|Something good coming soon...|
|Something good coming soon...|
|I still like points, I wish I had more points, I won't give you points without reason, but if I think I'm supporting a good cause, like artists buying art, or buying art from artists, then I don't mind being generous.|
Don't beg for generosity from me.
It has come to my attention over the years that a lot of young people depend on "trigger warnings" to keep their internet experience safe and anxiety-free. In practice, trigger warnings are a good thing: they are like the TV or movie ratings for online content, and one may block such content if necessary through the use of special plug-ins. However, in execution, trigger warnings have become something of a joke, turning the perception of mentally ill and special needs people online —simply wanting to avoid anxiety — almost into laughing stocks for their fervent insistence of keeping the internet well-tagged and safe from errant triggering. That is, some online goers will insist to people they follow that triggers are sacred, and must be tagged properly for the sake of the rights of anxious people online everywhere.
Since when was anxiety rights a thing? Not that that wouldn't be helpful, I'm just asking.
I must admit, my young life would have been much less stressful if I could have controlled my browsing experience. I have seen some shit, to coin a phrase; my young internet browsing experience had been riddled with instances of accidental gore and porn enough to chip away at a young, optimistic me. What did I stumble onto? Why did Dee-Dee have to die to save her brother? Why am I seeing my favorite cartoon characters flayed like school dissections? Did I need to know the sexual activities of Jenny the Teenage Robot? Why was Blossom having intercourse with someone whose body parts were too large for her tiny body? How did I agree to see a documentary on the trials and tribulations of homosexuals in the media? What about documentaries on the Holocaust, alien mutilation, and even everyday crimes where people dramatize the sordid details of criminal acts and murder/manslaughter?
And that’s just what I can remember off the top of my pretty little head...
I used to blame myself for seeing things that I couldn't or didn't control, especially when I sought out material too mature for my age group at the time; my favorite movies at 10 years old were often PG-13 or even R, and I couldn't understand why this "good stuff" was being "hidden" from young children, until I realized that not everybody can rationalize the disturbing content they see, or even just cover their eyes if it gets too intense. I didn't think it was a special thing at the time; everybody has their phobias and must learn to deal with them. I mean, I got the willies from electron microscope imagery and video tape disclaimers. What could I have done, "tw: vcr tracking message"? Instead, I either learned to avoid my fears or desensitize myself to them. I figured that if I could deal with sex, violence, and other material like a "big girl", then I was well on my way to becoming an adult.
I could not imagine that it would turn me into a pessimistic teenager cum 20-something that feared growing up like the plague.
In my transitionary years, I immersed myself in "adult" humor, understanding what it meant to have a waste disposal unit next to a recreational area (as gross as it is, that is still one of my favorite sexual jokes). I watched VH1's "I Love The ___" series' in the hopes of understanding what adults knew and loved of a time I never knew, though in retrospect they were mostly a bunch of D-list loonies too bored to make comprehensible reviews of their nostalgia trips. I "practiced" swearing in secret (that is, away from adult ears) to understand what was so vile and addictive about such foul language. I read books on sexual anatomy in the hopes of discovering what was so fabulous about it (it wasn't). I even embraced the idea that, one day, I could write an "adult" program and make adults enjoy cartoons as much as children by "engaging on their level'.
To this day, I find the idea of censoring myself and writing a pure children's book intimidating.
People did warn me that what I was watching was not good for me, but as I did approach the minimum years assigned to ratings on movies and TV, PG-13 going on TV-14, I ignored them in favor of truly understanding what the world was all about. Maybe I just didn’t like being told what to do. Maybe I didn’t know better. Either way, it seemed that the more I learned about the horrors of "adult" content, the more I began to respect why people didn't want me to watch whatever I wanted. I didn't need to know who's who in the pornography industry, I didn't need to contemplate the sexual activities of Kermit and Miss Piggy, I didn't even need to think about what would happen if the Hulk’s pants never grew with him. My innocence was lost, and in its place was an overwhelming dread for anything remotely adult.
The internet was not my solitary source for triggering, either; real life was throwing shit at me that I wish I could forget. An abusive stepmother, the errant threats of criminal activity, and other horrors that made me favor the world of dreams. Unfortunately, not even that brought solace at times, for my nightmares would paint what little worries I had onto a high-definition canvas for the world to see, at least that’s how it felt. My worst nightmares involved decay, either in the rapid rotting of fruits and vegetables, or the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" style melting away of human flesh. Other nightmares included the fear of voyeurism, sexual violation, and the destruction of creatures or property by my own hands. I don't think dreams are something that warn you with a trigger warning, and even when mine did, they were in the style of those video disclaimer messages that gave me the shivers. No thanks!
OK, I understand that one would use trigger warnings to keep from seeing that sort of stuff over and over again, but telling a random blog you just followed that they need to tag their pictures of people seemingly staring at you seems a bit much. Then again, I still had that mentality that people need to learn to face their fears; Batman wouldn't exist if a teenage Bruce kept insisting on "tw: bats" and "tw: dead parents". It got to the point where people whining about their triggers and getting triggered became a trigger for me. Imagine that, "tw: trigger warnings"!! It's no wonder that I quit Tumblr, though that was also due to the efforts of social justice warriors trying to purge the world of political incorrectness and injustice "triggering" me. Did I want to feel guilty for being a caucasian woman who was cissexual, androphilic, and possibly the descendant of slave owners and other bigots?
But I digress, as I usually do with personal journals. This is why I do not wish to blog.
The point of my rant was that I still have the crazy notion of not avoiding triggering material, but to use them as artistic inspiration. Almost every disturbing nightmare I have I wish to turn into a horror movie or music video (or both). Every horror movie I do see becomes inspiration for my own spookfests. Every disturbing concept that hits me right at my core, I wish to retell, and perhaps even add upon to frighten even the most hearty of horror fans. For what purpose, though? Do I really wish to subject others to the same horrors that I have witnessed, or worse? Isn't it selfish for me to think that the only cure for triggers is an even worse trigger? Is it just me, or after typing "trigger" for so long, is it starting to look like the word Tigger. Is the notion of triggering as ridiculous as a bouncing plush tiger?
The word "trigger" in this definition seems to cover a lot of emotional responses: fear, offense, anxiety, remembrance, sorrow, anger, and even sickness. These young people thoroughly believe that their triggers are just as valid, if not more so, than the triggers of those with post-traumatic stress disorder. In some ways, they're right, as PTSD is not just limited to war veterans and rape victims, but at the same time, I still question the right to trigger warnings, especially as I see most PTSD sufferers actually doing something about their disorder rather than just insist that the world operate on their limited set of rules. I am starting to think that trigger warnings are not just about avoiding stress, but about young people avoiding the therapy they need in favor of staying in an internet world they think they can control.
Triggers exist for a reason; in a society bored of the usual fare, triggering material provides an excitement and fear some people need to engage in a story. Dead bodies provide police dramas with an element of horror that makes you want to find the killer. Family suffering makes you sympathize instantly with a character's history. Murder and bloodshed makes a villain all the more despicable. It gets to the point where media that doesn't trigger something so stark and brash is seen as boring and not worth one’s time. Who cares that Classic Doctor Who is engaging in an adventure that explores the meaning of artificial intelligence and the emotions of non-humans? New Doctor Who is portraying Martian water as a lethal substance that turns people into contagious zombies! Certainly more than children will be hiding behind the sofa for that venture!
Perhaps New Who operates on that same principle, turning childhood fears into legitimate threats to humanity (and sanity). Daleks no longer fear stairs and blindness, Cybermen no longer have a weakness to gold, and a monster designed by a child can become a hideous being worthy of a nightmare! At the same time, however, I fear there is a sense of adventure and humanity lost in indulging in this glorified fear-mongering; where old shows may have quaintly explored socio-political themes in a science fiction setting, new shows throw subtlety out the window in favor of monster creatures straight from one’s worst fears. Triggerians from the planet Phobos 13 are coming to turn us into scared creatures whose pleasure receptors have all but burned out from confusing fear for lust, seeking it out like an abused spouse with Stockholm Syndrome.
Still, however, there is something therapeutic about turning one's fears into artwork. There is merit to creating material from one's triggers, but I believe one must do it with intelligence and morality, to turn one's fears not into a vicious cycle of fear and excitement, but as the beginning of a self-awareness and introspection. For me, zombies and infected were an on-again-off-again fear/loathing, but the horrid mix of growth and decay paired with a personality that embraced it is why I grew to like DOTA 2's Pudge, the ultimate recycler. I hated the idea of being dismembered and torn apart, but the Mortal Kombat series made it arguably so fun and ridiculous that I couldn't help but like it; that is, up to MK9. Mortal Kombat 10 might have been the latest in dismemberment tech, and it shows, but what I find more disturbing than the gore is the exploitation of the dead, and the waxen, emotionless faces of those engaging in such fatalities.
They were already dead.
As I approach a true maturity, I realize that most "mature" content was made with immature exploitation in mind, as if the people who, like a young me, thought that they would be so cool to write "adult" stuff got all the jobs in entertainment. Mature entertainment no longer means something for college graduated intellects, but for people who haven't mentally aged more than 12, the kind who still think pornography is "naughty" and cool. On that note, as I learn more about the true nature of erotica, I realize that the problem is not in the nudity and the sexual acts, but in the exploitation and blatant untruths that budding sexual beings feel they must live up to. Nobody needs a giant penis or tremendous boobs, nor the sexual stamina of a horse on performance-enhancing substances. It's small wonder that I began to fear my own sexuality, ruing the day I ever thought men were attractive, especially the idea that I would ever desire to sleep with one.
Do I still want to get pregnant? Do I still want to have a child, knowing well that they would be born into a decaying society of man-children and teenage control of the internet? How could I instill in them a hope for the future that not even I have myself anymore? With wars overseas, will I still have my flying cars and hoverpacks? With anonymous internet goers threatening the lives of strangers, will we see cyberterrorism and complete internet takeover not even Tron could fix? What if the worst threat to humanity is not a robot rebellion, but that artificially intelligent beings may have more sense than humankind? What if I see these horrors in my lifetime? What if I am to spend the last years of my life in a totalitarian society out of my control? What if I am responsible for changing the world? Am I, in fact, the future grandmother to Brains from Thunderbirds?
At least the mental stammering and strong sense of justice would make sense.
Still, I have at least a few good years ahead of me, and I can't spend them worrying about easily triggered kids on the internet. I only wish that I could find the way in future to turn my fears into "Twilight Zone" style philosophical and psychological examinations of the human condition wrapped up in a package that, while frightening and perhaps offensive to few, may open someone's mind and help them to understand their fears rather than live to avoid them.