1. Lisa says:

    Honestly, this whole thing kinda drives me crazy. I think content warnings can be useful for parents when they are trying to figure out if something is “appropriate” for their minor children to consume (media-wise). And that has to be taken with a grain of salt, even so. And I think things such as movie ratings – those broad categories of G, PG, R, etc can give us a fairly good idea as to what the movie will contain. I realize these ratings are “slipping” somewhat, in terms of PG “now” not meaning the same thing as PG “then”.  But all of the rest of this – trigger warnings about racism, sexism, fundamentalism, environmentalism, or tack on what ever “-ism” you want, is just buying in to the victim mentality that is so persuasive in our culture. It’s all a part of the culture of fear – “oo, something is going to hurt me! Squish it!” which I think, in the end, reduces us all to living in a sterile concrete bunker, AK-47s at the ready to blast the evildoers (“them”) into oblivion. There’s no room for art or beauty or anything else that might challenge your view of the world.

    Heh. I guess you should have had a trigger warning for your post: “Warning: might induce rants in reader.”

    • notleia says:

      Um, that is not what they are for. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I read someone’s story of how when she read a modernist (I think) novel for a literature class, and a rape scene in the book triggered her memories of her own rape and gave her an honest-to-God, heart-racing, can’t-breathe panic attack. THAT is what trigger warnings are for.

    • Limiting the discussion, as you have, to progressivist/secular content warnings: I agree that this is what they should be for. But people who do not understand the purpose are simply twisting the purposes. As I’ve said, the same is true about evangelical movie reviews that are meant to help mature adults determine the content of stories and songs for their children, but adults keep using them to pretend like content standards for young, immature children should apply to everyone.

      • notleia says:

        Eh, I don’t know that I’d call it “twisted.” The problem with the Christian pearl-clutcher type is that they don’t understand how people can have greater tolerances for [insert whatever here] and not be evil-satanist-heathen-backslidden-pagans. They conflate tolerance with approbation.

        On the other hand, I have not actually met any progressives who don’t understand what trigger/content warnings are and how to use them. But then, I don’t hang around particularly weird progressives.

        • Autumn says:

          On deviantart I’ve seen a lot of content warnings, especially for violence and gore, that don’t probably need to be there. Some people will put them up when there is pretty much only a couple drops of blood, or a level of fighting/hunting that can be seen in tame children’s stories. And the people I watch on dA come from many walks of life. It’s their choice, but at the same time it is a bit misleading because the content warnings may often make the overall work of art or author sound a lot more graphic than they actually are.

          • notleia says:

            I kinda wonder if some of them aren’t European, because apparently while Europeans are a lot more relaxed about nudity, they’re a lot concerned about violence. It might be like the European version of Americans getting antsy about boobs.

  2. J.M. Hackman says:

    I understand your point, but as a parent, I appreciate and rely on these warnings. (I think I’ve seen you rant against Plugged In before — give them a break.) Nothing is worse then spending money on a movie, only to have to leave halfway through. I appreciate it for myself, too. (One good example was the movie The Ladykillers with Tom Hanks. I left halfway through.) It’s not because I’m afraid I would start sprinkling my speech with F-bombs, but because I don’t need to take in that crap. Remember “…whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely…”?

    In regards to reading material, I would hope many readers would treat content warning the way they should be: use your heads. Not everything needs to be feared. (This fear of offending is the very reason I stopped writing Christian romances — there was so much innocuous stuff that COULDN’T be said.) As a parent, I try to read what my kids read, and read summaries and reviews. (Just one quesion: aren’t reviews a little like content warnings?)


    • Reviewers at sites like Plugged In are much better at this.

      I hope this counts as giving Plugged In a break.

      I also make use of Plugged In reviews and even MovieGuide reviews. And yes, reviews certainly count as “content warnings,” or more like a “content guide.”

      The objection is not to review websites or even to the concept of writing “guides” for popular culture stories and songs that let individuals know, or parents know, what potentially temptation-causing or age-inappropriate content is in store. The objection is to readers who treat these as anything other than compensations for human weakness. Somehow we keep turning “I need a stronger Christian’s help to shepherd me through media” as anything other than a recognition that this is a stronger Christian who is helping us. We like to pretend that we’re, in fact, the super-special holy Christians because we’re able to stay uncorrupted. But in fact the only reason we get to hang in the Shire and enjoy ale is because of Rangers.

  3. LadyArin says:

    Tumblr is another site where you’ll see a lot of stuff about trigger warnings and content warnings, and heated debates about ableism, racism, homophobia, etc. in popular culture. Maturity and thoughtfulness of responses may vary.

    I check PluggedIn’s website frequently. I really appreciate the increasingly balanced approach they take, evaluating a movie’s worthiness on more than just how many bad words are said or how many people prayed to God. That being said, there are areas i think they come down too hard on things simply because of content — maturity and age can make a difference in how we are affected by things, and sometimes it’s just a matter of fast-forwarding or clicking through a cut scene.

    Apart from PluggedIn and World Magazine, there aren’t really any Christian movie review websites i can take seriously.

What do you think?