Voices from Russia

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Hand-Holding 101: Universities Warn Theology Students About Crucifixion, Other Triggers



In their efforts to ensure students feel safe while learning, some universities in the USA and UK risk becoming helicopter-parent caricatures… warning archaeology students that old bones might upset them; warning theology students that crucifixion can be gory; warning veterinary students that, indeed, they will be working with dead animals. In other words… d’oh!

 The Telegraph reports that Glasgow University took it upon itself to warn theology students that in studying the Bible, they’d see material that “contains graphic scenes of the crucifixion”. Mind you, these are adults or near adults who chose to study the Bible. This isn’t, presumably, because they don’t know how the story ends. The university also warned veterinary students that they’d encounter and work with dead animals and that those studying “contemporary society” would discuss illness and violence. One wonders how either of those announcements could come as a surprise, unless the university launched a campaign to focus on attracting all those prospective students who were left behind because they live under rocks. Glasgow University defended itself through a spokesman, who said:

We have an absolute duty of care to all of our students and where it’s felt course material may cause potential upset or concern warnings may be given.

Glasgow University isn’t the only educational institution taking precautions, on the off chance their students simply picked a major out of a hat, without knowing anything about the subject. the Daily Mail and others reported that Those who choose to study forensic science at Strathclyde University, also in Glasgow, are warned in person “at the beginning of some lectures where sensitive images, involving blood patterns, crime scenes and bodies… are in the presentation”. Surely, students studying forensic science would revolt if they weren’t shown gory crime scenes?

However, there’s more. At Stirling University, archaeology students are warned that they may find old preserved bodies in their archaeological context “a bit gruesome”. In the gender studies department, they’ve simply thrown up their hands. The university explained to the Daily Mail:

We can’t anticipate or exclude the possibility that you may encounter material which is triggering and we urge that you take all necessary precautions to look after yourself in and around the programme.

Last year, the Independent reported on law students at Oxford University being warned ahead of potentially “distressing” lectures. Law lecturer Laura Hoyano criticised the practice, telling the Mail Online:

[Lawyers] have to deal with things that are difficult. We can’t remove sexual offences from the criminal law syllabus… obviously.

The trigger warning debate remains heated across the pond in the USA. In 2015, a group of students at Columbia University wrote an op-ed calling for a trigger warning for Greek mythology, for example. Four students, members of Columbia’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board, wrote for the school newspaper:

Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a fixture of [literature humanities], but like so many texts in the Western canon, it contains triggering and offensive material that marginalises student identities in the classroom. These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of colour, or a student from a low-income background.

The University of Chicago pushed back last year, in its letter to the incoming freshmen class of fall 2016. Dean of Students John Ellison wrote:

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we don’t support so-called trigger warnings; we don’t cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we don’t condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

The note was polarising, with many applauding the university’s commitment to intellectual freedom whilst others said he’d misunderstood humane efforts to minimise trauma. Feminist writer and lecturer Naomi Wolf thought that concern can go too far. She told the Sunday Times:

Trauma from sexual or other assault and abuse is very real, and “triggers” are real for victims of abuse, but the place to process or deal with survivor triggers is with a trained therapist in a counsellor’s office, and not in a classroom or university context.

8 January 2017

Sputnik International



Friday, 26 August 2016

26 August 2016. A Breath of Fresh Air on “Academic Freedom”

01 lets talk


Here’s a good link to the University of Chicago story… with a link to the original letter. Here’s an excellent response:

Those lists of “safe space” are incredible. As a minority, foreigner, female, or any other disadvantaged (such as severe myopia? Short?), I prefer people to speak their mind to me to my face and not behind closed doors at their dinner table. People shouldn’t edit their thoughts and words for being concerned with being “politically correct”, “up-to-date”, or “open-minded”. When there’s disagreement, that’s when we need meaningful discussion or debate. To those demanding “safe space”, if you truly believe your ideology is right (and that “others” may do great damage), then, it’s almost your responsibility to start or join the discussion isn’t it? Why hide?

Runfang Zhang

I hate speech suppression, but I hate ignorant bloviating just as much. Do speak… if you have the creds. For instance, I don’t have the medical or scientific creds to comment on the Jenner affair… so, I don’t. Do note that most of those commenting on it also lack such creds (what does that tell you about Dreher, Trenham, Reardon, Whiteford, et al?). Therefore, what weight should you give such vacuous commentary? I’d say that such talk is mere hot air; no decent person should attend to it, nor should you give attention to the asshats spouting it. That’s not suppression of speech… that’s called discernment… there’s a difference. To forbid Josiah Trenham to speak (so long as he has his bishop’s specific OK on a particular instance) is beyond the pale. To demand his creds to speak on this or that is kosher (indeed, one should always demand such). Have a care… there be phonies out there; many are “respectable” or clergy. Bite the coin… there be vile counterfeits in circulation.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

1 November 2015. EAT YOUR BACON! It’s a Blow Against the Beast!

00 eat your bacon! 311015


I saw this on FB:

Post this ribbon to support Fearmongering Awareness. Then, eat your damn bacon. It’s not going to kill you faster than anything else does.

A friend and I had a FB colloquy (WARNING: It’s in Australian English, which includes words not kosher in the USA):

Follow it with a pivo (or two)… pizza… pierogies… pretzels… you won’t die any damn faster. Crazy cunts out there, no?

Indeed, Vara. If I get to choose, then, it’s death by bacon for me!

Use your bloody nut… God gave you a brain; use it! If you do ANYTHING to excess, you’ll die. Full stop. The attitude of some is:

If it tastes, looks, and smells good, it must be bad for you.

If it’s dodgy-tasting, sick-looking, and smells “off”, it must be good for you.

That’s not me… give me a pastrami with horseradish mustard on Jewish rye (make it smoked meat if in Montréal), with a half-sour pickle, some real (drained, not wet) coleslaw, with a beer to wash it down. A bowl of borshch with sour cream on the side wouldn’t hurt at all! Good prole sustenance, fit for the gods. You can have your tofu, veggie burgers, and sprouts. I’ll bin it, if you please. Something will kill me, to be sure… all of us are going to die someday. In the meanwhile, I intend to LIVE. I commend the same to you… and I don’t mean just food. Reflect on that.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

7 November 2013. They’re NOT Abraham, Martin, and John…

00 Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Rush Limbaugh. Sic Semper Tyrannis!


I saw this in the commboxes at The Nation. I found the last sentence interesting…



There’s this gross wisdom among Teapublicans that they’re always just one candidate away from winning the big one, which is a belief hardwired by their inert ideological purity [it’s interesting to note how these opponents of “political correctness” embody the early-20th-century meaning of the term. Mirabile dictu!: editor]. Their imagined saviour is embodied in the mindset of conservative consciousness… Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity… a flag-bearing trio of virtuous rightwing demagoguery.

Roman Law


There’s an interesting fact about these three great paladins of “patriotism”… all three REFUSED TO SERVE IN THE FORCES, but they beat the war-drums constantly. It’s interesting to note how TPers lionise such cowards. After all, they’re always telling us how patriotic and self-sacrificial they are… it’s another lovely story murdered by ugly reality.

However, don’t argue with TPers… it won’t do any earthly (or heavenly) good, it won’t help them to see to the truth, and (above all) they enjoy fighting! That’s why I stopped corresponding with Whiteford… it wasn’t doing either of us any good; all that he was doing was browbeating me to agree to his loony-tunes rightie nonsense. Step up to that booth, mark your ballot, and put in the box! That’s the only language these creepo supremos understand. Jim DeMint saw the meaning in the tealeaves and left the Senate. What does he know that we don’t?



Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.