Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Article excerpt

Welcome to 2015, the year that speaking and writing freely had to stop. Anything that might cause trauma to anyone of any race except the white one will be expunged, and the perpetrators of politically incorrect speech or written word will be airbrushed for ever. The word trauma derives from the Greek and means wound. The literary canon will be the first to bite the dust as it's one big trauma, especially for feminists. The Great Gatsby, for example, is bonfire material because of a variety of scenes 'that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence'. And let's not forget The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as racist a book as ever there was -- worse than Gone with the Wind.

As Brendan O'Neill wrote in these here pages a few weeks ago, free speech is so last century when it comes to British students. But it's worse in America, where colleges across the country are wrestling with student requests for what are known as trigger warnings. These are explicit alerts to readers that something inside the book they're about to open and read might upset them. Poor dears. Reading books nowadays causes symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. For example, if a female character is described as homely, this can cause great trauma to homely women in Britain and America, and if a dark-skinned man (I don't dare call him black) commits a crime, heaven forbid, this too can cause great stress to criminals. So, the next time you buy a book, look for the trigger warning, and if you're a drunk don't buy any books that include characters who are lushes, and so on.

Triggers are relevant to sexual misconduct, but also to anything that causes women, short people, ugly people, bald people, drunks, paedophiles, cross-dressers, people who stammer, and class-conscious social climbers to feel oppressed. The only books that will not require trigger alerts will be novels and non-fiction tomes that deal with privileged white Anglo-Saxon shits that lie in bed all day and torture dark-skinned folk for amusement at night.

And speaking of trauma, I was traumatised recently when I read an incredible story about a rape that took place inside a University of Virginia fraternity that had once offered me a bid to join it. I say incredible because I never believed that seven Phi Kappa Psi students had raped a woman inside the frat house and had gotten away with it. The reason I didn't believe a word was that the story first appeared in Rolling Stone, the magazine equivalent of Janet Cooke, the fabulist reporter whose story about an eight-year-old heroin addict won her a Pulitzer Prize until it emerged she had invented the whole thing. …

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