Virtue Signaling and Job Wars

After a colleague posted the article on trigger warnings I linked earlier on academic discussion boards, it took under 3 hours for other colleagues to start screaming like banshees that he’s “belittling sufferers” and offering a string of truly strange accusations. And that’s in summer, when most people are away and not checking the work email all the time.

This is the real issue with trigger warnings and this is why I keep posting about it. Look at the normal, civilized discussion we’ve had on the blog in these 3 hours of this very link. But it doesn’t work this way in professional settings. People are using these discussions, probably without realizing what they are doing, to prep their arsenal for the job wars where getting and staying employed in prestigious professions will hinge on the capacity loudly to proclaim one’s unwavering support for the most recent dogma.

9 thoughts on “Virtue Signaling and Job Wars

    1. Because this isn’t about students at all. It’s about the job market. People are trying to squeeze out the competition for lucrative positions. It’s not about students. That’s the crucial thing here and it becomes clear once you see the mile-long and, honestly, completely unhinged responses to the simple posting of this innocent link.


      1. \ Because this isn’t about students at all. It’s about the job market.

        I have understood that discussing religion-driven censorship doesn’t bring benefits in the eyes of some academics unlike presenting themselves as caring about trigger warnings. Got it.

        What I asked was whether religious censorship has ever been mentioned at all on those boards since I don’t believe you are the only one to censor yourself because of religious students.

        If it has been mentioned, what was the reaction?


        1. I have never met anyone willing to admit they self-censor out of fear. That would make them look weak. And I’m congenitally incapable of noticing how I look to others. 🙂


  1. Isn’t it also about making the academic environment seem toxic and unhinged and horrible for people outside it? I can’t imagine a sane person wanting to be in the middle of these modern screechers (like Shakesville but with more academic vocabulary!).
    It’s like the Polish city Szczecin that was once German Stettin (and right on the post WWII border) left purposely run down (I think) to make it seem unattractive…


    1. It definitely works this way. It’s taking all I’ve got right now not to respond to this idiocy. And I haven’t got a lot because I wrote 746 words today, and I’m beat. Because some of us actually do important work sometimes.


  2. I’m surprised. The faculty I work with are all pretty unanimously against trigger warnings. I think there are some support staff who might be for them? But I really don’t personally know anyone who wants to use them.


  3. Your colleagues are fixated on trigger warnings without noticing we live in a dystopic pan-opticon in which your best reputational defense is to aim a smartphone back and post the video on social media?

    In a mass shooting? Tweet your followers so they can call 911 for you.

    Cop getting nasty or someone thinks Jim Crow laws still exist? Better hope your dashcam and smartphone is running.

    Students record videos and post pictures of notes and the blackboard all the time.

    This is just an accelerated version of the never ending email chain people create to protect their job against hostile bosses and to toot their own horn at performance reviews. If it’s not in writing, if it’s not on tape, it didn’t happen the way you say it did. And even then…

    I don’t even think this applies to employment in prestigious fields anymore. Trigger warnings are so ten years ago.


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