The other day, I was singing along as a piano student played a piece. It was in her popular songs book, and, as is often the case, these “popular” songs are circa 1960. The student had never even heard of most of them. This week’s was the Armour Hot Dog song. And off we went —

Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs
What kind of kids eat Armour Hot Dogs?
Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks …

After hitting “fat kids,” I laughed. “This would obviously never fly today,” I said. Continuing on …

Tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox
love hot dogs, Armour Hot Dogs
The dogs kids love to bite!

“Sissy kids?” Honestly, it was a welcome bit of relief.

No doubt, such an ad would “trigger” many kids today. At our house, as we discuss current events over dinner, one child or the other often calls out TRIGGERED! It has become a joke, but what’s not so funny is the way so many young people apparently feel persecuted these days over pretty much everything.

There’s a group I belonged to on Facebook that instituted a “trigger warning” due to members apparently offending others by posts they create. The new rules instructed us to begin posts with “trigger: harsh language,” “trigger: US election,” etc. After rolling my eyes each time I scrolled past these posts, I finally left the group. It struck me as highly condescending to assume that I would need a warning before reading something on a topic. Seriously? When did we become such shrinking violets?

In light of last week’s Presidential election, I wonder how much the current “trigger” culture contributed to the angst so many are apparently feeling. They’ve been protected from upsetting words and expressions all their lives, so when a candidate who “triggers” them actually wins? How can life go on? But it must.

Have you encountered the “triggered” phenomenon? Or, perhaps more entertainingly — were you a fat kid or a sissy kid? I plead guilty to the first one.

5 thoughts on “Triggered

  1. I was one of the fat kids. And I don’t think anybody worried about triggering people when I was in school.

  2. Oh, yes, I remember that song well. And, yes, I was both a fat kid and a sissy kid.

    Like so many things, to me this comes back to balance. I have a former acquaintance on FB who constantly harshly rails against anyone he disagrees with, and when someone calls him on it, he doesn’t see that he is overstepping at all. In his mind he is like one of the OT prophets thundering out the truth and everyone else just better get in line. So, yeah, people like that need to realize they are NOT OT prophets and scale it back a bit. But on the other hand, we need to stop being so offendable. It would be far better for parents and teachers to teach kids how to respond, whether to challenge or let something go that offends them, rather than trying to protect them from anything that might.

    The FB group you describe has me rolling my eyes. It seems like people can see whether something is a political post, etc., and skip over it if that kind of post bothers them without the “trigger” warnings.

  3. While I think it has reached ridiculous levels, I do appreciate warnings of graphic sex or language. That said many of the vets I work with do experience being truly triggered by any number of different things including smells. My son, too, experienced this as a child due to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from his abusive birth home (it isn’t only vets who suffer from this–most abuses/abandoned children do, too). Many who have suffered sexual assault, incest and rape or horrendous beatings or horrible accidents do too. That’s a wildly different thing than being “triggered” by a by someone who does not share your beliefs or from having to “adult” for a few minutes. I do not think college classes or reading assignments should have a special label beyond the simple “graphic sex, profane languages” that are sometimes already in place. (I was assigned, and read, Norman Mailer at IU and lived just fine….). I think the greater problem is a generation raised to be total nacissists and who are adamant that life must be fair and that no one may say anything hurtful. Sadly, Nursery School ends for everyone at age 5, like it or not!

  4. You are introducing me to the term “triggered” being used widely. News to me! I found it interesting today at lunch. I was surrounded by college educated people. I brought up sanctuary cities and not one in the group had EVER heard the term. A band director in the crowd googled it. This same band director was at band experience at Indy Saturday. He was downtown Indy and he saw the protestors get pretty violent from what he said. He told of some with backpacks filled with rocks which they were throwing. Someone was screaming evil things about the police. . . It made me wonder if Sophie saw this Saturday in Indy or maybe you did driving back from the party. Will all the sane people please stand up!

  5. I loved your blog today. Like Attic Girl, I had not heard the term “triggered” but was very aware of what it means, just didn’t realize there is a term for it. I have, however, heard of and know about sanctuary cities, and just yesterday, hear there is a movement for sanctuary colleges!! Whatever happened to obeying the law so there would be no need for either of them? And yes, Nursery School ends at age 5, so grow up!!!

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