This issue can be so funny if it wasn't for the deeper implications it raises. Here is an article about another book that is being criticized for a word used within the first pages. What one word could possible raise such a ruckus? SCROTUM. Did that shock you? Did it offend your moral sensibilities to hear the word?
It doesn't really do anything for me but apparently it raises the hackles of some people. I have to admit that I hadn't read the book yet, but I will just to see what the fuss is about.
The children's book written by Susan Patron, The Higher Power of Luckyis this year's Newberry Medal winner and it is recommended for children from grades 4-6. The story is about a 10 year old girl named Lucky whose mother is struck by lightning and dies. Lucky's father then asks his ex-wife to take care of Lucky while he is off elsewhere. This is about Lucky and her friends going through the usual angsts of growing up, and growing up without her real parents at that.
The fuss about the book comes about from the reference to the dog's scrotum being bit by a snake (sounds pretty funny to me) at the beginning of the story. Apparently, because of this word, the work becomes unsuitable for reading aloud, and some would even insist not suitable for reading in silence either. Because of the S word. I do not understand what is so wrong with the word. It is the correct term for that body part, right? That body part does exist and not just an imagined perversion, correct? So you would call your head a head, your arm an arm and not think twice about it; so why not call a scrotum a scrotum? I tried to think of other euphemisms (some have suggested it could have been implied in another way) but could only come up with balls. How about you? How many other ways can you call "the thing"?
I know many of us were raised with funny (and I really do mean funny)
ideas about sexuality, but I would like to think that as we grew older and more educated that we have shed some of the puritan ideas we have about sex. I remember my mom having a hard time explaining sex to us and even referred us to the dictionary when cornered with a word she couldn't explain without blushing. I'd like to think I'm a little better with my girls. At least they know their 'thing' is called a vagina and not 'pek-pek'. OK, my mom will argue that pekpek is a word. Yes, but it's a ilocano/filipino word and even at that it is not the proper name for the proper name is also considered vulgar even in the Philippines. Thank goodness for a second language to mask our inhibitions about calling body parts their proper names! But really, what is it about calling IT by it's proper name? Why is that bad?
Besides, most kids nowadays, unless they have been cloistered, will know all these terms by the time they are 9 or sooner (and at least 10 euphemisms to boot). At least mine do... and sometimes in a second language, even!
Words are only dirty when you make them to be.