Pulled The Trigger

Before we begin, I just want to let people know in advance I am not promising this new wave of material means a long-awaited permanent return of Old Man Wolfe. A promise made is a promise that can be broken, until I am mentally, socially and financially stable, my creativity levels are prone to sudden rises and falls more often a Dragon Ball Z character. That said, here is something so without further ado, let’s dig in.

An observant reader might notice a missing Trigger Warning section at the beginning of blog posts. Granted, you might think a rambling discussion of why Jeremy Corbyn is not the Anti-Christ didn’t merit one but you might also wonder does this mean I’ve stopped bothering? I’ve previously defended them, I see no harm in pre-warning readers that the content they are agreeing to read might unnerve, upset or disturb and that a little heads up before things get heavy is fair, rather than an apology at the end. However, there’s a point between being cautious and playing Nanny to my readers that I want to work on and I’ll open the issue to debate and discussion, provided that said discussion is constructive and not just “Don’t bother with those prissy SJWs” or “Refusing to put them is evil, you cishet bigot!”

Trigger Warnings, for those somehow unaware of them despite their appearance across Tumblr and this very blog, are basically disclaimers saying that the content ahead contains something disturbing, be it related to some form of abuse, originally surfacing as a way of warning rape survivors that the article of a blog was related to an experience to one they survived. Makes sense, female bloggers tended to start the trend, warning their own that this was about something graphic, something they might relate to and not in a way they’d like to. As such, an easy little warning like that stops the emotionally vulnerable wandering into a darker corner of the internet and giving themselves a vivid flashback. Noble intention but when anything catches on, there’s a chance it can be warped. Trigger Warnings exist for many kinds of content – be it sexual (abuse or just the discussion of sex), racism, body-image, self-harm, suicide, death, vomit/bodily fluids etc. – basically anything anyone could reasonably have an issue with, and some things you might think there’s no way people could be upset by. Has the idea of a pre-warning now expanded into less a hand on the shoulder and more a bouncer at the door?

Truth is, if TWs came about to help those with PTSD, we have to remember that PTSD is incredibly complex as a condition, the triggers for such vary from person to person. One person might remember an incident by reading about something similar, one might remember by location or smell or seeing someone who resembles a figure of the past, some even just the wrong phrase in the wrong place. With such a complex array of triggers, it is impossible to put up a barrier on a blog that accounts for every single of them. Obviously, measures can be put in place to deal with the more common triggers and I will do so, that’s only fair and I can’t guarantee all my readers are of sound judgment without a warning. However, I must address a downside to the trigger warnings now and their relation to reality.

I want this blog to be a pleasant read most of the time but more than that, I want my readers to think and feel. I use humour to break the ice but the core messages of my articles are important to me and should be acknowledged, not just for my sake but because those messages need to be heard. I have discussed slut-shaming, I have discussed racism, class-war, politics both in the UK and the US and I’ve even addressed matters relating to crises across the world. Such matters are ugly, they are dark and unforgiving and they come without warning. Nobody warned the Syrian public a civil war was coming, nobody told a girl what she was in for that day and where to avoid, nobody foretold the deaths related to benefit cuts and even if they did, nobody knew the exact figures or which individuals would die in poverty for being ‘lazy’. Life fucks you over without a warning and trigger warnings for every little thing offer us the ability to look past that and for my readers to look past content they don’t want to admit is important. I am here to make you laugh but sometimes I have to be serious, I have to take you to the edge of the cliff and show you that there is a fucking huge drop and people keep falling off it, walking away from me doesn’t mean those that fall grow wings. Our world is not just, life doesn’t have a plan for everyone and things don’t always work out, sometimes we have to see that things are wrong and ugly and awful and it has to be us that says no more. You have the right to walk away, of course, but I cannot shut down discussions for fear I might cause ripples in the water, there have to be some or these things can never proceed.

I will continue to put warnings on my articles, albeit it will read more simply that the following article may contain content that could quite possibly disturb certain readers. I will not, at least for now, highlight every sort of person that could be upset by my article because there is a chance I could miss one particular group and cause panic. I am trusting you, my readers, to know what you can and cannot face up to and I hope you will trust me in that when I open the door to reveal something hideous, you will know that I am doing so for our own good, to highlight an issue we as a people must overcome, a demon we must band together and vanquish. If you are uncertain of what is going to upset you, the topic of most of my articles is revealed one or two paragraphs in, you can read that far and decide whether or not to read on but if you read, you are agreeing you can face it, you cannot then blame me if I upset you. I will upset you reader, I will make you uncomfortable at least once in your lifetime, the world is a cruel place and I have to expose that so that you feel that anger too and do what you can in your life to fix the issue as I will try to in mine.

Reader, I will be your tour guide through Hell, I will point out the stops but I will not hug you and protect you from all the beasts that dwell here, I know that if you can sign up for this, you can fight those beasts yourself. I don’t want you thinking this means all doom and gloom, I want to put some fun articles up here too, nonsense about video games and movies and personal experiences you might think sorta goofy but I’m not going to back away from the big issues when they get me as riled up as they do so I can’t promise big safe cuddles any more, just a sign at the door saying “Enter If You Dare”.

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