If you read my review of Sarah Monette’s “The Goblin Emperor,” I commented on the warm, fuzzy feel and the way the book totally failed to recognize issues like discrimination and social disadvantage in any realistic way. This isn’t the first young adult novel I’ve read recently that does this. Plus, in the last blog I mentioned Lutgendorff’s negative reaction to fictional rape and violence against women situations. The plan seems to be creation an idealized environment where there really aren’t any real, serious problems in life. Issues like bullying, rape, racial discrimination, LGBT bashing, or sexual harassment are soft-pedaled so the readers don’t encounter anything that might be upsetting. Since I personally prefer insightful social commentary, I’m interested in what’s behind this trend. With a little research, I’ve found some clues.

Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt have published an article called “The Coddling of the American Mind” in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic. You can find the article here.

Lukianoff and Haidt call our attention to the issues of micro-aggression and triggers which are currently of great concern in places like schools and college campuses. Micro-aggressions are actions or word choices that don’t have malicious intent, but still make someone uncomfortable. Trigger warnings are supposed to be issued by instructors like TV ratings to let students know when some element of study may have emotional content, such as mass shootings, racial violence, misogyny or domestic abuse. This viewpoint means that instructors can have Title IX complaints filed against them for just discussing issues like gender politics or rape law. It also means that someone is engaging in racial prejudice by asking a person of color “Where were you born?”

This is a matter of nit-picking speech to identify anything which might possibly in any stretch of the imagination be offensive to any person or group and calling it out. This follows up on past SJW efforts to address hate speech and biased language, shaming the users and calling for their ostracism from society. Going further, the new political correctness aims at protecting young people from any kind of offensive reality. It means that their emotional well-being is more important than recognition of the evils that exist in society. It means that words have a potential for violence and revelation that has to be strictly controlled. It’s a really weird trend when this shows up in SF and fantasy.

It’s an extensive article. More on this later.