Responding to “On Trigger Warnings and the Halberstam Affair: a Panel Discussion”

Neil F. Simpkins

In August, I participated in a radio show interview with Natalia Cecire and hosted by Karma R. Chávez and Anders Zanichkowsky about trigger warnings post-Halberslam. A few weeks later, Madison Mutual Drift published a transcript of the interview, along with two written responses by Dan S. Wang and Brigitte Fielder. I wanted to write some reflections I’ve had after this experience, so I thought I’d do it here.

One thing I’m learning from this whole experience is that what Catherine Prendergast calls “being disabled rhetorically” happens by refusing to address disability and its rhetorical productions on their own terms. Prendergast describes how having a mental illness affects one’s “rhetoricability”–when a rhetor is or is perceived as mentally ill, their rhetoricability is lessened and often negated. I’m struck how in the roundtable I participated in that disability was only tangentially discussed and not brought up in either of the written…

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