Trigger Warning: This column contains information about Right Stupidity | Arwa Mahdawi


Forpredicting the future is a fool’s game. Still, I’d wager that even when the apocalypse is near, the conservative press will never lose sight of what’s really important. Are the ice caps melting? Right-handers will remind us that it’s the snowflakes on the left that should worry us. The threat of nuclear war? They’ll explain that it’s not nukes that should keep us awake at night, but the waking brigade and their pesky trigger warnings.

If you think I’m exaggerating, I suggest you take a look at the Daily Mail. You would think that the very real war in Ukraine might have temporarily distracted the Mail’s keyboard fighters from their obsession with culture wars. Alas, no: the Mail seems immune to the weariness of indignation. He certainly didn’t allow the geopolitical situation to keep him from sparking justifiable outrage over a university’s use of content warnings. The newspaper with the regressive record is very upset that the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland has apparently put a warning on the contents of Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea, stating that it contains “graphic fishing scenes”.

Is warning students about literary violence against fish ridiculous? Yes, of course it is. I’m not even going to try to pretend that’s not the case. But let’s be clear: there’s no reason to be outraged by an overzealous attempt to inform students of content they might find disturbing. Nobody tried to stop students from reading Hemingway. No one burns the book because they don’t like its message. No one drops bombs on civilians because they read a book with “graphic fishing scenes”. Someone was just a little too worried about his students’ feelings.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of ​​living in a world where the biggest cause for outrage is that people are overly sensitive seems like a dream to me.

Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

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