Go On. Pull That Trigger

*Trigger warning: this post contains special snow flake melting triggers, you’re not the center of the universe triggers and meltdown triggers for unspanked babies over the age of twenty – you’ve been warned.*

First let me tell you I don’t discount PTSD triggers.  One morning, a few years ago, I came out of the grocery store with my son.  For various reasons I was very stressed, but also very stressed in a way that had been familiar in my youth, where on a few occasions people near me were shot or at least shot at.

When a car backfired, I found myself under a parked truck.  I’d dropped the bags and taken a long dive.  My son was looking at me like I had gone around the bend.  I had to crawl out, grab the bags, and explain.  I was shaky the rest of the day.

Now, this doesn’t even happen every time a car backfires, and I’ve gone to a gun range without looking for shelter.  The noise bothers me, but it’s not that bad (It bothers me because it’s in a range that hurts my ears, not because it gives me flashbacks.)

But put me in the right kind of stress, in the right situation, and the back brain takes over.

I don’t care.  As issues go, it’s not that bad.  Weird, yes, but not that bad.  And it gives me understanding for friends who have much worse triggers to much worse flash backs.

Other PTSD symptoms from growing up in an unstable country are more subtle.  Two hours after hearing about the World Trade Center bombing, I was driving back from the grocery store, my truck filled with groceries, but particularly cooking oil and toilet paper.  This is in no way rational.  There was nothing about the bombings – even when we thought there would be a lot more of them, as we did – that would affect the supply of canola oil and toilet paper in Colorado in the proximate future.  BUT in Portugal in the seventies having these in stock was a very good idea, as they often disappeared from store shelves.  In other words, they  made the confused, scared kid inside me feel safe.  It’s all right.  Took me a year to get through the supply, but it’s all right.

Some of my friends with much worse experiences sleep with a gun at hand, or under their pillow at certain times of the year.  Or completely isolate themselves from humanity for two weeks, because they can’t be trusted not to snap at a triggering incident.

I don’t know anyone – not one person, and trust me I know many sorts of people who are broken in many sorts of ways – who gets their PTSD triggered by a WRITTEN word or a blog post.  I could see, perhaps, a novel that was all-absorbing, about a civil war triggering my feeling of vague stress that could make me vulnerable to PTSD.  This is one of the reasons that, though I love military SF I don’t read it often.  And I have to be careful when I write anything resembling it (I don’t write military sf, I don’t know enough about life in the military, never having served.)  But it would have to be a darn good novel. ALL absorbing.  Way beyond being “a good yarn.”

Normally the triggers are more primal and connected to the gut.  Smell is one of the strongest, in most humans.  You know that, right?  Smell something and suddenly you’re there, when you were three and seeing whatever.  Sight, of course.  Often a certain season/time of year with all the cues.  I thought Pratchett did that beautiful in Night Watch with the smell of lilac.  It was RIGHT.

So what in holy, bleeding, sulphurous h*ll is this about?

Twenty years ago, critics such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, and Karen Lehrman described the bizarre “therapeutic pedagogy” in many women’s studies classrooms, where female students were frequently encouraged to share traumatic or intimate experiences in supportive “safe spaces.”  Today, at many colleges, academic therapism has spread to other fields.  Welcome to the age of the trigger warning.

The trigger-warning vogue began a few years ago on feminist websites, and then spread to other “social justice” blogs.  The idea behind them is that for people who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something that reminds them of the trauma can trigger painful flashbacks and panic attacks.  Initially, the warnings were primarily for sexual assault and partner abuse. Eventually, on some blogs, they spread to just about everything that could be potentially upsetting  to any person of politically correct sensitivities: sexism, racism, homophobia, “ableism,” “victim-blaming,” “slut-shaming,” “fat-shaming,” “body-shaming” and a host of other sins and oppressions.  (My personal favorite, from Melissa McEwan’s Shakesville site, is a warning for “discussion of gender policing”–that is, of norms dictating proper bounds of masculine and feminine behavior.  How startling to find such a discussion on a feminist blog!) Warnings for mere references to gun violence, suicide, self-harm and various mental disorders, as well as things that trigger phobias–from spiders to small holes (really)–have proliferated as well.

I’ve seen those warnings a couple of times, usually on articles about cutting or other addictive dysfunctions.  That I understood.  These are ADDICTIVE dysfunctions.  If you cut, you do it for the endorphins.  There is a seduction to it for you.  The same for drug use.  I can see where a well written, evocative, biographical article on it COULD start you thinking about it and could lead to your wanting to do it again, even though you kicked it.  G-d knows I understand that.  Every time I give up writing, I read a book…  Never mind.  Not the place to joke.  (And I’m not even sure I’m joking.)

I get that type of warning and it’s where I’ve seen them.  If you still choose to go ahead and read the article, you should have a quick dial to your buddy or twelve step counselor or whatever.  Right.  That’s fine.  You’re more than allowed.  You’re encouraged to do this.  In certain circumstances, maybe, if you squint, an article on suicide might even lead you to consider it again.  If the article makes it appear as wonderfully seductive as it has to me in my worst times.  NOT normally, but if you’re at just that point.  It’s a small demographic, but I could totally see a warning before playing certain songs or reading stories to a group of people that goes “If you’re suicidaly depressed…”  (Of course, who admits to that?  And to what end personal responsibility?  Most of us who are cyclically inclined towards depression are aware of it, and compensate.  Weirdly, actually, sometimes the more depressive songs are what pulls me out of it.)

But what the heck, people, seriously WHAT THE HECK?  sexism, racism, homophobia, “ableism,” “victim-blaming,” “slut-shaming,” “fat-shaming,” “body-shaming”?  Spiders? Small holes?  WHAT?

You cannot have PTSD to any of those, because none of those are the sort of trauma that causes PTSD.  Guys, I have black friends who lived in South Africa, under Apartheid, who don’t have PTSD relating to racism.  They get upset at it, sure, (everyone does, with real racism) but they don’t have PTSD.  There can be no “trigger” unless your idea of “trigger” is “something that makes me feel uncomfortable.”  If that’s it, then everything is clear, from the “triggers” for mentions of spiders and small holes, to not feeling safe at a convention because someone, somewhere might make a fat joke.  (Actually fat jokes don’t even make me feel uncomfortable.  I know I’m fat.  I don’t like it.  For various reasons I have trouble controlling it.  But you know what?  It’s still funny.  Heck, I make fat jokes myself.  My favorite is that if my local thrift store doesn’t stop putting size 3 suits in the size 18 section, I’m going to find the sorting clerk and sit on her.  At my weight, that’s serious punishment.)  A fat joke can offend you, if you feel it’s directed at you – though then, that’s not a joke, but just a rude remark.  In the same way a sexist/racist/homophobic comment might upset you.  THAT IS NOT A TRAUMA.  That’s just being bothered and upset.  The proper outlet for it is to either roll your eyes, tell the person they’re annoying (if they’re nearby and not like a performer), not listen to/read the person again, OR, if it really gets on your nerves, vent to your friends about it.

I knew we were in some sort of trouble when I stole my kid’s psychology textbook and found that having mood variations of any sort was being classed as “bi-polar” and needing medication.  I have no idea how it’s being applied, but let me tell you, I know what a real bi-polar person is like.  I grew up with one.  Getting mildly upset or happy doesn’t make you bi-polar.  It makes you human.

You can’t feel unsafe because someone near you might possibly eventually say something that could remotely perhaps apply to you and upset you.  You can’t even feel unsafe because someone might turn to you and tell you you’re a fat cow.  You can get angry, but getting angry is okay. To feel unsafe you have to have a reasonable (note, REASONABLE) expectation of physical HARM.

Listen to me – this thing you’re experiencing?  This upset in the pit of your stomach?  It’s perfectly normal.  Trust me.  It’s part of being human.

That thing where whatsherface heard Larry Summers say that at the very top in the sciences there were few qualified women and felt like she was going to faint or throw up?  Learned reaction.  And the fact that she somehow got it into her head that she should never, ever, ever be upset.

Any woman who feels the need to faint when faced with a statistical truth – that women tend to cluster in the center of the bell curve while men cluster in the center.  Yes, there’s more male geniuses.  And more male morons.  BUT this is not predictive of any given woman or man.  It’s a statistical universe thing – is an unspanked baby.

No, I don’t believe babies should be spanked.  (Yes, I can see the twitter storm now.  That’s fine.  I don’t care.  They’re going to play telephone with anything I say anyway, let them have their fun.)  But I do believe that if you’re never been metaphorically spanked, if the world never hands you a set back, if everyone tiptoes around you and tries to make sure that your tender, delicate, lilac scented feelings can’t ever ever ever be offended, you’re not going to grow up.  You’re going to continue to think like a baby who attempts to control his environment by crying and pumping his hands and feet.  And the more mommy and daddy – or total strangers who buy into your entitlement – rush to protect you, the more you’ll try the trick because, oh, my, that must be your G-d given right.

Listen, princess (and it’s mostly women, though some men are also drama queens) I don’t care how privileged your upbringing, how cushioned your adolescence; I don’t really give a good g*ddamn how many people told you that you were special and must be accommodated in all things, you’re human, living in an human world, and sooner or later reality is going to bite you on your pink powdered ass.  And the longer it takes for reality to bite, the worse it will hurt.

This doesn’t make you a victim (and being a victim doesn’t make you a good person, btw) or entitled to compensation.  Depending on how you take it, it either makes you a grown up, or a bloody nuisance.

But you have TTTTTTRAUMA.  Some uncouth man has looked at you too long, slapped your butt, told you that you were hot…  Some guy – trembles lip – tried to get into your roooooom at a con.

Look, my upbringing was no worse than most people’s.  It was probably better than most in my time and place.  My parents were middle-middle class.  By education probably upper middle class.  BUT thank G-d neither of them believed that I should be raised as the bubble girl, with every harsh feature of the world and humanity cushioned and softened for me.

I know they didn’t like to expose me to what was at the time and place quite a rough and tumble world.  I didn’t like to expose my kids, either.  I remember that first day in kindergarten, letting go of the kid’s hand, knowing they’d get in trouble, be made fun of, be spoken harshly to.

I didn’t get advanced from first to fourth grade because fourth grade was the last grade in the village, and after that I’d need to take a bus to the middle school.  Mom thought a girl of eight was too young.

Now let me tell you why she thought so.  Portuguese buses are usually overfull.  There is either a class of men who rides the bus all day practicing frottage, or there are a lot of these men.

Yes, I’ve had total strangers pleasure themselves by rubbing up against me.   When I was as young as 11, which is when I did go to 5th grade.  Do I have PTSD due to that?  Oh, hell no.  It was ewwwwwwwwwwwwww beyond all measure, but it happened to everyone and I had been warned.  On the advice of my female cousin/sister (she was raised with my brother and I) Natalia, I’d provided myself with one of grandma’s hat pins.  It became a game to shift just slightly, then STAB.  Oh, the screams, the clutchings, the moans that they weren’t doing anything.  (At which point more often than not the conductor would come and toss them out.)

There were other worse incidents.  It was the culture.  Does this mean I feel unsafe around men?  Oh, please.  Why should I?  WHY would that be a horrible trauma?  Some stupid idiot thought he could get off by doing this.  It makes me feel disgusted, but disgust – LISTEN TO ME – is NOT TRAUMA.

Being rubbed on by a stranger, or being groped by one, even, or even being cornered in a deserted classroom by a guy six years older who is intent on raping you IS NOT TRAUMA.  NOT if you got out of it unscathed.  It was scary.  Oh, it was very scary.  BUT BEING FRIGHTENED DOESN’T CAUSE TRAUMA.

Rape can very well be trauma.  Very bad trauma.  But how many of you have been raped?  Tell me the truth, princess.  Not “slept with him and found out he was not very nice.”  Not “my friends all thought I was stupid for sleeping with him, so I told them it was rape.”  How many of you have been held down and forcibly raped?

I know there are real cases of this.  And I know it causes trauma.  I have friends – female AND male – who have been raped, and who are still traumatized by it.

But look, honeychild, if being “slut shamed” is enough to traumatize you, you’d expect these people who have been VIOLENTLY and FORCIBLY raped  to be huddled under their beds, crying, right?  For the rest of their lives?

The people I know are all functional human beings.  They might have some scars they have to route around, but I can tell you something, your highness, NONE OF THEM WHO READS THIS (and a few will) will complain I “triggered” them.  They can be triggered, yes.  I’ve handled meltdowns with a couple of them.  But not by reading some words on a blog post.

I know my friend, Amanda, likes to just yell at people like you to “grow up” – yeah.  You should.  But I don’t know if you can.  That is, I don’t know if it’s that easy.  Sometimes I wonder if this panic and “injury” is sort of like the psychological version of humans who grow up in houses that are too clean end up having asthma, because their body reacts to ANYTHING as a major threat.

If that’s the case, you can’t just volitionally do it.  But you should try to do it, nonetheless.  Expose yourself to the company of those who disagree with you and DO try to defend your point, instead of screaming they’re hurting you and running away to the “comfort” of all your friends who will pat you on the back and assure you that it was indeed horrible trauma.  Depending on how capable of immersing yourself in art you are, reading biographies of people who really WERE traumatized and didn’t end up as quivering pools of jelly (the world is full of them.  No, seriously) might help.  Or you could help people who have it worse than you.  Take yourself out of your comfort zone.  Baby steps.  Remember, being upset is not abnormal.  It’s part of human existence.  And you are not a fairy princess.  You’re human like the rest of us.

But you have to do something – other than scream and moan and demand to be protected. — Because I’m going to tell you this, Rapunzel, right now a well protected Victorian maiden would laugh her ass off at you.  As much as they presented the “delicate maiden” to the world, theirs was a rougher environment, and they were likely to withstand a lot more than you can, including death of siblings and worse. Certainly being spoken harshly to and being TRULY discriminated against.

And here’s the thing, Cinderella, if you don’t change your ways, you’re giving Victorian maidens a bad name.  I don’t care how much you roar in your “safe” places that you’re an all conquering warrior queen.  The first time you faint at a harsh word, you’re validating all the stereotypes people like me don’t want to have brought back.

You know the whole frottage thing in buses?  And why it was dangerous for a woman to be out alone after eight?  And why a lot of families where I grew up considered it dangerous to send their daughters to mixed-gender schools at all?

Because women were assumed to be too fragile for this harsh workaday world.  They were supposed to be kept cabined, cribbed, confined – PROTECTED by their men.  And any one that was alone out could not be a virtuous woman, not even an 11 year old girl.

Now I wasn’t in the first generation to break that, not by a long shot, BUT there was still enough of that in the culture that I had to be aware of and fight and show that I could handle things so I’d be allowed to go on.  A lot of that.  And I fought back at it, because I did not want to be “protected.”  I was a human being and I wanted to be treated as one.  I wanted to learn and work, and be, just like my brother or my male cousins.

But if you keep up with the helpless-flower act, you’re going to end up giving people the impression that ALL OF US need to be protected.  Slut shaming?  Why, darling, you might not end up locked in the house, but the generation after you will.  It’s so easy.  “I don’t let my daughter go to school.  She’d faint if someone made a joke about her body.”

Next thing you know, we’re all in burkas and being kept from that terrible rough and tumble world.  Maybe that’s what you want for the generations of women after us.  It’s not what I want for my potential granddaughters or great granddaughters.

So, princess, get off your tuffet and stop making like you’re a melting special snow flake.  You aren’t.  And before you destroy what much better women than you have worked for, I’ll see you in hell.*

*and if you thought the last was threat and you wanted to faint or run away, then yes, this post is all about you.

532 responses to “Go On. Pull That Trigger

  1. What you are describing is simply another move in the on-going attempt to rebrand censorship as a good thing. The overall goal is to control what people are allowed to say and write.

    Because freedom of speech is such a self-evident benefit to everyone, it is necessary to create a special class of victims who are so delicate that being exposed to any uncensored words may damage them.

    This moves the argument away from the right of people to speak and write as they choose and instead makes the speaker guilty of potentially traumatizing a hypothetical audience. Since the claim that somebody might feel bad if she or he reads a particular statement is inherently unfalsifiable, this gives the censors an unlimited fiat.

    • Eh, freedom of speech is, unlike the badness of murder, not a self-evident thing. If it were, it would have been protected from the earliest law codes, but most law codes are more likely to have only proscriptions of some speech. The reason why it was a long and reluctant journey to such protection is its obvious badness, in that it allows people to spread lies, foment problems (and not just in the eyes of the upperclass — these special snowflakes are using speech to foment problems), and do many other nasty things.

      And indeed, we have not learned to not abuse it. We have just learned that letting the authorities suppress it gives them authority than is wise.

      This is important because its obvious badness opens up an obvious line of attack.

      • William Newman

        “Eh, freedom of speech is, unlike the badness of murder, not a self-evident thing.”

        True. More generally, negative rights and the rule of law are not self-evident either. More than 100 years ago seems to have been the high water mark for people consistently having an allergic reaction to principles that by construction must be enforced selectively because they aren’t well-defined if applied universally or by any other obvious objective standard. (So in practice it becomes a procedural thing, e.g., the zoning board or treatment panel or judge decides, and there’s seldom a clear basis for objectively saying a decision is wrong.)

        One of the unpleasant things about the left — and arguably one of the defining foundational things about the left — is that they gravitate toward this kind of designed-for-corruption “rule” or “principle” or “right” that can’t possibly be applied impartially.

        Like this kind of trigger-warning rule, or various other speech limitations. Like pretty much every “positive right” in practice, and some other very fuzzy things (brotherhood? dignity?) promoted to the level of ordinary clear rights. Like “principles” about how words have no essential meaning — see e.g. the “wise Latina” speech where right before that famous phrase Sotomayor invokes such a “principle” to discredit Justice O’Connor’s use of the word “wise” (“there can never be a universal definition of wise”) before using the word herself without feeling any need to be more careful about it.

        Some other things like getting rid of material inequality, or internationalist socialism, are important examples too. They are common, and while in principle they are borderline cases, in practice they’re solidly in the same category. In principle with enough determination you might actually consistently carry through something resembling those, though it seems farfetched. In practice, it just doesn’t happen. There will be deciders for whether that piglet is raised or eaten. There will also be extra nice material stuff and related permissions and perquisites reserved for the in group. Redistribution will flow to the in group’s power base, with no credible effort to send it to the absolute neediest people the society is in contact with instead.

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  3. To the snowflakes: I work in a job where I am constantly being drug back to Kandahar. The first half dozen times, it shook me pretty hard and I was actually physically disoriented for several seconds. I didn’t say, however, oh noes, it’s too scawwwwy and reminds me of Bad Place…I just learned to keep myself oriented properly and eyes forward. My experience allows for that level of adaptation; others may not.
    I still keep a weapon in arms reach to feel safe sometimes. It doesn’t make me into a hermit.

    I can’t hear Amazing Grace anymore without a tear; if there are bagpipes involved, I’m toast.

    Fact of the matter is, I’ve learned to live around the PTSD…not let it rule over me. Again, my experience allows that adaptation. Others cannot and must create larger buffers…but never once have any of my friends, many of whom are scarred much deeper than I, ever told me that some words on a screen or page leaves them a mess.

    They’ve lived through literal hells, and are still standing, moving, living. Please tell them how the time someone said something mean has left you with unbearable scars. I close my eyes and see the coffins marching past one by one. I see rockets streaking overhead. I see a wall of unfriendly faces, armed and ready to kill us, to take one of my troops and have their way with her.
    What do you see, little precious snowflake?

  4. I was five, the first time my mother told me I should kill myself for the good of the family. My parents’ marriage was at the first rocky point I know about, and voices raised in a certain way, with a particular note of nastiness will have me flashing back to hearing glasses shatter on the wall while I try to distract my sisters to keep them safe in our bedroom … followed by that “lecture” by mom, the confused attempt I made that night at what I took to be her order, and her “lecture” the next day about the proper way to cut one’s wrists when she discovered me still alive with just a tiny scratch on one. I couldn’t, you see, figure out how to break apart a safety razor. I already knew the “right” way to cut.

    When I was seven (after I did experience the trauma of the adult-male-forcing-himself-on-me sort, twice, different adult males, that somehow I hid from the parental units … mostly), and depressed (gee, I can’t imagine why), I started gaining extra weight. Not much, but .. to someone who had only been over 100 pounds for the first time when she gave birth to me, *any* extra was so shameful as to be worth abuse. She started telling me on a near daily basis that, not only was I a fat cow, I should be dead because of it. I was an absolutely horrible daughter for not following her orders to fix that whole “alive” thing. She encouraged and allowed my younger sisters to heap abuse on me, daily, and if I dared retaliate (against them) in any way, she made up all sorts of things to tell my father, so that when he got home, I got the buckle end of a belt across my back and butt. That part went on for several years, until the day I was thrown across the living room by my father, smacked my head against something metal, and snapped. I only vaguely recall trying for his throat with my teeth when I snarled and launched back at him; I do recall everything being hazy red. They suddenly realized they’d raised a twelve-year old perfectly willing to commit violence to protect herself. (But it was my fault — that part, no, it never changed.) For some reason, none of that abuse ever helped the extra weight thing. Gee, I wonder why.

    Of anyone, *I* am the one who should have PTSD about fat jokes. I get a little triggery around anyone who is *cruelly* sarcastic to people I care about; I can’t help it as that was always the prelude to the verbal and physical abuse. Quickened breathing, clenched fists, vision going red and hazy kinda thing. I do what any mostly civilized berserker learns to do — I leave the area as long as I know that there will ONLY be words involved. If someone close to me says something about my weight that isn’t positive, I’ll usually be able to hold myself together long enough to lock myself into a small room (where it’s “safe”) to cry until I get it out of my system. There have been a couple of patient discussions (after I settle down from bawling my head off in private) about why I’m so easily hurt by comments of that nature, and what precisely about them is what “cuts.” The people who care are the ones who try to learn from those discussions and avoid the key trigger phrases. I certainly don’t expect to “correct” the verbal and mental habits of a lifetime in a single discussion, but — fuck, they can’t know what’s wrong if I don’t explain it to them. No one’s telepathic. And it’s also not their fault. I know who to blame for my reaction.

    Fat jokes, however, just piss me off, just as do the jokes about “get that girl a sandwich!” for anyone deemed TOO skinny. For those I have “pull” with, a glower or growl is usually all I need to do to correct that behavior. For those who fail to understand the physiological aspects of obesity and metabolic syndrome, I have been patiently explaining that, yes, that very overweight person may indeed think they’re starving to death and “need” an entire cake for a snack. It’s not about willpower — it’s about broken bodies, the wrong foodstuffs, and bad information. I wish I could campaign and “fix” everyone, but I can’t. So I try to spread *good* information instead of *bad* information, to at least protect those around me insofar as possible. Instead of flailing around about how everyone’s feelings need to be protected, these … people … should be emphasizing good taste, politeness and propriety in their nearest circle. They should be encouraging people to educate themselves on topics of nutrition (if they “trigger” about “fat jokes”) — truly educate, not just look at myplate.gov for answers — and educate themselves. Flailing about and saying that every group (but one) is a protected class *doesn’t help anyone.* It doesn’t address the very real issues involved, and it most certainly cheapens the victory involved in coming out of a situation as I did, as a mostly functional, responsible, and productive adult.

    Still, I can’t help but resent them attempting to equate me having blood drawn by parental units for being overweight with them being offended at some random stranger’s rude commentary. I’m not going to apologize for *that*, though. Sadly, it would also violate the dictates of proper behavior to soundly punch them to give them something to REALLY whine about.

    • I took some time off before I answer to digest what you said. We’ll say that we have some background in common and leave it at that. Not QUITE the mother part, but stuff either my parents/remaining relatives don’t know about or don’t want to talk about. My mom realized/remembered some of what I went through at 11 some months back and we had a very difficult three hour conversation. I don’t want to hurt them or make them uncomfortable, which is why this post wasn’t as much true confessions as I could make it.
      Weirdly, I even understand your body issues. My mom didn’t tell me to kill myself for it, but she is a small, dainty woman or was most of her life, and I take after dad’s side. In Portuguese terms I was a cow by 12, at 5’7″ and a size seven. No, really. For my generation, I was past ready-made clothes. Yes, I hate my body. Moreso after my first pregnancy left me with hormonal issues that make it almost impossible to lose weight. Also, I don’t starve myself as I did the 3 years I was “skinny” (Starve? Yep, around 500 calories a day. I’m not young enough to withstand that) Yes, I get upset at SOME fat jokes (but those as I said are more insults.) I deal with them by making the jokes myself 😛 And making them funny. Going over to Portugal and seeing mom triggers MONTHS of dieting and cringing.
      BUT you’ll admit what you went through was extraordinary. And to compare that to someone who can go into ptsd by hearing talk of “spiders” or “small holes” or even “being fat” is sheer crazy.
      And THAT is what set me off.

      • Yeah. It sets me off, too. But, as I said, I’m specifically not allowed to … express my displeasure with their fragile little whines in the appropriate manner. It would be Severely Frowned Upon By Society, and by that I mean “jail.” Grumble. Most of these people seriously DO need a good right hook though, so they have something to complain about.

        A discussion (about the current whines going on) with a mutual friend of ours a few nights ago had me pointing out that these particular people have, apparently, been so privileged and sheltered their entire lives that they really can’t come up with anything else to be worried about. He may or may not blog about that (if he hasn’t already. I don’t know; I only keep the site running for him, not track his postings).

        I _am_ willing to entertain the possibility that some of them are flailing over superficialities because they have something deeper/darker they’re trying to cover for, or don’t want to admit happened to them. They need time with a good therapist to deal with such (which I can’t do myself), but it’s unlikely it’s more than a few. Most seem to be looking for windmills to tilt at so they can feel important. Maybe the second group should get a therapist who is willing to pat them on the back and tell them how brave they are?

        It’s simply demeaning to those of us who have survived such things, and infuriating to boot. I deeply resent being told I need to be a helpless victim for the rest of my life because I had Things To Overcome; that once in a mental prison, always in a mental prison. *Fuck* that with a rusty, flaming chainsaw with wings. It requires coping mechanisms, yes. It does not require browbeating the rest of Society into keeping me a delicate little hothouse flower by avoiding everything. I, the girl (I may never think of myself as a “woman” regardless of my age) who voluntarily hauled heavy boxes two blocks from the vehicle to the loading dock and then our booth at Dragon*Con this past year, on a twisted ankle and walking cast, don’t do “delicate little hothouse flower” well at all, anyhow.

        But I’m not allowed to “gently” explain the error of their thinking to them, just grit my teeth. That’s been a mantra, these last few weeks, watching this unnecessary furor from the sidelines.

        • ” Maybe the second group should get a therapist who is willing to pat them on the back and tell them how brave they are? ”

          Personally I’m more inclined to agree with you, the second group should get a therapist who will give them a stiff right hook.

        • Particularly when the furious ones (who are still trying to link to Toni’s post without reading it — since they think it’s about not letting people writing anything but Heinlein clones) played telephone with what was said.
          And yes, it’s EXACTLY what you were talking about. IF you let it define your life, you’re giving power to the bad people who did bad things to you and you’re living the way they’d want you to your whole life.
          If THEY must hide under the bed because someone called them fat, what in heck should I do?
          Amanda told me the only reason she yells at them (as I quoted in the post) is that if she killed them, she’d go to jail.

          • And yes, it’s EXACTLY what you were talking about. IF you let it define your life, you’re giving power to the bad people who did bad things to you and you’re living the way they’d want you to your whole life.

            YES! THIS! Sappho said to Dolly as she lay in hospital recovering.

            Advance notice. I’m stealing it.


          • One also notes that at law, there is a duty to minimize harm. Someone who goes out of her way to keep herself a tender, delicate flower is responsible for all injuries above and beyond those she would have suffered even if she had taken all steps to minimize harm.

            • Being a delicate and injured flower can get you attention. Especially when you are surrounded by other ones.

              One thing which comes to mind – maybe there is some element of shame involved too? Nowadays we are kept very well aware of how much life can suck for some, how badly people have treated other people, how hard some people have to struggle.

              And with that goes the guilt tripping for those people who do have it easy. You have never starved, but think of the third world people who do. You have a nice place to live and all the clothes you want and entertainment and education and… think of the people who don’t. Or didn’t.

              It’s good to have some awareness of how things are, but if you bombard kids and young people constantly with this, and the way it’s done is to make the privileged kids to feel guilty about it, not blessed (why would YOU deserve all this more than some poor girl in Sudan?) well, first they will feel guilt, and then they will feel anger. Not hell of a lot they can do about the situation, and feeling guilty the whole time can be a big obstruction to happiness.

              And then they find reasons why they are not really all that privileged, and why their problems can really be rather devastating too, in spite of appearances.

              • I think there is a shame element. Back in the early 1990s, I noticed the toxic game of “I’m poorer than you are” at my college. You got “points” for being impoverished, on work -study, in debt, from a “broken” family, and/or a victim of abuse. Double points if you were a federally-recognized minority. Twenty years later, we get the Occupy kids decrying privilege and wealth while texting and surfing the ‘net.

          • Killing them should be defined as Pesticide, punishable on the same scale as misdemeanor littering.

            Sadly, there have always been prats like this in the Upper Classes. The problem being that the wealth of our modern society has, from a historical perspective, place pretty much everybody in North America in the Upper Classes. A homeless outpatient, off his rocker and his meds, has greater access to comfort, entertainment, and learning than a 12th Century King.

            These people are why the term First World Problems was invented.

        • This. I am not a perpetual victim – I’m a survivor. There are situations I avoid because experience has told me that bad things happen there more often than not. There are guys who wonder why I spook when they walk up, smile, and say, “Hi! Welcome to [shop]. How can I help you?” (Nothing personal, you just bear an unfortunate resemblance to someone. Give me a sec to recalibrate.) As you say, I’m not going to hide under the bed about what happened 20+ years ago.

          And I have NO patience for “he looked at me, make him stop, I’m traumatized.” Sweetie, I was fortunate. I was only felt up, beaten up several times, stoned, and thrown down three flights of stairs. And you get the vapors when someone reads the words emblazoned on the rump of your shorts? Suck it up, buttercup. Life’s to short to spend it on a fainting couch.

          • Also, ferchrissakes, if people staring at your rear spooks you, DON”T COVER IT WITH LETTERS.

            I once had the Button Lady make me a button that said “If you don’t want me to stare at them, don’t print on them.”

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              You mentioned “rear ends” but that also applies to breasts. I’ve seen t-shirts that give an “interesting” message. [Frown]

            • This has been going on for some time (and continually getting worse) the first instance I was personally aware of was when I was in high school. A girl walked into the classroom, picture this, the girl was taller than I am and I’m 6′, wearing daisy duke shorts, and had a burn on her leg the size of a fifty cent piece(curling iron, I believe). The teacher asked her, “what happened to your leg?” She got all bent out of shape because he was looking at her legs and charged him with sexual harassment. Now bear in mind this happened in front of a class of thirty witnesses. The school put him on administrative leave for the rest of the year, while they ‘investigated’ and he didn’t return the following year.

              And then the girl, who was a looker, wondered why no one asked her to the prom or any other dances the rest of high school.

            • And the things they put back there! I mean… c’mon. “JUICY”? Really?

              • Okay, true story — my dad managed a textile factory until a couple of years ago. Actually three of them. So, when he brought home “Seconds” (things that had gone wrong. No market for seconds in Portugal) if they were my size my mom used to put them in a huge box and send them to us. This kept us dressed through the first three years of our marriage.
                At 24, I was working retail, trying to write at night, and we didn’t own a washer. So sometimes there were those moments of “Oh, shoot, I haven’t gone to the laundry, what do I wear to work?”
                Well, mom had sent a box, and there was a pair of jeans. Put them on. sigh of relief they fit. Slip t-shirt on. head to work.
                I noticed some odd looks, but it was early, so no big, right?
                It wasn’t till my (very gay) male co-worker came in, and I turned my back on him to get something, and he COLLAPSED laughing, that I asked him what he was laughing at. It took a while. He almost needed oxygen. And every time he started telling me, he would laugh again. Then he said he wished he had that for HIS jeans.
                I went to the bathroom, took my jeans off. The patch on the right buttock (sewn on) said “Cowboys ride harder and stay on longer.” Mom doesn’t know English!
                There were nail scissors in the store bathroom. I removed the patch and gave it to my co-worker. Who was STILL laughing.

    • Wish I could share my parents. They’re awesome.

    • I wanted to express my sadness at what you went through as a child– I also experienced some of the things you say here sans sexual violation and suicidal comments. Plus my mother was dainty and I was also tall and much heavier when these things started after puberty (I am 5 8)– I also come from a berserker line– and have pretty much the same feeling for people who trivialize actual trauma–

      Some things get better– I went into Karate in my mid-20s so that I could defend myself. It made me feel stronger and able to protect myself — I have kept thousands of miles between me and my parental units. When I get made at what I see I use my phrase “dumbshits.”

  5. Equality, Liberty… that’s all I want for me and mine. Not special privileges. I’m not asking anyone to remake the world so I don’t have to worry about my triggers. I can deal with them when they are tripped. I can even read a book dealing with situations I know might trigger me (with a warning to my partner, so he is prepared) and then, ironically, have it make me steamingly angry over the way it handles the sort of situation the author obviously knows absolutely nothing about and has thrown into the mix without any research or attempt at reality… ok, sorry. I’m frothing at the mouth.

    But seriously. Attempt to confront your fears, or you will be running for your entire life.

  6. A few years ago I agreed to write a fellow vet’s memoir of his experiences in Korea. Working title Prisoner Of A Forgotten War.
    I had the first draft done, sample chapters sent to a publisher who enthusiastically wanted the completed story early on. The plan was for the book to come out and capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the Korean War’s beginning.
    Except that the attempt by the vet triggers such strong flashbacks and PTSD he could not see it through. No beefs; I had nightmares from some of the experiences I wrote up for him.
    So I understand PTSD, flashbacks and the whole idea of triggers. I’m not impressed with weeping lilies. I’ve seen what a real flashback can do to an otherwise strong individual.
    I do wish Prisoner had been published. It’s a story that should have been told. But it’s not my story to tell.

  7. We live in an age when people demand comfort. In most cases, this isn’t a bad thing. We’ve used technology to create a world that is far more comfortable than any previous generation has enjoyed.

    Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to that. The special snowflakes want to feel comfortable in ways that infringe on my right to say whatever it is I want to say. I hate to break it to them, but the most fundamental right a human being has is the right to be an ass. It’s why I can’t shoot them for their crap, so they have to take mine.

  8. I really, really hate that term “forcible rape”. All rape is forced, because it’s non-consensual. “Forcible” rape. “Actual” rape. Stop qualifying it. If someone has sex with you without your consent, it is rape. Whether they held you down or not. Whether they spiked your drink or not. Whether they made you feel like you could not say no, or not.

    Call me a special snowflake if you want. Don’t care. What you’ve written in regard to that is fucked up. A petty part of me would love to see you put in that situation, just so you can understand how it feels. But you know what, having been there myself, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even you, when you’re being an ass. And yeah, I acknowledge that you have the right to be one. I’m just calling you on it.

    • HOW do you know I was never in that situation, little girl?
      “Forcible” means forced. Yes, you can be forced without being held down. But what do you mean by “giving your consent?” Were you too young? Drugged against your will?

      Or did you get drunk and have sex with an equally drunk dude? Did you change your mind afterwords? Did he talk you into it with his amazing male superpowers, so it wasn’t consensual?

      I hope to G-d it wasn’t the last set, because that’s not rape. That’s “I made a mistake and I’m not adult enough to admit it.” that’s “Male hate.” that’s “special snow flake.”

      And if you think you can’t go on to live a normal life after rape, you’ve sold YOURSELF a bill of goods.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well said Sarah.

        When guys have been accused of rape when they had every reason to think that the girl wanted to have sex, then rape loses its meaning.

        When the woman can *after* the fact say that it was rape even when she consented earlier, then rape is meaningless.

        For what it is worth Sherrie, Sarah has talked about a person who attempted to rape her and how she “discouraged” him.

        • And I don’t talk about my past in therapeutic detail on this blog because some of the stories AREN’T mine, and don’t belong to me.
          I find it curious though, that two hours up and we have the first wish I’d be raped. Oh, I’m sorry, she said “almost” so it wasn’t a wish wish.

          • Kind of like the people who “almost” wished my kids would be killed in a mass shooting because I think gun control is moronic. I mean, they only “almost” wished harm on my kids because I disagreed with them, so it totally doesn’t make them a bad person.


          • Not an “actual wish,” then? Does that make it and “almost forcible wish”?

            • It makes it a special flower whine, is what it makes it.

            • Carl Henderson

              You’ve hit upon it! What Sherrie was doing was an ordinary wish as opposed to a “forcible wish”.

              Fortunately, neither kind of wish has any real world effect. Of course, if Sarah Hoyt were a delicate flower(TM), she might have been TRIGGERED by Sherrie’s wish, sending her into a spiral of fear, self-loathing, and despair. And it would be all Sherrie’s fault because she didn’t include a “Trigger Warning: Wishing” in her first sentence!

    • OMFG, Sherrie. How in the hell do you know what situation Sarah was in? I feel for you, if you really were in that situation, because I’ve been there. I’ll lay odds a number of Sarah’s readers have been as well. Yes, any non-consensual sex is rape. But let me tell you as a former prosecutor, there are some forms of rape that are worse than others. A woman who is raped because she is too drunk or has been drugged and can’t give consent is bad enough. But a woman who has been abducted, beaten, threatened with death — of either herself or someone she cares for — that IS forcible rape.

      You aren’t a snowflake. You’re someone who is letting emotion govern intellect right now. No, Sarah isn’t being an ass but you are. You are marginalizing every woman — and man and child — who has been raped under threat of death or worse. Don’t like it? Don’t care. As you said, I’ve been there myself and I do know the difference, both as a victim and as a prosecutor.

      • You know what, I don’t feel for her. Because of this line right here.

        “Whether they held you down or not. Whether they spiked your drink or not. Whether they made you feel like you could not say no, or not. ”

        This tells me that our special little snowflake was NOT raped, she had sex with a man and later regretted it. She wouldn’t be specifying that it is rape regardless of whether you were physically forced, drugged, OR EVEN IF YOU JUST FELT YOU COULDN’T SAY NO– OR NOT! I had to go back and reread what she was saying, but sure enough she says that even if they DIDN’T even do so much as make you feel like you couldn’t say no, IT’S STILL RAPE!

        I think we have a classic, “All sex is rape” snowflake on our hands here.

        • Law codes do recognize that sometimes a woman does not feel she can say “no”. This used to be called “seduction” until the word developed other meanings; it is now lumped into “sexual harassment” or some instances of “date rape”. Note, for example, how far down in Hell Dante puts the “panderers and seducers”.

          It’s not a bad thing that (real cases of) “date rape” are being treated more seriously by society and law. But calling everything by the same word forces people who are trying to make valid distinctions to use awkward circumlocutions: “forcible rape”, “actual rape”, or (infamously, and flawed biology aside), “legitimate rape”.

          • The idea of “date rape” was originally forced sex… not just unwanted sex, but an actual rape where you said no and he figured he paid for dinner and you kissed him and went someplace with him so now he gets to hold you down and force you because you don’t get to change your mind. It wasn’t some sort of drunk morning after, “I did what?! With who!?” And it wasn’t getting coerced, “I’m breaking up with you if you don’t put out.”

            It was rape… like marital rape…

            I’m not sure when it became drunk morning after hangover regrets.

            • It became drunk morning after hangover regrets when it became possible to expand it in that direction. The Academic Feministas were losing their audience. They desperately needed to expand the number of women, especially young women, who were afraid of men.

    • You know, if someone held you down, that’s forcible rape. If someone drugs you so you can’t resist, that’s forcible too.

      If you simply felt like you couldn’t say no, but didn’t try? Sorry, but that’s on you. That’s not force. That’s being a doormat, and you can’t put that on anyone else.

      Honestly, I suspect Sarah wouldn’t have bothered to qualify it if so many special snowflakes weren’t calling stuff rape that isn’t actually rape.

      • Exactly. I had to qualify it BECAUSE the language has been corrupted.

        • I had a feeling.

          Language only has power so long as we agree on the definition. When the definitions keep changing, it becomes extremely difficult to communicate, so sometimes one has to put a descriptor on something that shouldn’t need a descriptor.

          You know…like the word “rape”.

          • Yep. I do believe “non consensual” is rape and to be fair, if you’re very young and a woman, you might be afraid of being hurt and let him without resistance, because you’re afraid otherwise he’ll beat you. Or tell your parents you were where you’re not supposed to be, or whatever. That’s rape as if he’d held you down. Yes, you’re stupid, but young people of both genders often are.
            OTOH “we were both drunk” isn’t rape it’s “OMG I’ll never go drinking again in that type of situation.” I actually doubt many women of my generation either never did or never were close to doing that. (In my case close.) Yes, you feel horribly ashamed and furious (mostly at yourself) but it’s not like being FORCED into sex. And “I changed my mind because he was so nasty in bed” isn’t rape either, and I’ve heard it claimed as such by people who hate admitting they were wrong. Also, to be fair, especially your first time, what a girl expects is NOT possible. (And Romance novels are a lot to blame.) Like you expect if it’s right it will be “special.” When it turns out to be just flesh on flesh, a lot of young and not very experienced girls might decide it’s not “love” and therefore it’s rape. That I object to. You simply don’t do that.
            Do you know that colleges now require guys to get a signed consent form for sex, otherwise if she accuses them it’s her word that’s taken?

            • Seriously? A signed consent form?

              Hell, in the midst, I was doing good to get my pants off because I was focused on this awesome thing that was happening. The last thing in the world I would have been able to do was get a consent form signed.


              • I was wondering why my kids, like so many guys their age aren’t dating. I read the college handouts. Now I know.

                • Yeah…I need to find what schools are doing that and make sure my son knows not to go to them.

                  Unfortunately, he’s only in 7th Grade, so there’s enough time that they might all go that route. 😦

                  • I’m hoping college will be rendered obsolete by the time mine are old enough for it. That, and I fully expect some serious social upheaval in the next decade. Likely triggered (see what I did there?) by disruptive technological change.

                    • I’ve got 5 years. Just 5 for my son.

                      Luckily, my daughter is just two, so I have much, much longer for her.

                    • The good news is you won’t have to be cleaning your gun when your daughter brings her boyfriend over. Just make sure he doesn’t have any consent forms with him.

                • a consent form? Jesus Jumping H! easier to just go pay a hooker or fall back on the always popular and never fails ‘rosy palm and the five fingers” Consent form? *walks away muttering things best not said aloud about the human race. the fact he’s said them before not withstanding*

                • Yet another reason I’m glad I went to a private, church-owned college.

              • Yeah. Because an actual rapist, who won’t scruple about using drugs, violence, or extortion to obtain sex (obviously…or else he wouldn’t be a rapist), will _totally_ be put off by using the very same means to obtain ink on paper in the shape of a signature. Or, if he’s already rendered you unconscious, just signing your name for you, in something that looks kinda like the signature on your drivers license, which he can easily obtain, since you’re unconscious…

                Right. Just another “solution” that does nothing at all about the real problem, while simultaneously further escalating the invented problems.

              • Seriously. And as stupid as the rules of lack-of-evidence are on campi for what is “sexual assault,” it may be just as well. (Look up the DoE “Dear Colleague” letter and the subsequent DoJ regulation/recommendation based on that letter.)

              • I read a story several years ago (I think it was either Analog or Asimov’s), where dating was negotiated via lawyers and contracts. Getting up to having sex was about a 3-5 year process,

                • I’m going to have to find that story.

                • This is absolutely a conspiracy to limit population. Going back to the old (pre-1960’s) rules would seem to be a better option than this insanity.

                • There was one in Science Fiction Age where the narrator nearly got married despite all the legal pitfalls. When it finally fell through, his lawyers, and his fiancee’s, got married.

              • “Um, yes, I know we’re in the middle of undressing, but…” *grabs clipboard from nightstand,* “if I could just get you to review this paperwork first…” *fumbles with pen, attached to clipboard,* “and sign here, initial here…” *indicates areas on paper* “no, this isn’t exactly foreplay per se” *reaches for notary stamp*

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              On the “signed consent form for sex”, one of Dean Koontz’s early novels had a scene where a vampire was “putting the make” on a willing woman but had to stop to give a “legally required” statement about the “dangers” of letting him have his way. It was sort of funny in Koontz’s novel, but this “real world” thing is stupid.

            • What a painful, messy topic. I’m going to play curmudgeon here (“What? You mean even more than usual?”) and then duck into my troll-cave until July. And what I’m going to curmullion is this business of defining rape.

              I’m going to be frank in my language. Not vulgar. Frank.

              First, an aside. The signed consent form is about as effective at averting rape charges as any other magical charm, since the public record shows that the students attending at least one college have been taught that the girl can change her mind at any point, including after penetration.

              Defining rape is complex. And we human beings prefer things simple, because that requires less mental energy, which we need to save up for composing poorly spelt and grammatically fractured captions for pictures of cats and for arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet.

              The problem is not that lovemaking and forcible rape (oh, dear, there’s that word again) are uncomfortably similar. The difference between mind-blowing sex between two experienced lovers and a kicking, screaming person being physically restrained and then penetrated by a stranger is so stark that no person in her right mind could confuse the two. It follows that feministas who insist that all heterosexual intercourse is rape are either not in their right minds or are liars.

              They may not be in their right minds because they have been damaged. I am acquainted with a woman who was raped by an older relative when she was very young. She eventualy married, but found it impossible to enjoy sexual intercourse. It could not have helped that her husband was an older but sexually inexperienced man who suffered from premature ejaculation and who, while well-intentioned, was remarkably ignorant regarding the female sexual response. They are still married but sleep in different parts of their house. (There are reasons.) I believe that her cerebral cortex accepts that there is such a thing as consentual sex, but I doubt that her lizard brain accepts that there is such a thing as consentual sex. It is not hard for me to imagine that a damaged woman with a less favorable ratio of lizard brain to cerebral cortex might be convinced straight through that all sex is rape. The ratio might not even have to be that unfavorable if the damage is severe enough. I can generously assume that the original commentator might fall in this category.

              But these are damaged people. We can value and respect a blind man without feeling obligated to take his advice on which color to paint our bedrooms.

              Then there are lesbian feminists who insist that that all heterosexual intercourse is rape. They have no problem with lesbian intercourse. Whether you regard them as disordered (the preferred Catholic term) or just marchers to a different drum, their perspective is not a useful guide for the 99% of us who are not lesbians. There is, of course, no reason why there could not be considerable overlap between this and the previous group.

              There remain the liars. They know perfectly well that not all heterosexual intercourse is alike, but find it tactically advantageous in their game of sexual power politics to ignore this fact.

              I said that defining rape is complex, but then I pointed out the stark difference between mind-blowing sex between two experienced lovers and a kicking, screaming person being physically restrained and then penetrated by a stranger. I am not being inconsistent. The problem is that these are not the only possible kinds of sexual experiences.

              A fair number of rape victims, particularly young and sexually inexperienced rape victims, freeze up from sheer terror. They do not scream and they do not struggle, because their brains have melted into dirty dishwater. They are, nonetheless, almost always victims of rape. If they have had a conservative religious upbringing, they often feel profoundly guilty about their failure to resist, and the post-rape rehabilitation has to deal with this. Part of dealing with it is assuring them that they really did not consent and are not guilty of fornication. Elizabeth Smart could plausibly serve as their patron saint.

              I said “almost always.” It is faintly possible that the man involved genuintely mistook the woman’s failure to kick and scream as consent, particularly if the encounter took place in a dating situation. I’m not positive I can call that a rape, because while the elements of the actus reus are there, the mens rea is not. I hope to heaven that I am never impanelled to judge guilt in such a case.

              On the other hand, there’s the fellow I alluded to earlier, who was convicted of rape in a case where the girl changed her mind after penetration and he continued thrusting for a few more seconds rather than immediately withdraw. Is that rape? Almost every guy I know, even those who agree he ought to have withdrawn, shrink from calling it rape. I haven’t discussed it with a lot of women, but it would not surprise me if a few of them see it otherwise.

              On the gripping hand, there’s the case Sarah brought up. The woman reluctantly agrees to sexual intercourse with a hot and eager man who has brought all “his amazing male superpowers” to bear. I have not collected statistics, but I suspect a large majority of married couples have played out this scenario at least once. Perhaps this underwrites a lot of the feminist hostility to marriage.

              Finally, there’s the situation where one or both partners are chemically impaired. If the woman is too drunk to give consent, it’s rape. Unless the man is also so drunk that he doesn’t realize the woman is too drunk to give consent, in which case the mens rea element of the crime may genuinely be missing. This one can work both ways: Was Lot raped by his daughters?

              Historically, most cultures had elaborate rules of courtship meant to reduce this ambiguity in what constituted rape. These were generally closely intertwined with the rules on what constituted legitimate sexual intercourse. There was the old rule that it is impossible for a man to rape his own wife. This kept a lot of situations out of court, or at least out of the criminal courts, that needed to be resolved some other way. But in other respects, it was an awful rule. It made the woman the man’s property. It also led to such absurd hypotheticals as a man chasing down his kicking and screaming wife in the middle of a busy street and raping her in front of multiple witnesses, except that that isn’t rape in the eyes of the law (though doubtless other charges could be brought.)

              Not all the rules were as heartless or dumb. The old rule that you didn’t have sex outside of marriage, which was generally enforced extralegally even when there were legal statutes against it, had the potential to save an awful lot of trouble. If nothing else, this rule delegitimized any invitation to sexual intercourse during a casual date. A man who “offered insults to a woman”, as my Southern friends delicately put it, was going to get slapped in public, and the slap was going to be backed up by the force of arms of the local unorganized militia. And the old courting rules meant that the dating was always in public.

              It’s always going to be complex. But that doesn’t mean it’s whatever you want it to mean.

              • As I said, power imbalances can also make it rape. I ACTUALLY agree with rules about an old and experienced boss should not be seducing his intern. I’m not discounting that. I used “forcible” simply to distinguish it from “all the rape that isn’t” — like, double impaired lovers.
                I also think that FORCIBLE rape leaves the worst ptsd, and I have several (okay fingers of one hand, but still several) friends who’ve suffered that and are alive, well, thriving and don’t need warnings before READING the word “rape.”

                • “I ACTUALLY agree with rules about an old and experienced boss should not be seducing his intern.”

                  I actually agree, too. Perhaps it should be described as criminal seduction rather than rape? If you want to make a distinction between different degrees of rape, I’ll be happy to entertain your argument.

                  • I would agree to criminal seduction– happily in that case

                  • oh, yes. this is ‘rape by undue influence” if you squint and hold up the glass. Seduction would be better, only it’s hard to make the criminal part stick.
                    We actually had a very interesting argument on Classical Values about the father-daughter incestuous affair and whether there could ever be “informed consent” to the person who raised you. But rape didn’t seem quite right. Now, criminal seduction…

                • Carl Henderson

                  Sarah Hoyt wrote: “As I said, power imbalances can also make it rape. I ACTUALLY agree with rules about an old and experienced boss should not be seducing his intern. I’m not discounting that.”

                  I must disagree here. If there is a stated or strongly implied quid pro quo of “do this or lose your job/not get promoted/fail this class/etc.” such behavior constitutes a civil tort of “sexual harassment” (or if you are president of the US, “just sex”). Such behavior is reprehensible, but a person placed such a situation can say “no” and walk away. While they run the risk of suffering economic loss or loss of social standing, the harasser runs a high risk or the same. (Add to that the fact that most harassers are bullies at heart, and will often fold when confronted.)

                  I think that makes such a situation fundamentally different from rape. With rape, there is not an option for a victim to say “no” and walk away–whether because of actual force, threat of force, or inability to consent.

                  Seduction is another thing entirely. With seduction there is no quid pro quo of “do me and get this reward” or “do me or get punished”. Unless the meaning of the word changed while I was not looking, “seduction” is simply persuading someone to have sex with you. It’s not illegal, and depending on one’s motivations and intentions, may not even be immoral.

                  • A very big risk of economic loss actually– which is why when I was working in my twenties, there were a lot of cautionary tales of NOT dating people in the workplace and especially the boss. The young woman (or man depending on the case) was the one who was fired, moved to another department, or lost out in other ways.

                    In the Navy, the idea of unintentional pressure was spread to activities such as getting money for charities. A boss couldn’t ask for money for his charities because of the power differential because it was seen as force. There is so little freedom when in the military that at the time I was in, the officers and higher enlisted had to be careful of any type of pressure that didn’t have to do with the Navy or the job.

                    So I circle to the thought that –Sex, money, power– an ethical person is careful in how he (she) treats any of these matters.

                  • Actually, the meaning of the word changed before you ever read it; it’s the older meaning of the word that had a strong connotation of almost-but-not-quite-compulsion.

                    Remember where Dante put different sinners: adulterers & fornicators were in the second circle; seducers were with panderers down in the eighth.

                    • Carl Henderson

                      So is the meaning changing back? Has the Party issued an updated dictionary yet? (Not a snipe at you. I just find it amusing how the language police change stuff too fast to keep up with.)

                    • I am assured by Jerry Pournelle (not personally, but in his writings) that “seducer” is a poor translation of the original Italian, and “rapist” is actually more plausible.

                    • No, because then they would go among the Violent, not among the Fraudulent.

                      One notes that in ancient Rome, it was a saying that seducers were worse than rapists because women hated their rapists and loved their seducers. Of course, at law, it didn’t matter whether she consented, it was all rape. Which is where we get “statutory rape.”

                  • He said “criminal seduction” — shrug.

                    • Carl Henderson

                      My mistake then. I missed the original reference to “criminal seduction”. Had I seen it I would have said something like “Isn’t than an oxymoron?” and thus triggered (in an entirely non-triggering way) Joel’s comment above.

                • But that would mean that what Bill Clinton did was wrong!!


                  On a more serious note, I still remember reading about Whoopi Goldberg’s reaction to the recent Roman Polanski news. “It wasn’t rape rape!” Never mind that it actually was “rape rape” (the victim apparently said “No!”, but Polanski did it anyway). The fact that the girl was underaged meant nothing to Whoopi.

                  • I don’t think that it was that the girl being underaged meant nothing to Whoopi. I think it was that it being Roman Polanski meant more.

                    • Possibly. There have been rumors about a lot of scary stuff involving would-be child actors and actresses.

                      On an unrelated note, I also just recalled the rape charge against Julian Assange. It was for misleading his partner into believing that he was using a condom (yes, that apparently means a rape charge in whichever Scandinavian country he was in at the time). I don’t mean to demean the idea that a guy should be up front and honest with his partner about the use of condoms (given both the possibility of an unexpected bit of weight gain on the part of the female a few months later, and the potential spread of STDs), but rape? You mean to tell me that what he did is functionally equivalent to obtaining sex via threatening a woman (or man) with bodily harm if she doesn’t have sex?

                    • She agreed to sex if and only if he met conditions; he agreed, then did not meet the conditions, while keeping her from knowing he did so. That would mean that he willfully chose to have sex with her in a manner that he knew she didn’t consent to.

                      Kind of like getting somebody drunk.

                      Of course, to me it is a dang good reason to not have sex outside of marriage.

                    • Exactly!

                    • Carl Henderson

                      Most reports about Julian Assange (the wikileaks guy) come to us via incestuously linked governments and media. And the people in the governments he’s pissed off the most know exactly the right kind of accusations to make that will maximally discredit him among people of various political leanings. He may indeed be as big an asshole as he’s made out to be, but I’m very skeptical of anything I read about him.

                  • I was going to say on age alone it was very much rape rape.

                  • Birthday girl

                    Not to mention that she was drugged.

            • Absent some kind of perception altering haze, sex is an uncomely business at best. Lust does it. So does alcohol. So does genuine affection. This isn’t talked about much, since the ‘sexual revolution’ (revolution, hell. The only winners were the STDs). Supposedly it’s all sex, all the time, and Just Wonderful.


            • “Or tell your parents you were where you’re not supposed to be, or whatever. That’s rape as if he’d held you down.”

              No, it isn’t. Period. That’s exactly what “refusal to face consequences of your unwise decision” sounds like. And that’s why I and a lot of guys like me will sit in the jury box and say “Physical evidence, and physical harm, or we vote Not Guilty.” You want to claim you were forced? There better be unambiguous signs of it. Drugged? then a drug profile showing that better be in the evidence (and alcohol doesn’t count. There’s not a person alive who doesn’t know what drinking does to judgement). And over 72 hours old on the claim means “reasonable doubt”. Automatically.

              Also, if alcohol removes her capacity for informed choice, it removes his capacity for mens rea. That’s what “equal justice under the law” means. Otherwise, being male means second class citizen.

              • I don’t know. I’d include blackmail, if the victim is under 20. I remember being AMAZINGLY stupid.

                • Blackmail? What is that but doing something stupid and avoiding the consequences by letting someone make you a slave to their will. That simply means they’re old enough to learn that the only possible response to a blackmailer is “Publish and be damned.” And the legal system shouldn’t be in the business of rewarding either stupid behavior or blackmail.

                  • well — it’s like this. I once thought I had to marry someone because he’d lent me money. It’s not even having done something wrong, it’s that kids prioritize the wrong stuff…

                  • The legal system should not be in the business of enabling predators and helping liars profit from their lies.

                    It’s not the same as holding a knife to someone’s throat, but especially for the young and emotionally vulnerable? The pressure is very real. It’s the threat of being expelled from society. That they chose a target that would believe the lies doesn’t excuse the wrong, any more than “if you didn’t want it stolen, you should’ve done a better job of locking it up” makes theft acceptable.

                    • This is my feeling, provided there is proof this was used. Again, I favor the death penalty for false rape accusions.
                      And then there’s “WHAT?” situation where you just go “uh… Flog them both and tell them to sin no more.”
                      I remember this article insty linked where some chick agreed to go home with a guy she’d never met, in his car, though she had no transportation (NYC, she used the metro.) Did she then deserve everything that happened to her? No. But she violated basic sense in such an egregious manner, you think she shouldn’t, really, be out alone, anyway.
                      When she got there, he wanted to do fifty shades stuff with no safeword, and she let him because “I had no way home.” AND THEN when this jerk removed the condom halfway through sex, THEN she felt raped.
                      Look, this is the sort of case… I mean… we have her account… did she even signal she didn’t want this? More than jerkoyd thought were fun and games?
                      All I could think was “They’re either BOTH drugged, terminally stupid, or BOTH have the social skills of my people. THIS on top of her ridiculous mistake.”
                      My horrified, sickened conclusion to this was “Flog them both, tell them to never do it again.” — absent, of course, mind readers to tell us if he was malicious and she was cognitively impaired.

                    • The rules of evidence need some HEAVY work.

                      Don’t get me started on “thirty years ago, a guy who is dead touched me” type claims. There’s no way to disprove it!

                    • Well, there’s statutes of limitation — but they’re a very crude tool.

                      It seems to me that if you make a claim of material fact in court, but there is no reasonable possibility of testing the claim due to passage of time or, really, any other reason, the judge should throw out the claim. Period.

                      The system is actually meant to do this, but in a lot of these “it happened thirty years ago” claim the crime is serious enough to have a long statute of limitations and the claim is so spectacular no one can bear to ignore it.

                      Case in point: William Slim, the British general who led so well in Burma during the Second World War and who was so beloved of his soldiers, has postumously been accused of molesting boys at a school for immigrant children in Australia. Folks are asking why the government of Australia doesn’t just settle the case and shower money on the alleged victims. No one seems to be giving the obvious response, which is that it is simply frikking incredible that Slim would have done such a thing yet, at this late date, his innocence is impossible to prove.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod. Back when Bill Clinton was “dealing” with the harassment claims, a woman came forth to talk about him raping her in Little Rock. I thought at that time that I’d hate to prosecute that case but I also found the National Organization of Women’s response to be interesting. They had responded to other accusations against Clinton by claiming that the accusations were “politically motivated”. They said that *this* woman didn’t seem to be “politically motivated” and I thought that they knew that Clinton was safe (ie wouldn’t be prosecuted). [Sad Smile]

                    • Joanita Broderick (Sp?)

                    • Then what percentage of false accusations do you find acceptable? Because mine is NONE, and only a requirement for actual evidence beyond “she said she was pressured” is going to deliver that.

                    • What percentage of predators using the law to commit crimes do you find acceptable?

                      I recognize that “none” is not an acceptable reward for enabling rapists.

                      If the guy is using a gun instead of the threat of public exposure– what proof do you require for that? Hey, it’s “he said, she said,” isn’t it? Having a gun pointed at you doesn’t leave physical marks, either.

                    • Your question was answered long ago by that whole “innocent until proven guilty” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. I believe the standard ratio is “better that ten guilty go free than one innocent man convicted.”

                    • In that case, why ask a question that ignores the standard of reasonable doubt for one of absolute proof?

          • Language only has power so long as we agree on the definition. When the definitions keep changing, it becomes extremely difficult to communicate, so sometimes one has to put a descriptor on something that shouldn’t need a descriptor.

            This this THIS this this.

            One of the biggest frustrations I have is when people say ‘that’s not what it means any more’ – on terms that have been around for longer than the person is speaking has been alive. I don’t like how language is being changed, to suit agendas. Control language, you control the ability and scope of people’s thoughts. But then again, the people doing this aren’t interested in discourse, they’re interested in control, in ‘winning’, in ‘power.’

        • Well, there is statutory rape, too. Probably not what was meant.

          • Yes. Of course. If you’re too young to give informed consent. Or say, if you’re of age but a powerless intern working for the world’s most powerful man. There is a strong power/information imbalance that makes both of those rape and it doesn’t take much to prove it.
            What? Oh, the second wasn’t rape? Yeah. My bad. After all he was/is a vile prog. How could he do anything wrong?

            • I can’t believe I’m defending Bill Clinton.

              Lewinski was ecstatic to be servicing the world’s most powerful man. It was in no way rape.

              Heading for my troll-cave.

              • No troll cave needed, but there are indications her father pushed her that way, too, and then you have to question “informed consent.”

                • I really do need to head to my troll-cave. It’s a work day, and I’ve got some obsidian needs chipping.

                • What I took away from that mess was that what REALLY bugged most of Clinton’s critics was that the President of The United States is supposed to be above banging the help. OK, when JFK took Marilyn Monroe he was taking advantage of a woman with the emotional maturity of a six-year-old, but because she was an international sex-symbol it LOOKED better.

                  And when JFK DID bang the help, he was sufficiently discrete about it that it didn’t come out until after his death.

                  No, I don’t like JFK OR Clinton.

              • I can’t believe you are defending him either since he used the power of his office– on quite a few women (doesn’t mean the women weren’t eager, it does mean he should have had consequences)

                • Clinton was unfit to be President. He was unfit to be county dog catcher. There are women who could plausibly bring rape charges against Clinton.

                  I don’t think Lewinski is one of them.

                  • I don’t agree about Lewinski– but I do agree that Clinton was unfit for any public office. 🙂

                    • I suspect the vast majority (all?) of the Huns would agree on that last. I’m with Kent in that the circumstances with Lewinski appeared such that she had many, many, chances to avoid sex if she’d wanted to. I read it as a young woman who was at least somewhat interested in the idea succumbing to the blandishments of a much-admired, powerful, experienced man.

                      I think he was an opportunistic SOB, and unfit for any office involving public trust, but if I’d been on a jury trying this as a case of rape I’d have had to vote, “scumbag, but not guilty of rape.” Some of the other women who’ve accused Clinton appear to have much stronger cases, but those seem to be mostly ignored by The Best People.

                      But the larger issue is that there’s been a concerted effort to fold everything in the spectrum from “I consented at the time but now I regret it” through “he worked very hard to convince me and because we were both somewhat drunk I went along with him – I’ll never do *that* again” through “I had sex with a boss/professor/politician (with or without implied Bad Things would happen to my job/grades/performance review if I didn’t give him sex)” all the way to “he held a knife to my throat” into that same term. And then treat them all as the last case, while ignoring all the innocent-until-proven-guilty and rules-of-evidence parts of the normal criminal code.

                      I’d argue that the first two cases I gave are Not Rape, and that the third (sex with someone more powerful) could fall on either side of the gap depending on whether the more powerful party attempted to USE that power to get what they want. Though the possibility of it occurring in the third case is why most businesses and universities have explicit policies against it – a severe power imbalance not only makes it possible (and a he said/she said situation in court), but tends to seriously disrupt the business or academic environment even if consensual with both parties trying very hard to compartmentalize their relationship.

                      Unfortunately, the special snowflakes don’t see these distinctions, and want to treat the “I learned he was a jerk after I slept with him” the same as “I feared for my life”. Then they scream about rape culture and the need for trigger warnings because certain words Make Then Feel Bad. And we all know it’s OK to accuse everyone else of real crimes, and make them defend themselves against baseless charges, as long as the Special Snowflakes don’t need to listen to Scary Words.

                    • I think rape should carry the death penalty. So should false accusations of rape.
                      Or we could do the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.

                    • Yes– I do agree that the special snowflakes for some reason cannot see the gradations– and of course nothing is ever black and white– more like gradations of gray.

                    • “I think rape should carry the death penalty. So should false accusations of rape.”

                      So do I, and I have stated so many times. But by that I do mean forcible rape, Lewinski was not rape (it was arguably cause to consider Clinton unfit for office, but not rape. But then he undoubtably committed perjury, which carries up to a 5 year prison sentence, and wasn’t punished at all) Child molesting should also carry the death sentence, consensual statuatory rape however should not. I know it is different from state to state, but all states have some defining lines between child molesting and stat rape, usually always an age under which the it is child molesting. But in at least some states a 16 year old and a 17 year old can have sex without doing anything illegal, but a week later when the 17 year old turns 18 it becomes stat rape. Also girls (and I’m sure guys, but all the instances I know have involved underage girls) lie about their age fairly commonly. I worked with a guy who met his wife at a party, he was 21, she said she was 18. Six weeks later she comes up pregnant, turns out she was 14. Luckily for the guy her parents consented when he asked to marry her. When I started working there they had been married five years and appeared perfectly happy. Now I didn’t think to highly of the guy (in fact if I had to describe him, scum would be an appropriate description), and he shouldn’t have slept with some chick he picked up at a party without knowing anything about her. But I also don’t think he should have got the death penalty for believing the girl and not asking to check her ID.

                    • Heck, I looked 18 at 14.

                    • And I agree with you : forcible rape, of the held down (or otherwise immobilized/gun to head) kind. NOT the grey areas.

                    • She looked much older than her age at 19, so I don’t doubt she looked legal at 14.

              • “I can’t believe I’m defending Bill Clinton.”

                Spend enough time with people who actually engage ideas (as opposed to just screaming talking points at one another), and you get used to that kind of thing.

                For example, one time in the past, in the comments section of another post on this very blog, I — who sincerely believe that communists ought to be legally treated as nuisance animals…that is, shoot as many of them as you want, as long as you clean up the bodies yourself and don’t hit anything else — made a few statements which, in a certain light, could be interpreted as defending communism. I believe at least one other commenter did indeed interpret it exactly that way.

                To an honorable and reasonable person, telling the truth is always praiseworthy. Even when doing so might appear to serve the interests of one’s enemies.

                Bill Clinton being a loathsome excuse for a human being doesn’t change the fact that the intern in question was not merely a willing participant in their affair, but an enthusiastic one.

              • She was. However there were others that Billy boy took advantage of.

                • Yes– and the others didn’t have the power to fight back– many of them. Plus how many people disappeared when they were making statements against Bill and Hilary– how many deaths found on the lawns of the White House? ummmm

              • Patrick Chester

                Dunno, does pointing out that someone isn’t guilty of murder and is instead guilty of arson with large amounts of property damage (but no deaths) count as “defending” someone?

              • Forget Lewinsky for the moment: Consider the time when, on Air Force One, he backed a frightened young intern into a corner demanding a little ‘friendliness’. As recounted by the officer who carried the nuclear football at that time, she was practically hysterical with trauma, and yet at the same time was too afraid to make a formal complaint because she (rightly) feared that this would end her career.

                Curiously, our highly moral liberal friends in the mainstream press have been utterly uninterested in reporting on such incidents. (It’s almost as if they would excuse even murder if done by someone whose ideology they shared. Walter Duranty anyone?) And so, since the big news sources only ever mention Monica Lewinsky, that’s all we tend to remember.

            • The thing is that we’re talking about consent. With Monica, I have to say that if anyone was exploiting a power imbalance, everything I read suggested it was Monica. Clinton didn’t say “sleep with me or you can’t be an intern” — Monica flashed her thong and otherwise made come-ons to Bill and he was thinking with the other head.

              A grad school friend of mine dated and eventually married one of the professors.

              My uncle married a woman who worked for the family business.

              I had a friend who went to a party that turned into an orgy, and had sex because that’s what you do at an orgy.

              And we’ve all known people (or *been* people) who woke up with a hangover and someone in the bed next to us.

              Calling those “rape” seems to me to be selling the word at a steep discount.

    • . A petty part of me would love to see you put in that situation, just so you can understand how it feels. But you know what, having been there myself, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even you, when you’re being an ass.

      You’re either a liar or a monster.

      If you are genuinely a victim of rape, then only a monster would in any way wish it on someone else; if, as is more likely, this is simply rhetoric, you’re a liar. Possibly, you’re both as well as being an idiot because you think the things-which-are-not-rape-but-get-called-it are the equal of being raped or having escaped a near thing.

      • Why settle for “either/or”? My money’s on “both/and”.

      • What I am seeing, is an attempt to excuse bad behavior. I spent _18 Months_ with a group at my job trying to find a reason to *legally* fire me. They were unhappy because I was trying to stop massive software piracy, and probably other illegal behavior. They worked very hard to stay “just inside legal boundaries.” Eventually, they cooked up a reason, and then one perjured herself in the unemployment hearing. She knew it, I knew it, and the _lawyer_ representing the “parent agency” knew it. I couldn’t prove it because I was hit with it at the hearing, and had no way to get evidence to disprove her. Stress? On a scale where 300 was considered at risk of suicide, I scored nearly *1,000.*
        So, “Job/economic stress” is very powerful. Eventually, I did what I should have done much earlier. I took all my evidence to the State Police, who investigated, and found exactly what I said they would. The outcome was: all IT was taken over by the state IT agency, and my “boss” was demoted to my position. Nearly 22 years later, I still get angry about it.
        IMO, *any abuse of power* is wrong. No matter how you “excuse it,” or try to “minimize” the facts. I “survived,” because it wasn’t the first time I’ve been in a “bad” situation. I’ve been fired, threatened, and been “warned” that drug dealers would want to stop my actions against them. None of those times came without cost.

    • I quote from Sherrie, “A petty part of me would love to see you put in that situation, just so you can understand how it feels.”

      Wow, you wish to see her raped!? You are a special sort aren’t you?

      • As I’m sure most of you have noticed Sherrie baby seems to have committed a drive by post. Slid into a semi private blog, made what was IMHO an extremely offensive set of comments, then disappeared entirely rather than make any attempt to respond to any of our rebuttals.
        Bitchy, stupid, and cowardly pretty much sums it up, but very typical of the free range precious flower let loose on the internet.

        • The more I think about it, the more I believe that Dear Sherrie probably WILL be raped sometime in the future. She clearly has little to no idea what the real world is like, and will therefore place herself in a position where the worst will happen to her.

          I take no pleasure in making this prediction. In fact, I wish I could think of a way to warn her that she would actually listen to (that wouldn’t get ME into a sh*tstorm of trouble).

    • As soon as your deign to write “A petty part of me…” everything else you say is meaningless. And suspect. It’s a pathetic attack, and a side-swipe at violent rebuttal. And it deserves condemnation and ridicule, not just because of societal infractions, but because you’re acting like a child and the adults don’t have to put up with it.

      Not to mention, if you’d read the entire post rather than reading until offended… but that’s too much to expect.

      Run along now, child. Go play in your pretty world.

      • Tut, tut, I’ve used– or would use– the phrase “a petty part of me.”

        Thing is, it’d be followed by something petty, not horrific.

        Example: when an idiot passes me illegally on the road and then cuts me off, a petty part of me hopes that the next time he does it, it’s a cop and he’s late for whatever is such a gosh-darn hurry about.

        Possibly being redundant, though. 😉

        • Sorry, in my twitchy anger I truncated inappropriately. I actually meant as soon as she uttered the entire phrase, I just didn’t want to repeat the offensiveness.

          Apologies for unclear writing. I’m wont to say/think similar things in traffic. Or maybe meaner things… 😉

        • I’ve seen the cop thing happen, though not in the exact fashion you describe.

          There’s a freeway off-ramp right next to a three-way intersection. Jerk on the off-ramp needs to get the the left-hand turn lane, which is full. So he pulls off of the off-ramp, up behind the last car in the left-hand turn lane, and blocks the right-hand turn lane (Meanwhile, I’m two cars back, and am pointedly *not* blocking the off-ramp so that anyone who wants to turn the other direction off of the off-ramp can do so; someone starts to edge up as if to follow the jerk, and I honk my horn at them and shake my head “No.” They get the message.).

          And then the cop showed up…

          The cop takes one look at the situation, and decides that traffic is too snarled to write a ticket to the guy (there’s no good spot to pull him over in the vicinity of that intersection). So he walks over, and forces the guy to pull into the right-hand turn lane instead. And because I’m familiar with the neighborhood, I know that he’s probably going to miss the only good spot to turn around and instead end up on one of the other residential blocks. The VERY LONG residential blocks.

          /evil grin

          I’m guessing that his attempt to save 30 seconds ended up costing him at least ten minutes, and likely more.

          • I, too, have seen the cop thing happen, although in this particular case, I helped it happen. About 20 years ago when I was in graduate school (has it been that long? *sob*) I lived in a semi-rural suburb north of Dallas that’s now covered with cookie cutter houses filled with cookie cutter people.

            I would take a two lane back road with no shoulders coming home from school to avoid the worst of the traffic. Just as the road got to to down it would dip into a small valley and widen into a four lane road before rising back up a hill to its previous level.

            On this particular afternoon, a jerk had been tailgating me the whole way into town. When he tried to pass me at the point the road widened, I sped up so that he would have to be going a good deal over the speed limit to do so. Of course he gunned it and flew by me and didn’t slow down. As soon as he did, I dropped back to the speed limit.

            When I got to the top of the next hill, the cop who had been sitting there every afternoon for a week (and that I was sure would still be there) had pulled him over.

            I waved as I went past.

          • Oooh. I have one.

            There was this residential road that connected several apartment complexes. It had a 35 degree speed limit at the top of the hill, then it dropped to 25 at the bottom. I happened to know (thanks to friends in the area) to know that there was a turn-off for a small complex that had a wide median where cops liked to sit, out of sight of traffic. So, sanely, I always went about 30 going through there. Splitting the difference, because who knows where the speed actually shifts?

            Some lady drives right up to my tail pipe, then ROARS around me, flipping me off all the while, while driving in the opposing lane. This is on a down slope of a hill, but it’s also curved.

            She was screaming at me at the top of her lungs (I had the music on, I have no idea what she said) then roared away.

            As I passed the cop hidey hole, I found that she was pulled over, and the cop was doing his walk. He was grinning big. He must have seen her pass me and spend WAY too much time in the passenger lane when she couldn’t see oncoming traffic. I’d guess reckless driving. She watched dolefully as I drive past. I waved at her cheerfully.

  9. I was trained in Clinical Psychology, and actually did all the course work and clinical work for a PhD (it’s quite a story as to why I didn’t get it). It burns me up when I read statistics that state half of all Americans have a mental illness, or that ten to twenty percent of people have bipolar disorder. If the diagnostic criteria name that large a percentage of the bell curve to be declared mentally ill, the diagnostic criteria needs to be changed. To me it is just an indication of how far into the realm of b*llsh*t psychology and psychiatry have wandered. I agree with you totally about this culture of “please don’t bruise my tender feelings.” I had real PTSD, from running into a big truck at almost sixty miles an hour (his fault, he ran the stop sign). Six months of seeing that truck growing in my windshield whenever I closed my eyes. Fear of seeing a big truck on the road with me. Guess what? I needed to use the road, so I had to deal with it and eventually got over it. My brother has PTSD from Vietnam, and has lived a good productive life with a good family despite it.
    I am amazed that you can do these posts every day, Sarah. I look forward to seeing what you have to say every morning, which is not a good thing, as I could be working on my own. But keep it up.

  10. I wouldn’t call your reaction under stress a PTSD symptom– but I also wouldn’t call half of the crud that folks get disability for PTSD, ignoring the open fraud. It’s the “cool kids” diagnosis of the hour– same way I would’ve been diagnosed as autistic, the normal-range-but-similar reactions get shoved into PTSD. Doesn’t mean it’s not describing a real thing, just…over broad common application.

    I shop at the commissary. There’s a guy– big guy, you can’t tell if he’s an old looking late thirties or a young looking sixties, and he has a hat that says “dysfunctional vet. Please, leave me alone.” (Yes, that does immediately make me want to talk to him. Perverse humans.)

    That guy probably has PTSD. Arguably, one of my uncles does– the recent therapy sure has improved him, anyways. (Vietnam. Only survivor of a river boat, and they didn’t know he’d survived for over a week.)

    Part of why I wouldn’t call “reacting to loud, sharp noises as if they are gunshots” a PTSD symptom is because I’ve been known to do it, though not to that level. Systems under stress try to patch themselves. I buy food, especially inexpensive, long-lasting stuff, and sparkly crafting supplies; my sister mothers anything holding still; my aunt says anything that hints at passing through her mind. (And didn’t that make for some rough patches!)

    • I beg to differ; I have many, many friends who were Over There with and without me who cannot stand to hear fireworks anymore. The pops and bangs start, and my friends’ll start panting, panicking, looking like caged animals. I know I hear the wrong kind of bang or boom, and I’m diving for cover and looking for my own weapon.
      It’s very much PTSD.

      • I don’t think what you heard is what I said….

      • You’re describing a different kind of reaction in your friends.

        I agree with Foxfier about Sarah’s not really being PTSD. Mostly because she didn’t have (or at least didn’t describe) a long-term (hours or more) reaction to it. Any reaction that seriously gets your adrenaline pumping is going to take minutes to calm down from, so unless it lasts longer than that, it’s probably just a type of startlement combined with a learned reflex. The symptoms you describe, however, are more serious, as they are something that is very hard to control, and even if they don’t admit it, it probably takes them a long time to completely recover from.

        I made a comment lower in the thread about my friend who discovered he unknowingly had PTSD years after coming back. It took him most of the day to recover completely the only time I know that it was triggered.

        • It takes me up to three days to calm down on certain things– but I think in my case it is because my berserker is triggered. Although in my family, the incidents that caused me to be hypersensitive lasted over five years.

          • It took me about a day to CALM down. I don’t know how long it lasted, because time goes wonky. I just know I was under the truck and looking at Robert who was looking confused and concerned.
            I don’t care if it’s PTSD or not. It’s D*mn annoying and thank G-d it doesn’t happen unless I’m “primed” by similar stresses.

            • Yea– I have to admit that if there is more than two or three stressors I am inclined to go wonky– I agree it is damn annoying–

            • Well, perhaps it is, then.

              I probably shouldn’t even give out an opinion (of course I’m going to have one, but perhaps I should keep it to myself), since I’ve led a positively peachy life compared to many of the people here.

              Of course, if I was a Special Flower, I would be a victim, because I Was Called Names in School, but somehow, having your first name turned into “Wiener” just doesn’t rise to the level of a life-traumatizing thing. I thought it was horrible at the time, but eh, you grow up and realize that they were just being assholes.

  11. For those who really can’t cope on a day to day basis, we have nice secure institutions for people who can’t control themselves and pose a risk to themselves or others. (I will take their word for it that it’s a real risk.)

  12. If this technique is ever used to actually silence opinions, here’s a counter: There are no shortage of people with the experience of being a еврей (“Hebrew”) under the U.S.S.R., and any positive portrayal of Marxism should oughta be “triggering” to them or their kids, amiright?

    But mockery now, before things get that far, is certainly the better option.

    • And, of course, there are those of us who have (unknowingly and unwittingly) “violated” some unidentified total stranger’s “safe space” by our mere presence in the same public area, and consequently been chained up stark naked in a jail cell over a long weekend, to be gang-raped by criminals.

      23 years, 7 months, and 15 days later, I’m _almost_ to the point where seeing a cop doesn’t give me all the symptoms of a heart attack. That probably _is_ PTSD. But, with the exception of the specific cops who actually stood outside the cell watching and laughing, it’s not anyone’s problem but mine. So I deal with it. It’s not like, even in the libertarian paradise of my wildest fantasies (let alone the real society we live in today), there wouldn’t be some need for police. We can’t just get rid of them all.

      (The white-hot rage that triggers whenever I see folks trying to turn SF fandom into the same sort of environment isn’t PTSD, though. That, I’ll assert, is an entirely _reasonable_ response. As is the response to Marxism of anyone who has actually lived under it, and managed to escape.)

      • There are legitimate and honorable law enforcement officers and then there are jack booted thugs. What is highly disturbing to me is what seems to be a trend for agencies to migrate towards the latter. I fear the ultimate conclusion should this continue is many dead citizens and not a few dead cops.

        • The recent trend toward No Knock house raids has already led to some of that when cops raid the wrong house and the owner happens to own a gun.

          • And the typical result is the innocent homeowner and at least one LEO getting at least wounded and far too often killed. And invariably no repercussions on law enforcement for their “tragic mistake.”

  13. -d knows I understand that. Every time I give up writing, I read a book… Never mind. Not the place to joke. (And I’m not even sure I’m joking.)

    Not a bad way to “understand” it– the difference is one isn’t disordered, or perhaps just isn’t harmful. Trying to act like addiction is some sort of strange thing you’ve got no points of reference in common with is part of what makes it hard to beat, I think.

  14. “Any woman who feels the need to faint when faced with a statistical truth – that women tend to cluster in the center of the bell curve while men cluster in the center. Yes, there’s more male geniuses. And more male morons. BUT this is not predictive of any given woman or man. It’s a statistical universe thing – is an unspanked baby.

  15. One of the less recognized advantages of being a libertarian is that I can say what I think in almost any social setting, among conservatives or liberals, and find people who disagree with me and even detest my ideas. So I’ve gotten immunized to the shock of disagreement and gone on to either “how do I talk to them?” or “is this a time to keep my mouth shut?” I’ve met people of both conventional persuasions who seem to have trouble with hearing actual disagreement. Though my experience has been that they go less to being deeply traumatized than to morally condemnatory rage.

    For that matter, I’ve had libertarians disagree with my ideas too. As in an old joke about Jews, if you have three libertarians in a room you have at least four opinions.

    Hearing that kind of disagreement used to be a fundamental part of a college education, both in the classroom and in bull sessions. For that matter, Heinlein made it central to the education of Patrolmen in Space Cadet, in the course in “Doubt.”

    • I know how you feel.

      I joked with some folks that I kind of hoped Romney would win, just so I would piss off completely different friend with my opinions on the president. 🙂

      • I’ve known a few folks who made the trip from Leftist to Conservative. They’ve noted that they didn’t have to stop hating Republicans.

        • I hate them all, and I’m not even conservative. And there are a few libertarians I’d like to beat upside the head, too. 😛
          Seriously — politics is a game of difficult compromises and more than half the world is crazy or stupid or yes.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Quote “All the world is crazy except for me and you and sometimes I wonder about you”. [Very Big Grin]

            • Heck, Drak, sometimes I wonder about ME.

              • Mostly I wonder about me. It’s one of the things I cling to. Similar to doubt.

                • Honest debate is a healthy thing. Problem is that there’s precious little of it these days.
                  I am reminded of a very perceptive observation popular of late: Conservatives think liberals are misinformed and misguided. Liberals think conservatives are evil. Does tend to make a lot of things make more sense even if overly simplified to large degree.

                  • One of the interesting things in this domain was the study that found that conservatives and libertarians, asked to answer questions as if they were liberals, were much better at doing so than liberals were at answering questions as if they were conservatives. Was it Jonathan Haidt who ran that one?

                    William Blake wrote that “opposition is true friendship,” and he had a point: If you want to know the truth, it’s a good thing to have your ideas questioned and challenged.

                  • Related is the observation that conservatives tend towards seeing politics as a Manichean struggle of order versus chaos. Liberals tend to see politics as a Manichean struggle of progress versus reaction. And libertarians tend to see politics as a Manichean struggle of freedom versus statism.

                    They’re all right. And they’re all wrong.

                    Politics is a process of trying to muddle through a bewildering set of tradeoffs. I call myself a conservative because conservatives seem to understand tradeoffs slightly better than the other choices. And I lean libertarian within my conservatism because I’m an Odd and feel the Odd’s visceral desire to just be left alone.

              • Heh..I scare myself sometimes. At this point I’m not quite there with our friend CF where humanity is concerned, but I’m approaching it.

            • “All the world’s mad save thee and me, and sometimes I think thee’s a little fetched” was my grandmother’s version.

          • Carl Henderson

            Being a libertarian means that you can have the same people calling you “fascist” and “anarchist” within the same month.

        • True enough.

          I went libertarian, so that meant I could still take issue with most Republicans.

          It would be nice to bitch with a different group of friends for a few years. I need the change 🙂

        • I think it was Lorne Michaels who recently said that conservatives can laugh at jokes about themselves, but liberals take everything personally.

          • He’s had to edit sketches a couple times I know of, once involving Clinton’s daughter, once when he insulted a couple of Obama campaign donors. As far as I know he never received a demand to censor anything he said about Bush or Reagan. So, probably accurate.

    • I’m Libertarian enough to have the same problem, so I sympathize.

      • The largest problem I have with Libertarianism is that most people aren’t smart enough to be libertarians.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Including some people who call themselves Libertarians? [Very Big Evil Grin]

          • Heh. (Looks around) Um, yeah. Some.

            Of course, I also realize that this opinion can easily give fodder for someone equating me with the type of Elitist who believes that the vast majority of people need to have their lives micromanaged, but I wouldn’t go that far.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Well Wayne, I’ve dealt with Libertarians who don’t understand the problems with their dream society. IE their dream societies would only work if everybody thought the same and would likely fall if confronted with a hostile non-libertarian society.

              Sarah’s Eden worked mostly because it was small enough but still had to deal with internal S.O.B.s.

              • Oh. I wasn’t even thinking that broadly. I meant some people don’t have the capacity for rationally deciding how to behave in a society without any specific rules to follow.

              • Same goes for any political philosophy. There are inherent assumptions that many adherents never take the time to examine. Which is frequently exasperating to those trying to work through the implications rationally.

                But calling your friends out in public creates discord, so I try to let the benign ones lie and only concern myself with the egregious ones. Usually.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  The libertarians that really annoy me (but I’ll let it pass if they’re friends) are those who keep saying “but it’ll work because enlightened self-interest”. Never mind “how do you get the vast majority to have enlightened self-interest” or “how do you deal with those who lack with your idea of enlightened self-interest”. Of course, Tom Kratman also talks about “how do you defend that society”. [Smile]

                  • I can relate to that.

                    Of course, I’ve made some rather serious people very upset by saying that actions have consequences, and sometimes the latter is lethal, and should be. That is, I don’t see it as *my* job to save most people from their own stupidity. Doing that causes them harm by denying them the experience, without which they expect unrealistic things, like, oh, the recent Stockholm Syndrome of a certain political class with enemies that profess to want to kill them…

                  • Oh, enlightened self interest doesn’t have to be all that complicated or enlightened. Simple self interest does a lot. And “enlightened” self interest generally means “smart enough to understand the abstract concept of tomorrow.” Ie. Self-interest might suggest that I can get what I want by lying. Enlightened self-interest would suggest that people will remember my lie and hold it against me.

                    If it’s some huge societal thing where “enlightened self-interest” supposedly means that I ought to happily comply with Obamacare because it will be better for everyone… well, what “enlightened” actually means is being smart enough to realize that any system that depends on everyone’s compliance can only happen in the absence of freedom, and not even then.

                    So if some libertarian someplace is suggesting that some sort of self-interest, no matter how enlightened, can make something contrary to human nature work on a large scale because it’s a good idea… they’ve gone so far down the road that they met the progressives on the other side.

            • Wayne, the thing about being smart enough to be a libertarian is that you realize that no matter how dumb people are, and they are, that they are still subject matter experts on their own lives, and even if most people mess up more than they get it right, society as a whole is stronger and functions better in the aggregate as a result of every one’s mess-ups than it functions under the centralized control of experts.

  16. Actually fat jokes don’t even make me feel uncomfortable. I know I’m fat. I don’t like it. For various reasons I have trouble controlling it. But you know what? It’s still funny. Heck, I make fat jokes myself.

    My favorite to deploy– I’ve had at least baby-sized child for about the last five years so it gets used a lot
    *someone admires my fat, happy, mostly bald baby*: “Oh, he looks just like you!”
    *mommy, beaming*: “Yep! Short, fat and needs his hair fixed!”

    • Dangit, even though I wasn’t drinking anything, I’ve got sinus troubles today, and that made me have to grab for the tissues!

    • heh. Excellent. Barbs- my better half’s “I don’t think I look Winston Churchill” (our 2 – both slim and 6′ or more, were solid, fat and had Churchillian dignity – long since gone too) was pretty good too.

  17. I read a book once (can’t recall the name at the moment) that talked about the special snowflake tendency to constantly live out their traumas because they can control the behaviors of others around them. If someone makes a point of telling everyone that they were raped or abused during a normal conversation then, chances are, they’re trying to make people uncomfortable or get some kind of result in the moment. I’m not talking about a discussion like we’re having here where Sarah is making a point about *not* being traumatized by uncomfortable experiences or when the telling is relevant to an ongoing discussion.

    I think this is an outgrowth of the Oprah culture. We’ve all been told we’re victims of something (usually our mothers) and that we’re not responsible for our bad decisions because we’re all so victimized. I don’t think being the perpetual victim is only controlling the behaviors of other, I think it’s also a way to never, ever be held responsible for stupid behavior.

    • Add to that the telling everybody they have PTSD, in totally unrelated conversations. I know a couple of Vietnam Vets that lived perfectly functional lives for forty years after coming back. But somehow in the last few years they have been convinced they have PTSD (in my more cynical moments I believe they have been convinced by the possibility of receiving pay for it). Now they are going to psychologists who convince them they need to talk about it, or maybe they think if they tell EVERYBODY they have it, people will be convinced they do, and it will excuse all sorts of behaviors. So it comes up in every conversation.
      “How much more firewood are you going to need?”
      “Another cord, no better make it two, with my PTSD I don’t want to run short.”*

      *Yes, that is an actual conversation.

      • Since it happens to be one of my hot button issues I wonder how they’re going to feel when they discover that the PTSD diagnosis removes their right to own or even touch any firearm. Seems to be one of those back door gun control thingies the current administration is pushing under the radar.

        • I am pretty sure that little bomb is being primed for Veterans.

          • I’m pretty certain that it is, also.

          • It’s already being done.

          • Eleanor Roosevelt, bless her dear little progressive heart, was telling folks for a time that Marines coming home from the Pacific needed to be put in camps to reeducate them. Y’know, to demilitarize their minds so they would be safe to walk among us again.

            No. I’m not kidding. I’ll dig up the source if you are skeptical.

            • I am not surprised at all after researching what she did to the Appalachians.

            • She is NOT my favorite person– not even my second– more on an enemy of the people list.

            • I’d appreciate the cite. Not because I doubt you – you’ve been a straight shooter in all I’ve seen – but because I may want to refer back to it or pass it on.

              • Okay, I’ll have to walk it back slightly. It was only rumored that she was saying this. Source of the rumor:

                Wheeler, Richard. 2007. Iwo. Castle Books: ISBN 978-0-7858-2306-3.

                I may actually own this one, so I’ll get the precise wording when I’m done chipping obsidian for the day and am back in my library.

                • Well there is credible evidence that she was a closet lesbian, not that it matters except as to her tendencies toward hippocracy and deception. It’s well established that her husband died in the company of his mistress. And I cannot find any record that she made any attempt whatsoever to dissuade FDR from his policy of interning native born American citizens based strictly on their ethnicity.
                  So, neither he nor her are among my favorite people for those and many more reasons.

                  • I don’t know if anything has been definitely established about her sexuality. I’ve noticed a certain eagerness for the gay and lesbian community to claim famous figures of the past as one of their own on the scantiest evidence. Also, there is some evidence that her estrangement from Franklin (which is not seriously questioned by anyone) was the result of her infidelity, not his, and the partner was male.

                    I am no fan of FDR. His leadership during World War II was passable, for the most part, with both glaring stupidities and notable strokes of genius. On balance, I think most men astute enough to gain and hold the office of president and smart enough to let Marshall and King do their jobs would probably have done as well. But his domestic policies were disastrous.

                    He and Bill Clinton had less in common than is sometimes supposed. But I’ll grant this commonality: I look at either of their wives, and I almost feel sympathetic to them. Almost.

                    • “He and Bill Clinton had less in common than is sometimes supposed. But I’ll grant this commonality: I look at either of their wives, and I almost feel sympathetic to them. Almost.”

                      *choke, cough, snort*


                • Okay, here’s full quote from Wheeler, Iwo, pp 47-48:

                  “Marines in general liked the President, even though they bore a grudge against his wife, Eleanor. She was reputed to have said that the Marine Corps combat veterans, as they rotated from the Pacific to the States, should be put into a special camp that allowed them to reassociate with their fellow Americans only in easy stages. Eleanor had no cause at all to say this. All they had done was smash up a few West Coast saloons.”

                  So it’s a barracks rumor. Still would be interesting to know how it started and why it took hold. My guess is she never said it, but it was just the thing you’d have expected her to say. Like a lot of Yogi Berra or Winston Churchill quotes.

              • Clam’s got research.

            • The oyster is right– this would be a good source to have actually.

        • I have pointed that out to at least one of those, who promptly blew it off. I also know of a couple of Afghanistan vets who probably do have PTSD (I’m not going to make the mistake of diagnosing something I’m not qualified to, but I would say yes) who absolutely refuse to talk to anybody about it, because they don’t want any hint of it on their record to come back and bite them later.

      • I’m in the last generation of my country which has people who were brought up by parents who had been in the war (one or two or all of the three my country was in during the World War II) and both my parents and all of my uncles had been in the front lines (or in my mother’s case, just behind since for a while she served as a cook to the troops). When they had come back to civilian life there was no therapy to be had unless they paid for it themselves, and the only ones who’d go for that pretty much had to be total basket cases since the general opinion was that a man – and the women too – should be able just to deal with it and go on with their lives afterwards. Not being able to do that was something shameful.

        And most of them did deal with it. One of my uncles was an alcoholic most of his life, and my father had problems with alcohol although he could keep it in check, if just barely at times, and when I was a child it was generally assumed that most of the older men living on the streets were veterans, but there weren’t that many more alcoholics or otherwise mentally disabled people than there are now. They dealt with it. And most of them did it with no help whatsoever since that was what was expected in their generation.

        • Hm. Most of them also seemed to be quite fond of war movies. I recently read that there would have been some promising results from treating PTSD by deliberate exposure to triggers under controlled environment, in that case I think it was by war vets playing some first person shooters.

          Maybe one should suggest that to the people who claim they get flashbacks if they see or hear a word somewhere. Repeated exposure.

          All this does kind of sound as we are back to the Victorian times in some ways, only now the delicate flowers don’t have any manners themselves.

        • From what I’ve read of what your country went through at that time, I’d say that if totally incapacitating PTSD was as easily acquired as some claim that 90% of your population should have been unable to function.

          Instead, that period added the codicil “and never, under any circumstances, invade Finland” to the list of military Bad Ideas.

          • Indeed, reading a good account of the Winter War should really put a lot of this into perspective. Coincidentally just got a copy of an interesting board game monster Sim of the Winter War designed by a Finn. Going to play it at Consimworld in Tempe this year.

          • Unauthenticated but plausible quote from Finnish citizens at the time:

            “They are so many and we are so small. Where will we find room to bury them all?”

            • While the Finns and the Soviets in WW2 is a great underdog story.. keep in mind that the Finns ended up folding after the Germans were pushed out of the USSR. The Finns were able to hold their own for a while during the Winter War, but ultimately ended up handing over the lands that the Soviets had asked for. And while they retook that land following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Finns appear to have had no illusions about their ability to hold onto it once the Germans were driven back out of the USSR.

              • The Finns were indeed pushed back along the frontiers by the Soviet Union during the Winter War. But at immense cost, and while the initial claims by the Soviet Union were for that frontier, when the Soviets began the actual invasion they created a communist Finnish “government in exile” in preparation for fully occupying Finland. They failed to do that and agreed to an armistice even as the Finns were on their last resources in large part because the Finns had so torn up the Soviet armies.

                The history gets more confusing as among the supposed motivations for the British invasion of Norway at Narvik was to create a supply line to Finland. (Yes, the British and French planned an invasion of Norway in 1940, the Germans just launched theirs a day earlier …) But the armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union cut that off. The story of the Continuation War, and the subsequent Finnish attacks on German forces in Finland as part of the final agreement with the Soviet Union toward the end of the war are certainly less inspiring. Col. Henrik Lunde wrote a good book “Finland’s War of Choice” that describes the less flattering aspects of Finland’s attempts to navigate stuck between a rock and a hard place.

                • When I was a teen I read “Two Eggs on My Plate” which was a spy story of the Norwegian underground. (They’d been trained in England and the announcement that one was finally being sent out was real eggs for a meal.)

                  I should look for that again now that Amazon exists and the internet. It was probably not a widely distributed book.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Two Eggs on My Plate by Oluf Reed Olsen?

                    Looks like Amazon only has used copies.

                    • Very likely so!

                      It was an amazing book. I remember how tension filled I thought it was and at the end I realized that they only had a couple of close calls (a patrol once walked between their radio-station dug-outs without finding them, and IIRC, right after parachuting in they were hitch hiking and got given a ride by the Germans looking for them) and I realized that it was real and not a movie. Which was actually sort of a profound thing for a teenager.

                    • Work with the various resistance groups was dangerous, as the Germans were able at counter-intel work and ruthless, but your life expectancy went up greatly if you avoided being in the French Resistance since the French had an ongoing contest to see who could rat to the Germans first.

                      Which reminds me of a Trevanian line …

                  • There was a chldren’s book about Norwegian kids sledding the Norwegian gold reserves to a camouflaged boat under the noses of the Germans. Do not recall the name; it was decades ago. Supposedly a true story, but doubtless dressed up.

                    There is also “We Die Alone” which is about the sole survivor of a botched Norwegian underground operation. Wrenching.

              • There is an old military axiom that it is possible to lose a war by winning a hard fought battle. The Finns seem custom designed to provide that battle.

          • Scandinavians, and particularly Finns, have a reputation for being non-emotive depressives. We go crazy quietly and carry on.

            I wonder if anyone has done serious study of how culture affects dealing with trauma. When I was a teen the “truth” was that failing to “let it out” when you were emotional made you crazy. That didn’t seem right to me, because didn’t it make more sense to simply not get emotional? Now the new “truth” is that expressing upset makes it last longer and increases the severity. Punching or screaming into a pillow simply keeps you mad longer.

            But something else about the culture… if you don’t cry at a funeral, no one thinks you aren’t torn up because your mother died. If you *do* cry at a funeral they all pretend not to notice. No one thinks you’re not angry if you don’t yell and slam things. You’re expected to quietly suffer and no one demands you mourn or cry or see a grief counselor… and if you cry for your dead relative six months after he was buried, you do it in private. And maybe you tell someone but only after you calm down.

            No one demands you get better. Get treatment. Be fixed. Mourn *now*. Have your trauma’s *now*. Talk about your feelings. Talk to someone who makes it all go away. Don’t be broken anymore. “Grief counselors are available to staff in the conference room.” And I’m.. WTF? Are they going to tell me how to do this *right*?

            Me? I cry six months later.

            • The way that people grieve is the way they grieve, but yeah, a lot of people do have definite expectations which they aren’t shy about forcing on you.

              One of the biggest fights EVER that happened in both fandom and real life TV production was the time they had an episode on a show about going to an awkward funeral. It turned out that the guy in charge (and many viewers) expected a solemn funeral (a la being Italian-American), but the main actor and the director thought that the funeral ep should include some dark humor (a la being Irish-American). Hooboy, big fight of cultural expectations.

              The fate of “Dies Irae” is another one. It used to be sung at every Catholic funeral Mass, but all of a sudden it became viewed as “depressing” and was pretty much outlawed by the usual Sixties/Seventies suspects. So now you’re more likely to hear it during a videogame or an anime than for its actual purpose. Then people sing stuff like “Danny Boy” or “My Way” for funerals, instead of in their intended settings. We are so weird.

        • I recommended Stolen Valor by B. G. Burkett. Turns out more of those homeless vets are fake than it looks at first glance.

          • Some forty years ago in Finland many of them really were vets. Back then a very high percentage of all of the middle aged or older men were vets, and since the ones who dropped out didn’t have too many options if their family could not look after them, yep, was pretty true here, then.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        This might be the right spot in the thread for this.

        You know how awesome it is when Kratman goes to a forum unprepared for him, then ruthlessly, meticulously and politely discusses things to shreds?

        I enjoy these, but they aren’t purely fun for me.

        A ways back, I was upset, and ended up reading Kratman as part of getting over it. Problem now is that something got crossed, and people who say stupid bullshit about Kratman anger me more than they should.

        So I don’t read as many as I might otherwise would.

        I have other strange things I get abnormally irritated by.

        I mainly take it as evidence that there is no right to avoid being angered or offended. If it is unduly burdensome to protect me from such, I don’t see why other must be afforded such as a matter of obligation.

        My temper and baggage are my business.

  18. I think the key takeaway from your response to importunate males on the bus is that YOU ARMED YOURSELF IN SELF-DEFENSE. Yes, it was an improvised sharp object and not a chemical-powered slug-thrower, but you did take up arms against the sea of troubles AND BY OPPOSING, END THEM. Good on ya. Fuck this whining; Display your triggers loud and proud. Let the snowflakes deal. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

    • For instance, I DO have a trigger. Pinch my butt, and I will rock your head off your shoulders with an instant punch. Can’t be controlled. This was due to an experience when I was EIGHT.
      Know what? My husband was warned, anyone I know is likely to do it for a joke gets warned. If a stranger pinches my butt, he gets what’s coming to him. (And strangers, needless to say, should keep hands to themselves.)

      • Don’t these men have mothers? Mine taught me NEVER to do that. The key point is very libertarian: respect for other individuals AS individuals.


        • Mine parental units taught me there was ONE situation where it would be acceptable to treat a lady in that way — if she did it first. (Pinch, slap, hit, whatever…) I have one friend I wouldn’t hesitate to pinch in such a fashion — after she knew I was there, and I knew she knew.

          Could be dangerous otherwise, as she is a veteran (of the military police) AND a survivor…

      • It would never have occurred to me to pinch your, or any other woman’s butt.

        Back to chipping obsidian …

        • Towel slapping isn’t agreeable either (some dishwasher in a restaurant I worked in at 16 used to do that to the prettiest girls or jab them in the ribs– I don’t like it at all– and causes involuntary muscle spasms– ummm– yep, that is what I call it)

          • Funny. It’s like Fifth Grade. All of that is a shy attempt to convey affection and admiration. But it IS a ten-year-old’s mode of expression. Not becoming in men. Plus: your desire for something doesn’t give you title for it. And have some sympathy for the poor girl. She has to go through life with every many around her thinking of bedding her — and little else. Hell, for all you know, if you treat her like a human being and not a pair of tits, she might actually be attracted to you.


          • My cousin, when she was 16, slapped the guy in the ass right back again and he stopped.

            I admired that because while I never got my butt slapped by that guy at that job, I wouldn’t have done anything so constructive because I’d have been all bogged down in reflexive non-confrontation mode.

            I do think that a lot of girls and young women should probably *practice* appropriate responses… like returning a pinch with a fist, or a slapped butt with a *slapped* butt and, “You’re not doing that again. Right, didn’t think so.”

            • I hope she wet the end of the towel (makes it hurt more). 😉

            • One of many reasons I’ve talked to my daughter a lot about the appropriate application of elbows to tender anatomical bits.

            • “I do think that a lot of girls and young women should probably *practice* appropriate responses.”

              And that is the evolutionary reason why brothers and sisters ought to squabble a little when they’re younger. It doesn’t have to be outright warfare, but there ought to be some fighting reflexes established.

              • I’m happy to know I was providing my little sisters with an important survival skill for later in life.

                Yeah… that’s the ticket.

                • My dad had a seriously wonderful WWII-era self defense book, called “Get Tough” – by one Major Fairbairn, who apparently taught a course to British commandos, following on his experiences as a police officer in 1930s Shanghai. It is a compendium of the dirtiest fighting tricks known to man or woman – and my brother and I followed them to the letter – although we had to dial down the force considerably. Sometimes we practiced them in a swimming pool, which did also cut down on the force… but I did once get my bro in the groin with my knee … which doubled him up, even at a quarter-force.
                  Yes, I did feel awful about that – and I am almost certain that this sparring around didn’t have ANYTHING to do with the fact that he has never fathered children … that we know about anyway.
                  A reprint seems to be available on Amazon –

                  My daughter (the USMC veteran) still has Dad’s copy of the manual, though. Seriously, it’s a very good directory of dirty fighting tricks. Dad also taught and drilled my sister and I on how to break a grip on our wrists. Lever against the thumb. Unless the being with a grip is a gorilla with a handspan enough to go twice around or something – it worked.

  19. I have a friend who discovered several years after coming home from Iraq that he does have a form of PTSD, but the trigger was so far up the scale of being difficult to reach, it’s unlikely that he will hit it more than a few times in his life, if ever again. Since it’s not my story, I won’t go into details, but just wanted to point out that it can lie dormant for a long time, completely unnoticed.

  20. I’m just curious about something, and maybe my fellow Huns can help me out with this.

    When did, “I am woman, hear me roar” turn into “I’m a shrieking violet, don’t let the mean man say mean things to me”? I mean, at what point in history did it turn from an effort to be treated as equals (something I agree with completely!) into women being treated as special?

    We all know it happened. I’m just trying to finger the turning point.

    • Around the nineties. And btw the rest of the world MOCKS us for it. “American women are all convinced they’re victims” — heard from French, Spanish and English friends.

      • I was in my leftie phase during that time unfortunately, and probably missed it.

        I wish I could go back in time and give myself a swift kick in the ass I so desperately needed.

      • Funnily enough, I’ve heard from European (and middle-eastern) males that “Americans let their women get away with so much because they’re afraid of them.” Which makes me have to laugh my ass off. First, you don’t “let” and American woman do anything. Second, far from being afraid of them, we’re (Well, I am.) very PROUD of them. The kick-ass American chick. Big Difference between Molly Fighter the Jock going Mach3 with her hair on fire and Precious Snowflake in the Ivy League with her vapors and fainting spells, Eh?


      • Well, is anyone really surprised? I mean, in modern America, “victim” is the most prestigious and remunerative career you can get that doesn’t require at least one of:

        1. A marketable skill
        2. A pleasant and agreeable personality
        3. A sexually desirable body

      • Sounds pretty damn amusing to me too.

    • Tom, you might look at the book, _One Nation, Under Therapy_ by Christina Hoff Summers and Sally Satel. IIRC, and it’s been a while, but they do a good job of taking apart the problematic side of counseling and some forms of therapy. It’s one of those love-it-or-hate-it books.

    • *lightbulb*

      You know… it might actually make sense, if you look at it this way:
      Starting point: I am woman, hear me roar; I can deal with anything– with the unstated, but rational and commonly accepted assumption that everyone has a breaking point. The speaker is saying they are just as able as anybody to deal with anything that basic society will throw at them, a sort of “reasonable man” test.

      Said roaring woman runs into stuff she can’t handle.

      If the starting point is true, and the unspoken assumption is true, then the thing that they can’t handle must be an unacceptable thing which society should stamp out.

      • Interesting. And, while said roaring woman is dealing with something you can’t handle, she never thinks about the fact that men run into this all the time as well.

        They are just conditioned to suck it up because, particularly in earlier eras, men just sucked it up.

        I’m not sure I’m ready to accept that premise, but it does make a certain amount of sense.

        • Oh, I think the starting premise is insane with bells tied on, but I try to figure out where folks are coming from; you’re right that men have dealt with the stuff, and so have other women. Just because someone doesn’t talk about something incessantly doesn’t mean they haven’t dealt with it.

          • On that, we have total agreement.

            The thing is, I considered myself a feminist for a lot of years, because I truly believe that while the genders are different, one is not necessarily superior to the other and that anyone could do anything. I still believe this.

            Unfortunately, feminism isn’t even close to that from what I’ve seen these days, and I damn sure don’t like what I see. Of course, I’m a man and therefore not allowed to have an opinion.

            Good thing for me, they’re allowed to have an opinion on what men should think and do.

            • I’m not really a woman, since I agree with you.

              On the upside, a lot of young women are saying they are NOT feminists because they agree with us!

              • I’ve sometimes said that I’d be a feminist except that I’m not invited.

              • Yup, me too. I only really, really, a lot look like a girl, but I’m not a girl in my brain. *rolls eyes* Sorta like how O is totally black and Tom Sowell isn’t. (???) Wait for a moment while I update my politically correct lingo. You’ll be waiting a while. Must be my defective coprocessor…

                • Look like, heck, I’m nursing.

                  • LOL. Oh, yes, but didn’t you know? Bearing children is patriarchal subjugation of the sisterhood… BLAH! Who invented this nonsense? Was it opposite day?!

                    • Not to mention that the latest style for women is recently dead, that is, corpselike– posed by a crazy killer. Yet… I hear crickets from our vaunted bastion of political correctness.

                    • To give an unwarranted serious response– I think it was thought up by women who’d made bad choices, regretted them, and wanted to be told they were good– better than good, they were more fulfilled than the choice they regretted not making.

                    • I think they resent the lighthouse quality of reality. They really, really want that lighthouse to move out of their way. Parting the Dead sea isn’t enough. They were told they’d be like gods, gosh darn it, why isn’t it happening right now? Note: I’m often only half joking. The scary thing is, my joke to reality ratio keeps dropping, yet I’m pretty sure my humor hasn’t escalated.

                    • *Wry* Ain’t that the truth.

    • When did, “I am woman, hear me roar” turn into “I’m a shrieking violet, don’t let the mean man say mean things to me”?

      (Emphasis mine). “Turn into” imples that the first goes away and is replaced by the second. But this hasn’t happened: plenty of modern feminists maintain both positions, and will trot out whichever one seems most appropriate to the situation at hand. Most have the sense to keep them well separated so people don’t twig to the hypocrisy, but some special snowflakes have been known to include both positions in the same essay, separated only by a single paragraph. (Or, in one truly special case I remember reading, though I can’t remember where so I can’t give a cite, separated only by a single sentence).

      Replace “turn into” with “get the addendum” in your sentence above, and I’ll be 100% in agreement with you, instead of only 98.7% in agreement.

  21. But if you keep up with the helpless-flower act, you’re going to end up giving people the impression that ALL OF US need to be protected.

    The mass guilt thing is already there– “oh, you object to my willful manipulation and abuse? Well, you women asked for it!” (Translation: some activist a generation before you were born yelled at me, once, for holding the door open. It must be an all women thing, and I will punish you for it. I really hate the way the dumb feminist logic has spread.)

    • I still hold doors open. You yell at me for it and you likely will be ‘traumatized’ by the verbal abuse heaped on you. But then you have just proven yourself to NOT be a lady, and specifically asked NOT to be treated like one. So you can hardly complain about me treating you like you just asked me to.

      • That is a reasonable reaction. 😀

      • I open doors for everyone, male and female. BASIC courtesy in my book.

        • Yes– whoever has their hands full, I will open the doors for them– or if I am first to the door…

          • Perfectly logical and sensible, but of course you and Sarah are gender of privilege. Let a male politely do the same in say Madison Wisconsin and he will quickly find his special parts ripped off and handed to him. Only a slight exaggeration, and I speak from personal experience.

            • I just don’t understand that particular attitude.– special parts ripping should be saved for egregious offenses. Good manners are a contract between two people. I notice all the time that good manners are not taught to the youngsters. I am particularly offended when they want to call me by my first name without an honorific. I guess I am getting old-fashioned as I get older.

              • Folks do it because they get power from doing it, and it’s a socially acceptable/defended by the “correct” people method. Yes, I figured that out after listening to one too many lectures about power being the root of relationships and stuff…then remembering that a good way to figure out what a leftist is doing is to look at what they accuse you of doing.
                (And a good way to figure out what a rightie has temptations to but has successfully fought is to see what they have special disdain for; different philosophies.)

            • My sister-in-law couldn’t wait for my brother to retire so she could move away from Pittsburgh because of seeing that kind of thing, and people in general not teaching their boys such things.

            • True. I had a similar experience about 20 years ago, back when I was in college.
              I was on my way to class, and I knew someone was behind me, so I held the door for them. The person behind me turned out to be both female, and extremely pissed off about that decision. Mid-way through her rant, I let go of the door. It was 8ft tall, 2″ thick, made of oak, and on a very strong spring. She tried to catch it. She couldn’t have weighed 100lbs. soaking wet. The physics worked about like you’d expect them to.

              Watching her somersault down the stairs is a memory I’ve enjoyed replaying a time or three.

          • Needs a “Like” button.

        • “I held the door for you because I took you for a fellow human being. I apologize for the error.”

          (Here in NYC, most people hold the door for others without regard for sex.)

        • Yup. I do that too, especially for veterans and folks older than me. And people carrying things or babies. Seems reasonable. Though my husband gets confused when I do it for him… which is probably cheating. 🙂

          I also make a point of thanking everyone who holds the door open for me. I especially like those stunned expression when the man realizes I’m saying something nice! Or I would enjoy it if the reason behind it wasn’t so *headdesk* inducing. Talk about letting no good deed go unpunished. Also helps that feministas are less likely to chew ME out for holding the door open for them. Though some have tried. I just grin and say, “You’re welcome.”

      • Most exterior public doors these days are double doors. You hold the first one for me, and I’ll hold the next one for you. 🙂

        On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > bearcat commented: “I still hold doors open. You yell at me for it and > you likely will be ‘traumatized’ by the verbal abuse heaped on you. But > then you have just proven yourself to NOT be a lady, and specifically asked > NOT to be treated like one. So you can hardly complai” >

      • sabrinachase

        OK, funny story time. (possible triggers: door opening, males) 😀 I grew up on the West Coast, but went to college on the East Coast. At least where I was, there was a bit more of the culture of “men hold open doors/pull out chairs for women”. That I was unaware of. Until finally one of my male friends asked “Are you mad at me for some reason?” Turns out I had been blowing by all of his courteous gestures because I had assumed if he was opening a door *he* intended to go through it, and I’d either wait or use an alternate door. High praise to my friend who knew me well enough to know he could ASK without getting his head bitten off, and once I explained my perspective, and assured him I was not mad at him, it turned into a joke. me: “since you’ve been so nice today I will let you open a door for me” him: “OH GOODY!”

      • Incidentally, out here in the wilds of Soggy Side, Washington, I’ve been frequently and pleasantly surprised at how many folks (even ones younger than me!) will go out of their way to help me with doors when I’m hauling my kids around.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IMO anybody with a hint of empathy and remembers how they behaved as a kid would do that. [Smile]

          • IMO anybody with a hint of empathy

            Well, Seattle, so it’s a huge shock.

            (JOKING! We’ve got a slightly higher percentage of jerks, and sometimes they’re louder, but mostly I couldn’t resist a joke opening like that.)

      • Depending on the individual, you can use the door thing to poke back if they object. Just “clarify” that you’re holding the door open out of respect for their advancing years, and not due to their gender.


    • I’m guilty of this. I just had a conversation with my oldest niece a couple of weeks ago. She got on me about leaving a toilet seat up. I inquired as to whether she was a woman. She acknowledged that she was. I asked her if women could do anything men could do. She stated that they could. I then asked her if men were capable of lifting a toilet seat lid. She replied in the affirmative. I then pointed out that if I (being a man) could lift a toilet seat lid then so could she (being a teenage gir…err a woman).

      I’ll be honest here Fox. I have a real problem with this attitude. In the past, men opened doors/lifted toilet seats/carried the bags because women were the weaker sex. It was their due and necessary because they couldn’t do it themselves. Guess what though? It’s the twenty-first century and women are no longer “the weaker sex.” If you’re capable of doing for yourself (and the VAST majority of women are) then you should do it yourself. Like my mama always says when I ask her to do something when I’m capable of it: “Your arms ain’t broken.” Seriously. The Frederick Douglass quote from yesterday was specifically about blacks, but it could be applied to women, regardless of race, as well.

      • I’ve had that toilet seat discussion.

        It ended with my pointing out that if his inability to not piss on the seat required him to change the area to avoid it, he should put it back in order when he was done.

        Making a lesser mess to be responsible doesn’t mean you then get to demand others clean it up.

        I don’t demand that men behave like gentlemen, but I’m for dang sure not going to pretend that they are doing so when they are not, and I’m not going to pretend that being an ass and being a non-gentleman-male are the same thing.

        • Being a gentleman has become much harder in the last [mumble] years.

          Raised my sons to behave as gentlemen, with some pointed instruction as to when those behaviors should not be applied.

          Being a gentleman is not necessarily an inoculation against being, or at least being considered, an ass. And that, my friends, has been the reality for as long as “gentleman” has been a meaningful label.

      • There is nothing worse as a woman to go stumbling into the bathroom where the toilet seat was down the last time you saw it (plus you are not thinking because you are on the edges of the dream), sit down, and get hit with cold water. I have had that discussion with brothers and the husband. Nowadays we have separate bathrooms because of the chemo I am toxic to others–

        • My husband leaves the toilet seat down not because I’m speshul snowflake or because I’m so delicate I need to be protected, or because I’m female and therefore win. Nope, he puts it back down because he loves me, and he knows I’m too sleepy to check in the middle of the night.

          I appreciate the courtesy and thoughtfulness. He appreciates sleeping soundly and not getting woken up by a loud squawk and very unhappy noises.

          • This I celebrate, because you treat it as a courtesy done out of love. And not a privilege to be demanded.

          • Which is why the cats are kept out of our bathroom/bedroom at night. Let’s just say cats don’t like a stream of liquid on them. And I don’t like claws, and the resulting mess had us cleaning the carpet. (In another house, long ago.)

            • Cats, and only place to keep the litter box being in toilet leads to a simple rule -> seat and lid (is it called that, btw?) always down except when in use. Otherwise the bloody things will go swimming regularly. Well, I do live alone but I have guests sometimes, and so far they have remembered that pretty well.

            • ::snortle:: The cats is why we BOTH keep the lid closed. We’ve seen too many bold kittens (there are no Old, Bold Kittens) teeter on the edge of something to risk the accidental swirly.

          • Courtesy and thoughtfulness and love. It’s a shame so many folks miss out on those simple, wonderful things because their silly personal crusades are too important to be set aside for another.

      • There never was an era in which women were so weak as to be unable to open a door. Indeed, most women of most eras were stronger than most men today. Agricultural labor does that to you.

        • And kitchen work. Mary, I couldn’t lift the cast iron frying pan that cooked enough eggs and sausages for twelve. But it was routine for grandma’s generation. (And they ditched them for aluminum SO fast.)

    • *shrug* that falls under what used to be called “chivalry” holding the door for a lady. The idea of tossing your coat over a puddle so they wouldn’t get their feet wet[I never understood that one. that idea of that one makes me want put peoples heads through walls for ruining perfectly good coats] Pulling out chairs, etc. It ain’t quite dead, I do it, though not all the time. Frankly with all the “I am a woman who doesn’t need men, so hear me roar” brand of feminism…and that “attitude” seemingly more prevalent? I’m waaay less inclined to bother. For folks older than me I generally do it, my momma for one. for most of the rest of general population I run into? Because as I said, that attitude seems to be so prevalent, especially in the younger generation behind me, and even in my own generation? It just depends…I may or I may not.

      • Actually, most feminazi-types (the ones who’ll take your head off for pulling out their chair for them) exhibit plenty of signifiers (should we say “triggers”?). While there isn’t a uniform, nor sumptuary laws, it doesn’t take much radar to spot them. It’s a mode of dress, choices in grooming, jewelry and accessories.


  22. Good morning and welcome to English Literature 201. Note that your reading list for this semester includes See the Kid Run by Bob Ottum, The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski and Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. I have been asked by the University Department of Mental Health to please have your student ID ready along with your group ID and the name of your treatment team leader when you request counseling.

    Treatment team leader Fred Reed requests that you bring your own tequila, vodka, wine and pot.

    Now then, shall we get started? Any anyone that feels uncomfortable can help themselves to a down pillow from the pile in the corner. Ignore the young man sucking his thumb.

  23. Sarah– I turn to fiction in difficult times– it is an escape and it calms my emotions. I learned that early during my first difficult times– so yes, I may be addicted to them.

    I am married to a Vietnam Vet– and he once told me that everyone he knew that went there did get PTSD. It was how you learned hot to cope. He kept a large knife under his pillow. I do think that together we have calmed those waters.

    I don’t know if I have PTSD or not- I do know that I have automatic defense mechanisms for different physical threats. Also I have an extreme fear of spiders (I was bit at three years old)– I have been able to calm that one (first reaction was to kill). I know get the hubby to get the spider out of the house.

    It is harder to control my reaction to triggers after being on chemo– and I will leave it at that. I did know at a very young age that I had a beast inside of me that if I didn’t keep on a leash could cause havoc. I do know what havoc looks like– in a very personal way.

  24. I wonder if some of this stems from a desire to grab some of the cachet of earlier social movements for themselves. The civil rights and first-wave feminism movements were pretty much done deals before most of these hothouse flowers were born. They’ve been raised on stories of how heroic those old dragonslayers were, and desperately want to emulate them. Unfortunately, THOSE dragons are gone, and the real dragons of today can hurt you, so they dress a common frog in a hallowe’en costume and make a big show of how heroic they are to do battle with that.

  25. Trigger warning – when the rangemaster calls “Rang hot, fire when ready.” Or “Dang, that’s got a light/heavy trigger pull.” Or “Cleta, get your d-mn booger hook of the [gerund] bang switch or I will throw you out of this range so hard you’ll leave a crater in the next county!”

    Yes, I am a bad woman. 🙂

  26. The remarkable part about the “You can’t say anything offensive/hurtful” movement is that “offensive/hurtful” is so often defined as being anything the left doesn’t like. I agree with someone upthread (too lazy to go look) that this is damaging the right to free speech but I think it goes further than that, because to me it looks deliberate.

    For the leftist political leadership and their media lackeys to tell us that we can’t say anything “offensive” smacks of thought control. What they’re attempting to do is force us to only speak opinions that they agree with. If we only speak words that they agree with (the thinking goes) we’ll eventually agree with everything they think. Granted, this hasn’t worked for any totalitarian government in history but they all had to figure that out for themselves.

    This is something that we have to fight, as Sarah has so ably done here. We need to force them to shove their PC BS right up their asses. It is literally the first battle we have to fight if we’re going to preserve the republic, because without protecting our right of expression all else is lost.

  27. I haven’t read all the comments, as of yet (I’m a terrible person, please beat me), so do please forgive if I’m recapping somebody’s recap.

    Any of the people I know who are anywhere near a PTSD* condition are likely to get pissed if you tiptoe around them, or treat them ‘gently,’ or say anything about triggers that doesn’t include “wanna get some trigger-time?” Mostly because they don’t feel like delicate little pieces of broken pottery in need of safe handling. They feel like people who’ve been in the sh*t and back out the other side. With the scars to prove it. And, yeah, there’s those moments, and steps must be taken, but we all reached our age of majority some time back and it’ll get handled without the world at large getting fluffy. In fact, most of ’em have no interest in discussing it because the civs don’t get it. Can’t get it. Not being rude, or doing that “it’s a purple thing, you wouldn’t understand” crap (I hate that) because that requires putting it out there and then dismissing people’s empathy. Just not discussing it because there’s a necessary context most people (happily, thankfully, wonderfully) lack. Makes all the oversharing highly suspicious, it does.

    So here’s my trigger: superfluous trigger warnings are likely to trigger extreme sarcasm and a knee-jerk dismissal of your special feelings. I’m likely to discount your ‘victimhood’ as an attempt to lay your hands on a ‘societal badge’ and dismiss what you say. It is entirely possible (highly likely, really) that I’ll snort and walk away. Hope that’s not a trigger. :-I

    PTSD: the important part of this for the purposes of this discussion is the last part, the D. D is Disorder. In the mental fields disorder has a specific meaning, having to do with the ability to handle day to day tasks. So many of these special children grabbing on to a special title so they can be special, too — they don’t realize they’re laying claim to the inability to function in the real world. Those folks I know who have a legitimate claim to what we’re calling post traumatic stress these days vehemently eschew the disorder part. Because they don’t need a badge, they just want to get on with the living. But what do they know, the spec-flakes had an uncomfortable moment once.

    • Exactly– we all have scars after living for a certain amount of years. and purple– I have been around several Vietnam War vets and I do not understand emotionally what they went through– but I felt more at home with that bunch of gruff guys ( and some women –nurses you know) than I have with the civilian population… oh yea, and Navy– military– here.

  28. sabrinachase

    You can’t blame the little darlings for lacking crucial life skills like withstanding arguments if they have been so sheltered their bones never developed properly. It reminds me of Colin in The Secret Garden, who was so sheltered and cosseted he thought he was unable to walk (until someone pissed him off enough, heh heh). So they need exposure therapy. No, not having Gunny Ermy yell at them, as funny as that would be. They need to see people having an enthusiastic “discussion” that does not end in blows or hurt feelings. Their mental maps will get expanded. Maybe then they can try the “guided arguments” sessions where, with proper safety equipment, they can learn how to politely disagree and to criticize statements/logic vs. the person making the statements. Advanced students will earn a badge indicating a Recovering Rational Adult.

    Me, I grew up in an extended family that thought after-dinner arguments aided digestion, and were educational, fun, and better than TV. I’ll argue about *anything* quite cheerfully.

    • Spot on, and the ironic thing is that all their complaints and whining really only work on nice people with good intensions. Eventually they will run into someone who doesn’t give a flying flip about their precious feelings, or even the true bully who sees their complaints as a red flag to double down on the abuse as they’ve found a total victim.

  29. Sometimes, you know, the stupid is so strong that one despairs of the human race.

  30. On a lighter note, Sarah sweetie I’ve seen you in person and as a TV comic is wont to say, “youse not fat, youse fluffy!” And on you it looks good.

    And as to the female TP obsession that’s part and parcel to the seat up seat down thing, most young men not totally clueless either learn those rules while at home or certainly early during their first cohabitation experience as an adult. You learn that those are woman things you don’t have to understand, you just have to respect or endure the consequences. Have to admit it was only a couple of years ago that I had one of those mental epiphanies that you get when coming out of deep sleep or in the shower with water beating down on your head, “It’s the plumbing stupid!” Guys need a few squares of paper every few days while the girls need a handful each and every visit. And of course also that in a pinch a guy can resort to a handful of leaves, a shelled corn cob, or a page from the Sears catalog. The ladies not so much.
    Am waiting for the right time to impart this knowledge to my grandson. He’s only 11 so I might wait a bit on that.

    • Guys need a few squares of paper every few days while the girls need a handful each and every visit.

      I remember discovering this. I was in college and a female friend commented that she was going to urinate and needed to get some toilet paper. I asked another female friend what the connection was between the two statements. After she stopped laughing she confirmed my guess:-P.

  31. Patrick Chester

    So… I can’t claim PTSD from my help desk job?

    Drat. 😉

    (Maybe I can claim masochism since I keep working help desk jobs.)

    • Heavens, yes you can. My friend worked help desk. TRUST me. It might not be prisoner of war conditions, but….

      • Patrick Chester

        …one can only take so much concentrated stupid? 😮

        Though on a more positive note, I do find reading in between calls (I work nights so there are definite pauses between them) is helpful with dealing with the stress. I recently completed reading your first two Darkship novels and am reading A Few Good Men via Baen’s ebook site. I’m enjoying the series.

      • Here’s the scary part. I actually liked my tech support job. It was dealing with HR and that fractured confusion that was management that inflicted psychological harm. What can I say? They asked me to do a job. A job I did very well. Except that’s not what they REALLY wanted me to do… so they fired me for doing what they asked me to do. Though I admit, it only pisses me off– but my reaction is probably unreasonably exaggerated.

        I was also in a decompression phase, getting off the meds I’d been on, so living through all the unpleasantness that the drugs kept me from experiencing. Fortunately, I had/have man who wanted to marry me for no apparent reason. He held me every time I needed a good cry. This I did in the privacy of my own apartment. It is NOT something I was willing to share with people whom it did not affect. It can make a good story, a teaching story, sometimes, but not… a precious ritual. *shudder*

        Yes, I have been in those special victim groups. Did not want to be there. I could not understand, even in my most damaged state, why these people seemed to feel so… HAPPY to be a part of the victim sisterhood. I wanted to run away from their smothering saccharin sanctity. Purple is the ONLY prose appropriate for that stripe of nausea. When in a damaged state I want to salt and torch a 10 foot circle around me and only allow in the choice few with diplomatic immunity. I’m told that this is unhealthy. That it’s too male. Yet it is the reaction of every person I’ve known who has gone through something similar.

        The dangerous sort of therapy is the kind that believes that mankind is pathological, and only the good doctor can fix all of us. That’s playing God. Whether you believe in Him or no, it must be acknowledged that this is a bad thing.

        • Going off the meds for depression appears to be worse than the depression itself. My wife went through that when we weren’t able to pay for them at one point. It was painful just seeing it, so I feel for you, and am glad it’s in the past now.

  32. mikeweatherford

    I’m a Vietnam vet, and I have PTSD. It’s not from the ONE time I was in a combat situation, but from all the other 300-odd days where we were all on heightened alert for whatever might happen. Part of THAT was because we were told, flat-out, that the moment we stepped foot on Vietnamese soil, we had a $25,000 bounty on our heads (all intelligence people, pilots, and weapons people, about a third of the Army. I never heard of anyone collecting that bounty, but it was real.). Several friends of mine were caught in the periphery of bombings, rocket attacks, and perimeter attacks. The closest I personally came to being injured was the day I was on burn detail (burning classified waste), and someone shot at our panel truck. It was parked at the burn facility, and whoever attacked it fired about 30 rounds, ALL OF WHICH MISSED. A little nerve-wracking, but nothing serious.

    Some of these “precious snowflakes” need to spend about six weeks volunteering in a trauma center. They’d either grow up, or they’d have something legitimate to complain about.

    I have nothing but sympathy for all the vets who spent one or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those assignments are even worse than what most Vietnam vets experienced.

  33. Pingback: Cracker Jack | Cyn Bagley - Poet and Writer

  34. Damn. That right there speaks in a large part to the feminist movement these days. Actually, as I think about it, it speaks to a lot of movements that aren’t *really* about equality, but more about various classes of “victim-hood”. And here I think is another word the left has taken and changed its meaning.

    I think of a victim as someone who has had serious harm come to them. Many times victims are very strong people (my husband works with vets who’ve lost limbs) who might be “victims” of an assault or war- but they are still strong people who pick themselves up and continue living- even fighting.

    The left thinks of victims as people whose injuries can range from someone who’s experienced mild discomfort to dead-and-gone. And there’s the rub. If I’m a victim because when I was in the 5th grade, I was told by a group of girls I couldn’t play with them because “you know what color you are”- then what? The left’s solution is to say that my victimhood means I’ve somehow earned compensation of some kind. When, really, I haven’t earned anything. Someone said something unkind and I was excluded from friendships because my skin wasn’t the shade the other girls preferred, but I had done nothing to earn any sort of “reward.” Even if that reward were a pat on the back and verbal “there-there.”

    But I can see how this victimhood mentality has grown in the left. It’s Pavlovian. A dog hears a bell and it drools, because the bell means it’s about to be rewarded with food. In clicker training, when a dog has responded correctly to a command, the owner clicks and then gives a treat.

    For leftist-victims, when they are “injured” they’ve mentally heard that “click.” They start to salivate because it means they’re about to be rewarded. Perhaps it’s something small: *pat*pat*- “there, there.” Or maybe it’s something big: You’ve just won a settlement for $3 mil after your boss made a comment about how nice you look today!

    Perhaps the difference between ourselves is as simple as how we were nurtured as children. Were we coddled and rewarded for being “victims”, we might have decided as we got older that that was how “justice” worked. But I suspect that for the majority of the commenters here, our rewards came after earning them legitimately. Rewards for good grades, for being the best in a soccer match (and not simply a trophy just for playing), rewards for standing up against a skeez on a bus. (Love the hat-pin trick 😉 )

  35. I wanted to contribute some positive information to the blog. These are not advertisements to buy anything, but articles about a technique that can help. I have used them myself, and for my children when we were in situations that caused PTSD, so that it is now minimized for all of us. (Things such as the entire family nearly drowning, and a child nearly dying of Crohn’s, their father nearly dying of ulcers, so no rape or gunfire). Much of the info to use it can be found for free, but in severe cases, seeking out a certified practitioner is better.

    Here you go:

    The more we learn about the way the brain functions, but more we can help ourselves and get away from just drugging everyone into zombies.

  36. I had a bad incident occur when I was about twenty. It was troubling enough that I don’t want to go into the details, but it happened. And I told only the barest minimum of people about it, in part because I did *not* want everyone coming up to me and offering their sympathy. And I had nightmares about it (oddly enough, they started about two weeks after the incident, and not immediately). Fortunately, the emotional reaction is now well and gone. Mostly. It still pops up on very rare occasions when some odd thing triggers the wrong part of my brain. And I don’t like to talk about it. Ever.



    And I find it insulting that anyone getting a fainting vapors fit over what someone said would think that they were all that badly off.

    There are real evils still in the world. Racism. Communism (and it’s close cousin Fascism). Legitimate mistreatment of women (particularly sex slavery). These things all exist. And reading about them can drive me into a white hot fury (seriously; I have to make a mental effort to tamp it down). And one of the results of that for me, personally, is that little special snowflakes who throw a snit when someone says that mildly upsets their worldview draw my ire.

    And on another note, Sarah’s comment about toilet paper shortages reminded me of what someone told me when I was 20. The woman I was talking to had been living in southern Washington when Mt. St. Helens blew up in the ’80s. The cloud of ash in the sky was dense enough – even at the southern end of the state – to keep goods from being shipped in and out of the area she lived in (the Tri-Cities, for those familiar with that area). She said that the first two things that disappeared off of store shelves were beer and potato chips.

    I’ve always found that mildly amusing, for some reason.

    • Beer and potato chips? I wonder if they were planning to watch eruption round two on the TV. (I lived in the Midwest and all we got were fancy sunsets.)

      • I was about a year old and being babysat by my grandparents, while my parents were ON the lower slopes of St. Helens when it erupted.

        • ….did they make it?

          • They were up the Green River, the mountain blew out the other side. Wasn’t that big a deal. My dad did know a guy who was on the wrong side when it blew though. He claimed he had to get down in the floorboards of his truck to breathe, and he had a hound that was in the back of the truck and survived. It’s ears were crisped and looked crinkly like potato chips the rest of its life.

      • I got a bit of dusting of ash on my car.

        In Northern New Mexico.

        I live on the flank of a supervolcano. Hasn’t done anything in, oh, 50,000 years or so, but it’s fun to hike. The greater threat is wildfire. A picture from about three years ago: http://kgbudge.com/essays/wildfire.jpg

        That’s looking directly west from my house.

        • Do pardon, sir, but I followed your link to your site and you (via your site) told me I couldn’t see it because “Hotlink Protection is Active.”

          You meanie.


          • I got the same. He should have a hotlink protection trigger warning!
            Now I’m traumatized forever, having flash backs to broken links on instapundit. The HORROR.

            • Do you mean that the picture won’t display?

              Hmm. Displays for me. I must be special.

              Or, more likely, when I tweaked my hotlink list to permit accordingtohoyt.com to hotlink my pictures, I spelt it wrong or something. Bah.

                • I can hear you now.

                  Yeah, I’m sort of dreading summer around here. The last three have been bad.

                • Signal clear, no breaks.

                  I am hoping (with no foundation) that this summer will not reprise the heavy wildfire seasons Texas has been seeing. On top of all the obvious problems, it disrupts the economy.

                  And Colorado… no more “the Front Range is burning!” stuff please. I’ve got too many friends and family scattered about around there.

              • You are special, sir. Very, very special.

                *huge, chummy grin*

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  He’s got it fixed now but on the other hand, I get these post via email so I doubt that his fix would help me if I clicked on the link in the email. [Smile]

            • There, there. No need to fret. Now you can add this to you list of special circumstances of victimhood. Celebrate!

          • The fire is to hot to link to?

  37. Mrs. Sarah, I know normally lurk on here but I wanted to tell you thank you for this article today.

    It gets tiresome, incredibly when others tell you how you be responding to what happened to you. Only God(s) know how many of the people I used to call friend, I had to push away after my incidents because how they were treating me.

    I found always odd, that the crueler people were the females. The more sympathetic and actually wanting to help me learn coping mechanisms for my PTSD were my guy friends. Three years of amazing males friends, whom I call brother these days, and I still have a life (albeit it does have its days nothing were I can get nothing done because of triggers, but they are becoming fewer and farther between), I have a wonderful fiance.

    Because snowflakes forget, staying a victim is a choice.

    Again, Thank You!

    • Yes. THIS. I tended to keep (mostly) male friends around because I could never understand or trust the women. Save the few who were military brats, or had such serious trauma at home that they KNEW how important it was to maintain a good friendship. Why is backstabbing such a delightful hobby? I don’t get it. Welcome!

      • For much the same reason, most of my friends are male. I have a few female friends, but the ones I’ve kept for time in years are the ones online.

        Thus the raised eyebrow I give whenever I hear about ‘feminine sisterhood.’ I never experienced that and I have yet to see it.

        • LOL. Yeah. Seemed more like another game of peer pressure bingo. I just couldn’t stand it. It was my policy to be friends to individuals always, and never just a part of a clique. If I have to fit in… forget it. There is one group that I’m a part of to this day, and it is so large and varied that it hardly qualifies.

          • Peer pressure bingo. Good term. Makes me remember high school. It describes it perfectly.

            I remember an encounter with a female teacher who took it upon herself to try get me to ‘get along’ with the third year students when I was in 2nd year high school, and her students ran the risk of being injured in Acts of Self Defense because their verbal haranguing didn’t bother me, and they felt it necessary to escalate to physical acts of harassment. One of my ‘problems’ was that I didn’t grow up in the Philippines, and thus did not recognize or found contemptible a lot of passive-aggressive signals and body language. Her lecture involved her telling me that I wasn’t ‘Filipina’ enough in behavior, and I said I was Filipina by birth and citizenship, and I was routinely in fights in Germany and France because of my Filipina-ness, and her precious snowflakes and herself had no right to tell me I wasn’t ‘enough’ of something people tried to kill me for. I told her outright that from my observations, the students who kept running the risk of being punched in the face by me were not people I would WANT to be friends with anyway.

            Since she made the mistake of confronting me in the hallway, she was quite embarrassed by my replies, and snapped that I ‘observe too much’ and stormed away. A while later one of her students met with an Act of Self Defense from me that was severe enough that my attacker was suspended from school. It got easier in college, though dear Gods, there were some girls who were really trying to recreate high school hell by being the gossipy, clique-y hens, but since I had other priorities I didn’t notice until someone else pointed it out. (And nothing is more deflating, it seems, than not caring about someone’s attempts to socially ostracize you on top of it failing.)

            Lately? I’ve been talking to a couple of high school students who have been frustrated and upset because they’re being bullied and cannot defend themselves from their attackers because they’ll be in trouble for fighting back. The verbal crap is bad enough, but the physical bullying is particularly bad. Both are martial artists (and one a black belt in Karate) but they’ve had it drummed into them that they would be in Deep Shit for fighting in self defense. One was ready to stop going to school with only two weeks left in the year because the teachers were also in on social pressuring her, instead of stepping in.

            As someone who’s survived bullying, nothing enrages me more than hearing that someone acting in self defense would be in worse trouble for defending themselves than the bully who started it all.

            And nothing is more annoying than having the realization that it seems like social life never grows up beyond high school stupidity.

            • I totally agree. This is why I turned down the Tate museum job in England. I can’t live in a place where you can’t fight back. Because some day you will need to, and you’d better have it.

              My revelation was when my father taught me to box. Though I admit, I did not have the build for it then, I did use other ways to get my own back.

              Once I challenged a girl who escalated to physical blows (she was a tall girl. Everyone called her sweet, but she was quiet and mean and pretty in my estimation) I told her that if she had a problem with me, we should solve it for once and for all and in front of everyone. I challenged her to an arm wrestling match. For a wonder she agreed. After all, her arms were longer.

              What she did not know is that I practiced piano 3 hours PER DAY. I also played soccer and both practiced and rode bikes daily. I was scrawny looking back then, and short, but…

              So, when it came down to the wire, I squeezed her nuckles together very very tight. Once she loosened her grip out of pain and surprise, and slammed her fist down on the table, victorious. It was mean and cheaty, but so was she. After that she started going after my friends, who tended not to be as strong as me.

              • Hah, good getting her off your back. The coward going after your friends isn’t a surprise.

                My Dad’s lesson to me was if someone either was about to attack me and mine, or tried, I had carte blanche to take that person apart, maim or kill if necessary, to end the threat to me, or me and mine.

                Nobody has the right to hurt me, he said.

                • *nods* My father was a bit more nuanced, but… same basic deal. He said I had the right to defend myself regardless what that meant. I tended to over think, so…

                  And then there was mom, who was of the sort who thought that self defense should be punished. I did eventually figure out that she was… not right. Took a lot longer than it should have.

            • “As someone who’s survived bullying, nothing enrages me more than hearing that someone acting in self defense would be in worse trouble for defending themselves than the bully who started it all.”

              What people making these policies never seem to realize is that when the bullying gets bad enough to merit a reaction anyways, there is very little reason to moderate that reaction. In fact the bullied person has a fairly reasonable reason to defend themselves as aggressively and violently as possible. If they are going to get in as much or more trouble than the bully anyways, the only way to discourage the bully is to hurt them badly enough that they NEVER want to risk confronting you again.

  38. Hmmmm. Still working through the responses, so I don’t know how much of my first reaction has already been addressed BUT I want to get as much of the fire-hose as possible via e-mail (thus a placeholder and teaser-bit for what I wanna expand upon later):

    Psychological trauma exists as certainly as physical trauma, and can be just as debilitating over time. Perhaps even MORE debilitating.

    That said, Our Hostess still raises a good point, which I attempt to restate for sake of inclusiveness — there is always a matter of _degree_ involved. There is a serious difference between swatting an infant on the seat of the diaper and shaking the as-yet non-rational babe until they die from the brain injuries inflicted. There is a difference between self-deprecating humor about one’s own size and spouting a torrent of filth / hate at someone just because their body and image are different from your own.

    It’s a difficult line to tread, certainly, finding a balance between our attitudes and what we want those around us to see of the inner self. But we are human, and learning how to do that is part and parcel of growing into our personal “skin”.

    P.S. *love* the hatpin anecdote, and intend to share it early and often! (Have been told more than once about the effective deployment of spike heels to similar effect/purpose — as one raised to wear cowboy boots as regular footwear, there ARE equivalents available to men…)

  39. I’m going to tell a joke that the handicapped/disabled love (mostly).
    A Baptist (or fundamentalist of your choice) Minister checks into a cheap hotel, with cable. He sees the “Cable here sign, ad asks the desk clerk. “Is the porn channel disabled?”
    Those of us who are “Handicapped/disabled” have struggles that most people never even want to see. Simple things are difficult to impossible, for us. I have a “rant” on that subject, awaiting editing, for sale later in the year. Basically, we suffer PTSD situations every day, for many of us. Every day, we deal with people who want to strip us of most/all of our rights. In the name of “helping us.” Which is why I have so little patience with those who want “special treatment.”

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  41. I’m trying to remember the name of the horror writer — she once got kicked out of the cemetery in Providence for having the temerity to photograph H. P. Lovecraft’s gravestone — who, when asked to be more specific about her genre, said, “I write trigger fiction.” …And there’s the flipside.

  42. I made a joke about calling a WAAAAAAHbulance. Someone asked how I felt while waiting for the EMTs, my response was I don’t know, I’m usually too busy trying to keep someone from bleeding out before the EMTs show up to notice my ‘feelings.’ (Afterwards I’m too busy washing off). This commentary will make more sense after you read this

    That’s what I wrote before I posted your blog. Thank you for saying this. I can’t,* but it needs to be said — especially by women to women.

    *By the simple fact that I have a penis I am not qualified to speak about women’s issues (it’s all that white male privilege you know)

    • Gah… it’s more of the same. Are you human? I am, too. The amount of difference (call it a “difference ratio”) in what I have in common with you vs. what I have in common with Sarah on account of vaginas is next to naught. Neither of you are me. I am not you. Sarah’s life is not mine. Wombs are only one point of similarity and all told a minor one. I have more in common with a man who is a father than with a woman who is not a mother, or… well, lots and lots of other things. And it still infuriates me (to the extent that I admit to getting emotional) when someone tries to co-opt my motherhood with some “Mom’s against… my favorite hobby…” group.

      We do a lot of this co-opting and disqualifying in our society and it’s a crock, one end to the other. It’s all about stealing power, either to add to whatever… or to weaken opposition to whatever.

      Humans have few points of contact with each other, often in very odd places and about very odd things… for the rest of it we use our imaginations and pretend those around us are just as real as we are.

      Can I write a male character? Heck no. I probably couldn’t even write a female character. I can only write a person.

      How much, very real, damage is done to the world by this insane notion that “this person” simply can’t imagine what it’s like to be “that person” because his parts are different or her color is different or her parents were married or he grew up poor, or rich, or foreign, or under a rock…

      Again, Gah!

      • My field is strongly based on human behavior. A big part of that is how fundamental drives manifest in different ways. What I find fascinating is the influence of identity politics, ideology and … dare I say it…religion* on people’s understanding of these drives. It strongly influences what they will or will not accept about the subject. This especially when it comes to behavior they’ve not only deemed unacceptable, but lay all the woes of their identity group at the doorstep.

        The general attitude is it is wrong when it is done to us, but it’s okay when we do it others. Except in these days of ‘you can’t say that’ they have to go through complex mental gymnastics to justify to oneself that you aren’t doing exactly the same behavior that you claim to despise.


        *In the West, we tend to have the mistaken belief that a religion must have at its core, a supreme being. No, Furthermore, there’s a whole lot more psychology, doctrine/beliefs and behaviors involved in religion (go ask a cultural anthropologist about what makes a religion). I get a lot of weird looks and argument when I say many people have turned secular causes into their religions.

        • Not here you won’t get weird looks.

        • I don’t think anybody around here is going to give you a weird look for noting that people adopt secular causes as religion. Too much experience with the phenomenon.

          • Find your comfort zone and take it two steps past that. I recently tripped something about the orthodoxy of a secular cause that send me scrambling to double check the methodology, frantically muttering “Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m missing something.”

            Not something you want to figure out about a cornerstone of US culture for the last 60 years unless you like mobs with pitchforks, torches and ropes on your front lawn.

        • Are you kidding? I went to school with those people. Law school. At a place that was known for environmental and animal law. Some greenies totally qualify as zealots, and there’s no supreme being in the middle of that.

          Or, you know, the progs who worship change for its own sake.

  43. Hrm. Maybe I need to write about the aliens, and forget about those annoyingly difficult human people. 😉

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  47. Kent Schmidt

    I, too, am mostly a lurker here. I have a friend who, during an SCA event, reacted violently to being outside when a thunderstorm was approaching. I learned that night that she had lived through a mortar attack in Israel. The flashing and booming instantly triggered a “duck and cover” response. She spent about 20 minutes curled into a ball under a table, shivering. I approached her and attempted to comfort her until she “woke up” and began functioning again (the storm moved off during that time.) I talked to her about it the next day when she felt she could come out of her self imposed “hide and cry.” THAT is a PTSD trigger, not hearing a word spoken or reading it in print…
    I cannot abide people who “borrow” a trauma and try to use it to gain “victim” status. If you lived through something that affects you that much, you deserve a little reaction and recovery, but if a printed word is gonna send you into that sort of reaction, best you never read again!

  48. Yes, people can be triggered by what they read. That is why, on websites that are support group forums for rape survivors, we put a trigger warning in the subject of our post if we are going to be write a graphic description of rape. So that our fellow survivors can skip reading that if they don’t want to read content that most websites not specifically set up for survivors would ban. That is where trigger warnings originated and what they are for. It’s not about being a special snowflake. It’s about having the decency to not surprise one’s fellow rape survivors with a graphic description of the crime one survived without warning them what is in the post.

    • Wait, what?
      They’re in rape survivors’ website, and they are going to be surprised by descriptions of rape?
      Yes, I’m often shocked by shoes in a shoe store.

    • I’m not going to debate whether or not “trigger” warnings should be needed in a support group. Frankly, the discussion header should be enough to warn someone that they might not want to read the thread. Heck, it’s what most of us do with our emails and discussion groups we are part of.

      My issue comes with the current trend of demanding trigger warnings be put on everything. You log into Facebook and see trigger warnings for posts that are nothing more than political commentaries. You see trigger warnings for articles about guns or violence or sex or parenting or education. Have we become so emotionally fragile as a society that we can’t write or say something without having to warn everyone else that they might be offended or upset by it?

      • I am tempted to write “Yes” in answer to your concluding question. But in truth, no. Its all political power games to delegitimize disfavored people and undermine freedom of speech by pretending to prevent faux harm.

        • So in a spirit of counterdelegitimization, can I get an explicit trigger warning for Socialist Rhetoric for any and all programming on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, etc.?


          Hmph. And here I thought fairness was what counted above all else.

      • It’s like: Warning: Contains Peanuts, on a jar of Peanut Butter…

    • My husband used to teach self defense* to Rape and DV Survivors. They always had a counselor on hand for when someone did encounter a trigger. Almost all of them were able to learn to deal with their trauma in a positive manner.

      A couple were even able to deal with another attacker and defend themselves, and two were able to defend themselves from their abusers. A great step for them! (And kept them safe and alive).

      * he taught, self-defense (with role-play in some instances, so that it COULD trigger), not Martial Arts, different animal.

      • We need more folks like him.
        He rocks.

        • Thanks! that’s definitely true. He was a lawyer for Victims, DV/SA/CA/Stalking. He ending up almost dying of bleeding from secondary trauma and the stress of having to know that you’re sending a child or woman back into the same mess, and sometimes they die, when the court fails.

  49. I know, I’m committing the crime of commenting on an old thread. But this article on the Washington Post site reminded me of your post, Sarah: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/03/20/uc-santa-barbara-professor-steals-young-anti-abortion-protesters-sign-apparently-assaults-protesters-says-she-set-a-good-example-for-her-students/

    (Setting aside the reason for the protest for the purpose of this discussion) This professor is justifying her assault and theft by using the “Trigger” defense. In other words- the signs upset her, so her actions were not only excusable, but “justified.” She even goes so far as to claim she was being a good role model for her students by assaulting another student.

    Strange, I had never heard this excuse before I read this post of yours. Now I’m seeing it everywhere.

    • Amusingly, I have a half dozen new comments on an older topic this morning!

    • Hm. They really don’t want to set ‘triggers’ up as a justification and defense for violent action. Really.

    • No surprise really, that ‘their right to be comfortable’ trumps freedom of speech every time. That’s why the First Amendment is one of the things they constantly say is out of date and no longer necessary nor valid.

      I quietly wish that the pro-life group would sue her for trying to stifle their freedom of speech, but I doubt they will. Losing ground because of being too ‘nice.’

      Then again, I’m very cynical that the pro-life group would win in court, even though they bloody well should.

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