March 22, 2015

"Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning..."

"The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma."

Judith Shulevitz — in a NYT op-ed titled "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas" — describes a room set up by students at Brown University in response to the news that a libertarian would be debating with a feminist about sexual assault on campus.

Much as I think students should be challenged to think about difficult matters and not babied, I would like to give some credit to the students who came up with that particular safe room, going to such an extreme with the Play-Doh and all. It shows some sense of humor and light-heartedness. Actually, it could be read as making fun of the trigger-warning mentality.

This got me thinking about my favorite poem:
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—   
One clover, and a bee,   
And revery.   
The revery alone will do   
If bees are few.
I'm thinking: The Play-Doh alone will do....

Related: "Grownups Pay Big Bucks to Attend NYC 'Adult Preschool.'"

73 comments:

bleh said...

Unfortunately, I think it's highly unlikely that it's a joke. Maybe if the Campus Republicans or a frat did it -- in which case it would be a high crime and misdemeanor against women and college life.

Rae said...

Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'm thinking that these young people have been far too coddled in their lives. What are they going to do when they hit one of life's real challenges? Loss of a job? A divorce? Serious illness? A death in the family? House burns down?

Am I wrong in thinking they'll just give up and go on the dole and complain about the unfairness of it all?

Rae said...

I'm going to start marketing "exowombs" for college students to start crawling back into. A nice, moist, warm bag that hangs on the wall.

Fernandinande said...

a libertarian

Gasp! Lock the doors, turn off the lights.

The term "safe space" is used to make the rest of the campus sound dangerous, which, of course, it isn't.

Original Mike said...

I remember college as the time I was expected to grow up.

Scott said...

One of her points was that Title VII and IX were the engines causing the infantilization of discourse in campus life. So why aren't we addressing this directly?

Liberal arts programs have turned toxic. Responsible parents should steer their kids away from most of them.

Heartless Aztec said...

Insanity.

bleh said...

I would be ashamed of my child if he or she was so weak and closed-minded as modern day "campus activists."

Laslo Spatula said...

From the article:

"Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.”

That the President would do this I find abhorrent. Maybe they need a simultaneous, competing President.



I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

"...going to such an extreme with the Play-Doh and all. It shows some sense of humor and light-heartedness."

Unfortunately, they are dead serious.

Wince said...

The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

Evidently it never occurred to these caring nurturers that the people in need of repose might have experienced their trauma during childhood.

Glenn Howes said...

That's perhaps my favorite Dickinson poem, but maybe "the mind is wider than the sky, for hold them side by side. The one the other will contain, and you beside" might be more apt.

I remember being assigned to find a poem for a class at the (prairie surrounded) Univ. of North Dakota, finding that in the library. Bringing it to class. And it turns out it was plastered all over the English department. My prof. Actually checked to see if it was actually in the book I was holding.

Wince said...

For some, the smell of Play-Doh triggers painful memories.

Laslo Spatula said...

What's one of the first things someone makes with Play-Doh? A penis, that's what. And now there is trouble INSIDE the Calming Room.

Of course, the Play-Doh penis is pretty easy to engineer. When I was a child I made Play-Doh vaginas. I didn't actually know at the time exactly what I was making, but a few years later, Yep: those were Play-Doh vaginas.

This means something. This is important.



I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

"Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street

Come and play
Everything's A-OK
Friendly neighbors there
That's where we meet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to Sesame street...
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to Sesame Street..."

Good grief, parents pay upward $200,000 to infantilize their adult progeny.

Sam L. said...

Some people are apparently not mentally capable of being out in public without a parent.

Heartless Aztec said...

Eighteen year old women of the 60's and 70's and every decade prior to the dawn of humanity were stronger than this generation. I weep for our civilization.

daskol said...

The utter lack of a sense of humor can be confused with a terrific arch sense of humor. But not by the humorless.

D. B. Light said...

Long, long ago, when I was a child, we all aspired to adulthood and we understood, at a very basic level, that adult status involved taking responsibility for ourselves and others. Our models -- our parents, our teachers, the people to whom we looked for guidance -- were of the generations that had faced the terrors of depression and two global wars. We admired them and wanted to be like them. Now, it seems, a significant portion of the public, and especially the educated public, aspires to perpetual childhood or at best adolescence and we teach our children to fear the world beyond the home even as the family itself disintegrates. How did we come to such a pass?

Michael K said...

I just read that article before coming over here. The operative word is "infantile" and that about covers modern feminism plus all the gender bending nonsense.

What happens to these people if they finally leave college ? Do they get jobs as "diversity counselors" at, you guessed it, colleges ?

robother said...

The Belle of Amherst? Somehow, this put me more in mind of Pope's mock heroic "Rape of the Lock"

What dire offense from amr'ous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things...

What guards the purity of melting maids?...

...Whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please...

What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?

madAsHell said...

Related: "Grownups Pay Big Bucks to Attend NYC 'Adult Preschool.'"

I'm guessing they dropped out of grad school, and have squandered their student loans on kindergarten.

Dr Weevil said...

The history of higher education in America in four words:

From Plato to Play-Doh.

Gusty Winds said...

Maybe the Physics Dept could teleport these collegiate Teletubbies to Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, play-doh in hand, to see what really freightens their hypocritical sensibilities.

Whether or not the safe room props are meant to be humorous, the fact the Romper Room is even needed is embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Can you show me on this doll where the bad lady disagreed with you?

Chris N said...

Michael K:

Some or them come to Seattle, the Bay Area etc., others try and stay in the academic womb as long as possible, others probably get jobs, live life and slowly drift away from the nonsense, a few probably become out and out true believers, political activists, etc.

I'm guessing the really damaged girls, girls who were regrettably actually raped, others who are 'off,' and genuine lesbians are most attracted to this kind of stuff for their own reasons.

One key idea I come back to is that they need a host, and I'd rather see people not given incentives to live in 'exo-wombs.'

The NY Times has its own reasons for showcasing this stuff (money, relevance, 'solidarity,' influence) Some folks in he current administration their own (money, votes, power).

Do not feed it and what's left will I hope require more genuine and difficult choices in the real world, with I hope less victimhood, more voluntary choice and practical alternatives.

Skeptical Voter said...

Some of these fragile flowers are going to graduate from Brown and go to law school. Some of them may survive the trauma of the bar exam, and actually pass it.

Then one day as a young lawyer, they're going to go into a courtroom and argue a simple motion on the law and motion calendar.

And that mean old judge will rule against them. The horror!.

Unable to recover from the shock, they'll give up their law career and take vows in a convent.

I'm reminded of Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue". In the song the singer finally finds the father who "gave him that awful name". The father explains he named the boy "Sue" because he wasn't going to be around to help, life was tough and a fellow had to grow up to handle problems.

So I'm wondering--wouldn't these fragile little flowers at Brown have been better off if their moms had named them "Jack" instead of "Jill"?

LYNNDH said...

Better be Sugar Free, gluten free, nut free Cookies.

hawkeyedjb said...

Lefties are always trying to figure out how to control other people. They've hit on an easy trick, encouraged by like-minded bureaucrats: anything I don't like can be forbidden if I use words like "unsafe" or "trauma." Or if I pretend that opinions contrary to mine are "violence."

It's hard to believe that the world will fall for this. Sad to think it might.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Maybe that's why the White House posted those pics of Obama eating milk and cookies. After L'il Barry had played with his selfie-stick, and watched SportsCenter, he saw the news and found out about something that scared him, like republicans inviting his bully Bibi to come to D.C. I bet L'il Barry spends a lot of time blowing bubbles in his safe space, eating milk and cookies and playing with Play-D'Oh while sobbing about meanwiches and stinkburgers.

Mingus Jerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mingus Jerry said...

At least these children aren't taking out massive student loans to major in some "studies" where they will never have a salary that can pay back the loans so they'll demand student loan forgiveness.

D'OH!!!!

iowan2 said...

Safe places, trigger warning, cyber bullying, all of these things and more are a result of participation ribbons and not keeping score in childhood games.

Most times any individual comes up short, loses, misses out, is bested by others, There were no old gunfighters, someone was always better. Its called life.

A child rearing expert, I think, Dr. John Rosemond, explained parents should tell their children 'no' more often than yes. Even if yes might be appropriate. "can I go play with Johnny next door until dinner? My home work and chores are done and we haven't seen each other for a week."
"No, maybe tomorrow". Telling a child no, conditions them to the fact that often you dont get your way. For no good reason. Accept it. you will be content and happy if you learn to accept.

Michael K said...

I'm struck by the "Art" major student at Columbia who carries a mattress around for a "senior project in art." What in the world is that woman going to do after college ?

Be the "fem" in a lesbian relationship where the dyke earns a living ?

God help them if we are ever invaded by the Muslims. I mean more than we are now. She might look good in a burkha.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, these kids have enough sang-froid to shrug off the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. So there's that.

jr565 said...

The kids of today are losing rugged individualism. They are softer than the skin of a babies bottom.

richard mcenroe said...

I think it's pretty well established by now that we should simply rescind the women's votes and reinstall fainting couches in their restrooms.

Big Mike said...

Am I wrong in thinking they'll just give up and go on the dole and complain about the unfairness of it all?

@Rae, I don't think you're wrong at all.

SGT Ted said...

60 years ago people that age were storming Anzio.

They are self infantilizing themselves and not joining the adult world. We need to raise the voting age back up to 21 years old.

SGT Ted said...

They are a pathetic excuse for adults. They should be embarrassed that they need such emotional coddling at that age. They certainly aren't mature enough for college, much less real life.

richard mcenroe said...

SGT Ted: 40

chillblaine said...

It's a panic room. The last redoubt for those who fear harm from ideas.

jr565 said...

Women want to have the GI Janes to show they can duke it out with the big boys. But they also blanche at microagressions.
Women want Thor to be a woman, and applaud Marvel for making the character a woman. But hten DC goes and removes a cover that depicts BatGirl being held by the Joker as a hostage because it shows violence aginst women.
So they can dish it out, they just an't take it in turn.
That's not exactly equality. THat's still putting women on pedastals.

jr565 said...

trigger warnings and microagressiions are the parlay of weak and petty people.

Freeman Hunt said...

An Anti-Suffrage Children’s Book From 1910, Mocking “Baby” Activists. It wasn't a how-to.

Women are not babies. This "safe room" is outrageously sexist. Who taught these women about feminism? A misogynist?

Paco Wové said...

404, Freeman H.

Anonymous said...

We used to have a word for these kinds of people.

Victims.

Lydia said...

Deep into that linked article there's this:

... it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals — mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like. This new bureaucracy may be exacerbating students’ “self-infantilization,” as Judith Shapiro, the former president of Barnard College, suggested in an essay for Inside Higher Ed.

That "small army of service professionals" and "self-infantilization" of students -- a match to die for.

And to think it costs a mere $48,272 a year to attend Brown.

campy said...

"We used to have a word for these kinds of people.

Victims."

They're still victims. Only now that's a sought-after distinction, giving the bearer power and prestige.

Pat said...

"I would like to give some credit to the students who came up with that particular safe room, going to such an extreme with the Play-Doh and all. It shows some sense of humor and light-heartedness. Actually, it could be read as making fun of the trigger-warning mentality."

You're trying too hard. The odds that this was some arch gag are approximately 100-8.

David said...

I wonder what would have happened if some men had sought admission to the safe place. Just sit there, reading a book, or make some forts out of play-dough. Did any man at Brown have the balls to try this? Doubtful. Thus the paradox. Only men without balls would be welcome but the men without balls would stay away.

There are so many ways to be disruptive of the established order. But I don't think the men of Brown dare think that way.

David said...

"And to think it costs a mere $48,272 a year to attend Brown."

That's too low for the full tuition students. Probably just tuition and fees not room and board.

Lydia said...

You're right -- it's closer to $60,000. Wow.

ALP said...

Reddit has a section called TwoXchromosomes - a subreddit "for women". A couple of times a week there will be postings from young women, fresh out of college, trying to cope with the realities of the real world on the job, such as having to deal with being on the bottom of the pecking order, and not being treated with the same respect as those with years with the company. Also shocking to these women is the fact that their feelings are not treated as "special" and are actually dismissed and ignored if they don't add value to the process. This is of course chalked up to misogyny and sexism. And anyone that dares to point out the immaturity of these women is a troll. Got it?

Its an irresistible train wreck of fantasy meets reality.

Anonymous said...

You're giving the losers far too much credit.

We need to start having "adult spaces", where only emotional adults are allowed. And they need to be 95% of the world (by population density, not just physical space).

Scott said...

@robother: The Rape of the Lock is an astute comparison, bravo for mentioning it. Three hundred years ago, Alexander Pope mocked high society in this poem, using flowery over-the-top rhetoric to elevate a minor incident into a high crime.

In this day and age, with the institution of "trigger warnings" and incidents like the bizarre social kabuki at Brown, treated with appalling seriousness by the school's administration, we are living in Pope's nightmare.

This calls for some biting satire.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Sometimes it's just impossible to satirize reality. I give you... the womb chair.

Titus said...

My company hires many Brown alumni-they generally either go to Boston or NYC.

Titus said...

A majority of the students in the Ivy League would never have to work a day.

richard mcenroe said...

Dr. Weevil +1

richard mcenroe said...

I'm all in favor of the Chick Thor. A planet full of stripper angels works fine for me! Hail the 10th Realm!

Placeholder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Placeholder said...

A child rearing expert, I think, Dr. John Rosemond, explained parents should tell their children 'no' more often than yes. Even if yes might be appropriate. "can I go play with Johnny next door until dinner? My home work and chores are done and we haven't seen each other for a week."

"No, maybe tomorrow". Telling a child no, conditions them to the fact that often you dont get your way. For no good reason. Accept it. you will be content and happy if you learn to accept.

Sorry, but that's a prescription for justified, long lasting resentment, and worse. It's one thing to eschew the esteem-building claptrap. It's another to be casually and deliberately unjust and indeed dishonest.

In the example, the child has (to borrow a phrase) worked hard and played by the rules. He has every legitimate reason for his request to be accepted. In fact, it's part of at least an implicit bargain, if not an explicit one.

You might reply, "One never 'bargains' with a child." I would answer that life can be seen as a whole series of bargains. What this example teaches the child is that contracts and promises don't matter; all that counts is the whims of those with the underlying power, and that "might makes right." It is fundamentally immoral.

If you want to teach a kid that immorality exists -- something that all kids should learn -- there are better ways to do it than to show him that his parents can't be trusted, and that their immorality is perfectly okay simply because they can get away with it.

Michael K said...

"SGT Ted: 40"

It's actually 72.
2015-1943=72.

jr565 said...

The female Thor sounds cool, but she's actually a prototypical feminist angry at people making sexist comments and trigger warnings. It sounds like she's taking her anger out on the people who supposedly made sexist comments on Twitter during gamer gate. In between the comic style superhero fighting she lectures people on how sexism is degrading. I kid you not.

mishu said...

No wonder why corporations wants H1-Bs.

Known Unknown said...

From a comment on the article from an Oberlin student: " Oberlin's third-world co-op is a safe space for students of color"

Third world = students of color?

I'm sorry, who are the racists again?

Todd Roberson said...

Reading the article and comments I'm reminded of a common theme of nearly all opinion pieces in this space: college courses are - or should be - these laid back, open-ended, free ranging discussion sessions where people vent their innermost feelings and achieve real empathy via mutual honesty and sypathetic understanding.

Tomorrow in my Intermediate Corporate Finance class at Indiana University we'll introduce, analyze and produce graphical analysis of carrying and shortage costs in the optimization of current assets. We'll then conclude the 75 min lecture with a quiz that requires a file upload assessed with a rubric.

We might not have time to get to anything involving feelings, empathy or coming to terms with anything.

DougWeber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DougWeber said...

I remember spending the late 60's and early 70's fighting the school administration, trying to keep them treating us like children and demasning that we and our opinions be accepted as adult. Were we wrong? Was that fight wrong? A whole bunch of current problems would be solved if we went back to In Loco Parentis. Is that what we want?

Kirk Parker said...

Michael K,

I took mcenroe to be saying "raise the voting age to 40, not 21", rather than (incorrectly) correcting the number of years since Anzio.


Todd Roberson,

"Tomorrow in my Intermediate Corporate Finance class ... We might not have time to get to anything involving feelings, empathy [blah blah blah]"

H8ter!!!

Brando said...

I'm going to assume that for the vast majority of college students and most of the new generation as a whole, these new SJW extremes (trigger warnings, safe spaces, privilege checking) is a sideshow only participated in by a small minority of assorted nuts and attention whores. I bet that most of these millenials are busy dealing with things that matter--finishing classes, getting a job, getting drunk, getting laid.

There was a PC wave when my generation was going through college, and while we certainly heard about it, it really didn't affect us. Of course, it made us Gen Xers look bad--as though we were all nihilist whiners or nuts who wanted to "outdo" the leftist excesses of the Boomer generation. But in the end, the majority were no different from college kids of past (or future) generations.

Let these nuts have their little sideshow--they can waste their college experience by shutting out anything that might expand their minds. Eventually, they'll have to grow up and hopefully be embarrassed by these episodes.

smarty said...

And to think that there was once a debate as to whether or not women were emotionally stable enough to be entrusted with equality, and the vote. How silly those skeptics would feel if they were alive today.