The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dumped George Will following his offensive column that college women want to be raped because it’s a status symbol. Will writes for the Washington Post, but the column was syndicated to other newspapers throughout the country. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has run Will’s column for years, but they’ve been considering replacing him for a while with Michael Gerson. Will’s offensive views on campus rape pushed them over the edge, and they said:
“The change has been under consideration for several months, but a column published June 5, in which Mr. Will suggested that sexual assault victims on college campuses enjoy a privileged status, made the decision easier. The column was offensive and inaccurate; we apologize for publishing it.”
One of the things that Will made absolutely clear in his ridiculous column is that he doesn’t understand the trauma that rape is. If he did, he would never have called it a “coveted status.” In fact, about labeling college materials with trigger warnings, he said:
“Meanwhile, the newest campus idea for preventing victimizations — an idea certain to multiply claims of them — is “trigger warnings.” They would be placed on assigned readings or announced before lectures. Otherwise, traumas could be triggered in students whose tender sensibilities would be lacerated by unexpected encounters with racism, sexism, violence (dammit, Hamlet, put down that sword!) or any other facet of reality that might violate a student’s entitlement to serenity. This entitlement has already bred campus speech codes that punish unpopular speech.”
Trigger warnings are put in place to warn readers that what they are about to read may bring painful, traumatic memories to the surface. They have nothing to do with “tender sensibilities” and they are not intended to warn students that their “entitlement to serenity” is about to be violated.
He even linked to Kathleen Parker’s nearly equally ridiculous column about the trigger warnings. She completely failed to understand their importance, or why they might be necessary for people suffering from the psychological trauma of a rape, but at least she did, briefly, explain them somewhat correctly. Will? Not a chance. Trigger warnings are mere coddling to him, and nothing more.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was wise to drop Will’s column and replace him with someone else. The Washington Post would do well to fire him, but it’ll take a ton of backlash for them to do it. In the meantime, perhaps the Post-Dispatch’s move will spur others to make the same move.