“Does The Dog Die” is giving us the media trigger warnings we really need
There is nothing quite as awful as watching a movie with a dog in it, and being blindsided by the dog dying. Like, this should be illegal. Writers, producers and directors should face jail time. My emotions are not a toy. I deserve to be able to consume media knowing I am safe from emotional terrorism like falling in love with a fictional dog only to have that dog die. That’s why I’m about to nominate DoesTheDogDie.com for a Nobel Peace Prize.
The site does exactly what its name suggests: It tells you if the dog dies. You can search for any movie, and when you click on its title, the very first thing on the screen will be the answer to the question, “Does the dog die?” It’s crowdsourced, meaning you can also submit movies and vote to answer the question.
And the site doesn’t stop at just movies. It also covers TV shows, books, video games and more, crowdsourcing answers to not only questions about the fate of canine characters, but other common anxiety triggers as well. You can search for whatever media you’d like to consume and see if you’re going to encounter things like drug use, suicide, violence and gore or other triggers — 57 of them in all. It goes all the way down to pretty innocent stuff you might not want your kids exposed to, like whether it spoils Santa or makes a lot of fart jokes.
Basically, DoesTheDogDie.com is taking your media consumption experience from always potentially being this:
To being guaranteed to be this:
It really makes you wonder why no one has ever thought of doing this before. Like, there are parental control websites that will tell you if a movie or TV show has a lot of adult themes, like sex or violence, but nothing on this scale and for this many potential triggers. This has the ability to make picking a Netflix title a much safer activity for everyone.
“It was originally my sister’s idea,” site creator John Whipple told Lifehacker. “She found it frustrating to watch a movie with a dog in it because worrying over the survival of the dog made it impossible to enjoy the movie.”
(Spoiler alert: That GIF is from a movie you should not watch if you don’t want to see the dog die.)
Whipple went on to say many of the triggers the site now warns about were suggested by people who came to vote.
“Tracking which movies have strobe effects was not what we had in mind when starting the site but I’m glad we are able to help!” he said.
Ultimately, the site is here not to spoil movies, but to help people avoid seeing something that might upset them if they’re not in the mood to see upsetting things.
“Our focus is to allow people to enjoy media without fear of encountering an unwelcome triggering surprise,” Whipple said.
That’s a goal we can all get behind, whether it’s just about fictional dog deaths or something more sinister.
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