy back, so don’t mention cocaine bear,” he added.


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Vivek Saxena


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