This article originally appeared on LifeZette and has been republished here with permission.
College campuses are the prime venue for “intellectual elites” to demonstrate just how swell they are at protecting and sheltering average Joes from the big bad world, and all the scary things it contains — like theater.
“Trigger Warning: Five play readings and your 2 live theatre productions are required for this course. These works contain adult content and mature themes,” reads the syllabus for my ‘Intro to Theater’ class at Ohio State University.
My professor was warning a group of young adults that they may experience adult content. In other words, she was telling her class of 18- to 22-year-old adults, “Hey, these are things that happen in adult life, but you shouldn’t be forced to deal with them in the classroom because it’s not necessarily going to fill you with happy thoughts. You don’t have to live in or process reality.”
Who knew theater could be so psychologically dangerous?
First of all, let’s remember why trigger warnings exist. They exist to protect people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after subjecting themselves to content that might cause them to have crippling panic or anxiety attacks. For example, if a movie has lots of explosions and violence, it would be wise for someone who suffers with PTSD to avoid it.
To extend that concept to warning students against theater class seems a touch neurotic.
We have essentially become a country, and furthermore a generation, that no longer expects maturity, courage, or empathy from individuals. Instead, we baby our students and tell others they should never have to deal with discomfort. We go so far as to put restrictions in place in order to keep everyone protected in their little bubble where everything is simple.
This is the same reason college campuses have created free-speech zones. If you don’t want to encounter what an administrator deems “radical speech,” you can steer clear on your way for coffee that takes care to warn you that it is indeed “very hot.”
This is not how you create a functioning society.
Culture is shifting to a place where nobody should have to think for themselves, no one should have to advocate for their best interest, and everything is protected by the government or the intellectual elite — even us few students brave enough to take on “Intro to Theater.”