Students at a UK university are being warned about “explicit material” awaiting them in a novel ironically describing the dangers of censorship. With the new “cancel culture” and all the “trigger warnings” for hypersensitive pupils and students, a generation is being bred that will hardly be able to cope with the hardships of life. In the USA they are already called “Generation Snowflakes”.
Northampton University has one for their students warning because of the potentially “offensive and disturbing” content of George Orwell’s famous dystopia “1984”. The novel, which details the dangers of totalitarian rule and censorship, is now red-flagged for “challenging issues related to violence, gender, sexuality, class, race, abuse, sexual abuse, political ideas and offensive language ” treated. The warning, aimed at students taking a module called Identity Under Construction, came after a Freedom of Information request from the Mail on Sunday. The news caused excitement among social media users. “There’s something very Big Brother about it,” Conservative UK MP Andre Bridgen commented on Twitter.
“If a single student is prevented from reading 1984 by a warning, the University of Northampton has failed utterly in its task. This book should be read more than any other right now”, according to Australian professor Andrew Timming. The professor, who is considered a libertarian, is also committed to complete freedom of speech.
But Orwell’s classic novel isn’t the only one Northampton students should be wary of, according to university officials. Samuel Beckett’s play Endgame, the graphic novel V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing The Cherry were also deemed “offensive and disturbing” by the university. There also appear to be problems with books taught in other modules of Northampton’s English programme. Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, for example, may anger readers because it contains the “death of an animal, disability and offensive language,” the warning said.
The education body, which is currently ranked 108 out of 132 UK universities in the 2022 edition of The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, has issued a statement to defend its warnings. The “Daily Mail” quotes the University of Northampton as saying: “While it is not university policy, we may caution students against content related to violence, sexual violence, domestic abuse and suicide” because “some texts may be challenging for some students.” In the United States, where this development has been going on for some time, these “sensitives” are also called “snowflakes”.