Greetings, and Happy New Year! I hope 2023 is going well for you.
First up: tiny frights is no longer active on Twitter. I haven’t closed the account because I don’t want anyone grabbing the name, but the bird site is a fascist-leaning s***show these days and I choose not to participate.
Related to the above, tiny frights now has an account on Mastodon: https://social.horrorhub.club/@tinyfrights. (By the way, if you’re new to Mastodon, I encourage you to throw some financial support to your server, if you can.)
A word or few about content warnings
I said in the Halloween 2022 issue:
If an author/artist includes a content or trigger warning with their work, I’ll include it here. I do not add content warnings otherwise.
Content warnings might also be called “content notices.” “Trigger warnings” is a term that’s sometimes used interchangeably with these, but it isn’t exactly the same. A content warning might be compared to a movie rating or even an email subject line: it gives you an idea of what’s ahead. A trigger warning specifically signals that the content might trigger PTSD in people who have had traumatic experiences related to the content.
You can find plenty of pro/con arguments for both content warnings and trigger warnings on the internet. A far from exhaustive, mostly random sampling:
- “Trigger-Happy: A professor explains why he’s pro-trigger warnings,” Slate, reprinted from Inside Higher Ed
- “On Trigger Warnings,” American Association of University Professors
- “Trigger Warnings: Yes or No?” at Reading Ladies Book Club
- “The Following News Release Contains Potentially Disturbing Content: Trigger Warnings Fail to Help and May Even Harm,” Association for Psychological Science
(Much of the controversy about these topics is in the realm of education. A zine, of course, is not a classroom, but many of the pro/con arguments still apply.)
The Book Trigger Warnings website has a list of (at the time of this writing) 97 triggers, including probably all the topics you would expect, as well as some that surprised me (“Religion”) and a couple I had to look up. It would be easy to mock this list as being overbroad, but even if that’s a valid critique of the list, that’s no argument against the underlying concept. Personally, I don’t think it is overbroad. As someone who was raised in a rigidly religious household, I can see how religion would be triggering for some people.
I’ll admit, I do use content and trigger warnings outside the zine. I might tell someone, “A dog dies in this movie,” if I know that would upset them. When I pass along a book I’ve read, I might temper my endorsement with a warning that a character in it suffers a trauma similar to something I know the recipient has experienced.
But I know these individuals, I know some of the things (not everything) they’ll find disturbing, and I know whether they’ll appreciate getting a heads-up. I don’t feel qualified to make those judgment calls for the readers of tiny frights, most of whom I do not know. However, I will respect the wishes of authors who want specific content/trigger warnings for their own work.
I’m not sure this is the right position to take, and I might change my mind. As William Blake said, “The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” But that’s my position right now.