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Warning: these books could seriously damage your health

If the trigger warnings are to be believed those of a sensitive disposition should avoid The Great Gatsby

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

3 January 2015

9:00 AM

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. Rolling Stone has ruined a lot of good people with hard-to-pin-down stories over the years, but this one really did my old alma mater in. What is more, the university honour system works and something as dishonourable as rape would never go unreported. The author of the hatchet job, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not name the victim or the rapists, but still the university suspended all fraternity activities for the duration.

It eventually emerged that the story was bullshit, but the ladies I had gotten into an argument with over the integrity of my university refused to apologise to the poor little Greek boy, so I’m doubly traumatised. In the meantime, the networks were buzzing with left-wingers smacking their lips with glee at the idea of seven white men raping a female student and then going partying. It was the Duke University lacrosse rape all over again.

But as a jerk columnist in the New York Times wrote, ‘Whites Just Don’t Get It’. Well, one white guy I know (I only met him once at a dinner) does get it, and he has just sold his Nobel Prize medal for $4.1 million, which he plans to give to charity in order to redeem himself for something he said back in 2007. James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, told the Sunday Times that he felt gloomy about Africa because ‘all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really’. Well, the good Dr Watson has become a non-person these past seven years, the academy and the media turning their nose up at him. The time I sat next to him at an intimate dinner I found him to be a wonderful man, warm and obviously extremely intelligent, but he didn’t take my advice to tell the media to reproduce themselves as far as Africa was concerned.

For myself, I no longer care. We’ve lost the war so the only thing to do is to try to enjoy myself while I’m still allowed out. Perhaps if the thought police rounded all of us up and interned us in camps, the world would be a far better place. Just think, yachting off the Liberian Riviera, or picnicking along the banks of the Tigris. Rubirosa and Onassis never had it so good. Have a very happy New Year and I’ll see you in camp.

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