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January 25, 2010 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Rejoice, parents of Southern California! Your classrooms are now free of...dictionaries.
posted by anigbrowl (143 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
head----->table
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Correction: it's one crazy ass (conservative, mostly christian) school district in a sparsely populated town near where my parents used to live. Not such a surprise, given the school boards out in Riverside county are usually filled with the same people that run the churches.
posted by mathowie at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


How will the children ever learn about oral stimulation of the genitals now! I'll have to send mine to an after school program now!
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Silly Rabbit, Ignorance Is Strength!!
posted by spirit72 at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ooh, a dictionary! I'm gonna look up blow job.
posted by billysumday at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stay classy, Menifee Union School District.
posted by mosk at 9:11 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I hate fuckin' idiots. Handjobs from idiots is aces tho.
posted by Mister_A at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ooh, a dictionary! I'm gonna look up blow job.

NO YOU'RE NOT, YOUNG MAN.

And don't think I don't know about that... that... THESAURUS you have hiding under your mattress.
posted by scody at 9:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [19 favorites]


Man, this ruling is hard to swallow.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2010 [47 favorites]


I remember when, as a kid, I asked my father what "fellatio" meant. I wished I had looked it up in the dictionary, you betcha.
posted by angrycat at 9:14 AM on January 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


I used to love looking up stuff like this in the dictionary-- did you know a fart is defined as a small explosion between the legs?
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:15 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just wait 'til they find out about the Internets. Someone's going to blow a gasket.*




*Not a euphemism.
posted by darkstar at 9:15 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wonder which is preferable to southern California parents: their children looking up "oral sex" in MW or entering "oral sex" into Google?
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:16 AM on January 25, 2010 [32 favorites]


Wait til them people look up santorum.
posted by Mister_A at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't they call Oral Roberts having sex "oral sex"?
posted by stormpooper at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2010


I remember when we looked up 'shit' in the big ol' dictionary in the library. We were treated to a variety of usage that had never before crossed our little 8th grade minds, and chief among them were 'shit on from a great height' and 'shot at and missed but shit on and hit'.

Good times.
posted by jquinby at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Man, this ruling is hard to swallow.

It's definitely a sticky situation.
posted by gman at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news, recent advances in medical science offer the fulfillment of a long-held Christian fundamentalist ambition. Experiments indicate it is now possible to remove and cryogenically store children's genitals until they are married, at which time said genitals can be surgically reattached.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:20 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mommy, what does "hypocrisy" mean?
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:20 AM on January 25, 2010


They should just shutter their schools, the know-nothings.
posted by Mister_A at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironically, when the kids in this district graduate they will have no other job skills than providing blow jobs.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [13 favorites]


I wonder which is preferable to southern California parents: their children looking up "oral sex" in MW or entering "oral sex" into Google?

Maybe Google should shift all the IT staff dedicated to censoring Chinese searches to creating "Evangeligoogle." Probably an good-sized market segment right there.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember when, as a kid, I asked my father what "fellatio" meant. I wished I had looked it up in the dictionary, you betcha.

When my husband was a kid he asked his dad what "sodomy" meant. He told him to go ask his mother. His mom told him to go ask his father. His father told him to look it up.

These SoCal parents should be happy that there is a book that will help them avoid these uncomfortable conversations.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


The best part is that district involves Jr. High schools as well. Like there is any eight grader in the whole world who doesn't know what "oral sex" is.
posted by sideshow at 9:23 AM on January 25, 2010


Rejoice, parents of Southern California! Your classrooms are now free of...dictionaries.

Huhhuh huhhuh... he said "dick." Huhhuh huhhuh.
posted by el_lupino at 9:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good thing they nipped this in the bud. Before you know it, some dangerously curious child might've started looking up some really bad words.
posted by gompa at 9:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I did, InfidelZombie! We spent all of 4th grade looking up the "naughty" stuff. :)

I feel for the kids - stuff like this is what makes them gtfo of their hometown as soon as they can instead of staying and challenging the problem.
posted by figment of my conation at 9:23 AM on January 25, 2010


Reminds me of that scene in Office Space where they go to the dictionary to look up what "money laundering" is. If you have to look up what oral sex is the dictionary, you're doing it wrong. Wikipedia is great for that type of info (look up "cameltoe).
posted by birdherder at 9:25 AM on January 25, 2010


Knowledge is inappropriate.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:25 AM on January 25, 2010 [18 favorites]


So, is there a kid in the US that knows how to read that doesn't know what oral sex is?

When I was in sixth grade, some girls were at the back of the room giggling away over volume S of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Such an outrage couldn't stand, since the teacher knew what they were looking at. So she yelled at them and told them to bring the book up to her "Open to the page you're on!" Yes folks, these girls were looking at snakes.

Of course after the teacher's reaction, there wasn't a kid in that class that was unaware that the S volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica also had an entry for "Sex." Sex!

You know for a damn fact that the same parents bent out of shape over something like their kids learning from a dictionary aren't going to teach their kids what these things mean at home (man, there's no way to make that sentence not sound like incest). So what's this leave? Yes, their kids will learn from other kids. The ones with access to such things. Knowledge is power, and the ones that know the Earth is round, where babies come from, and how life evolved on this planet will be able to get the kids that have never heard of oral sex to do anything.

There was a reason I only dated Catholic girls when I was in high school (mostly it was the uniforms).
posted by cjorgensen at 9:25 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]



Smart people these Menifetes? Menifites? Menophiles? Whatever. They knew what they were doing. They have gotten a nice hit spike in their cityofmenifee.com website.
posted by notreally at 9:25 AM on January 25, 2010


"You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopaedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?"

They list what in the what now?
posted by vibrotronica at 9:29 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The dictionary's online definition of the term is "oral stimulation of the genitals".

Typical useless, humorless Merriam Webster drivel. If I wrote the dictionary, the definition of "oral sex", would of course be:

Oral sex n. Twenty bucks, same as in town.
posted by enkd at 9:31 AM on January 25, 2010 [28 favorites]


DAMN YOU TEXAS!!!!!!

huh, where?
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:32 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


...the ones that know the Earth is round, where babies come from, and how life evolved on this planet will be able to get the kids that have never heard of oral sex to do anything.

So far, I don't think it's actually worked out that way.
posted by swift at 9:33 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


"News" items like this always bug me.

Ok yeah, we're all superior to a tiny school district in Southwestern Los Angeles. Go us!
posted by vacapinta at 9:33 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone's going to blow a gasket seal.
No, that's just a little ice cream.
posted by spasm at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It's okay, Mr. Feynman, we'll get someone to help you read them."
posted by majick at 9:39 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


vacapinta, if you think my reaction to this was feeling elation due to my superiority, I assure you that you are mistaken.
posted by Flunkie at 9:39 AM on January 25, 2010


Olive:

I saved a chair for my dad,
in the fourth row on the aisle.
And it may take him a while,
but when he gets here
that's his chair.

Cause my mother's in an ashram in India -
I saved a chair for her too,
but it's merely symbolic,
as daily she washes herself in the Ganges...

And I live in a house
where there's an oversized dictionary
that I read...
as a girl...
on the toiiiiiiiiilet.

I love my dictionary,
and I love the indented border.
Every word's in alphabetical order
ergo lost things
always can be found.

And I wrap my head around the fact
that in one book
is the entire language of our species
(which is a favorite term of Nietzche's)
(who's the great Grandfather of Christina Ricci's)

Yes I joke
but the words in the dictionary
are the friends that I'll have forever
more than the friends I have made at school...

Others:

She's such a lovely girl
with a lovely little voice
And I've heard that she's pro-choice
...though still a viiiiiirrrrrggin.

Ms. Peretti:

And she talks into her hand
and often used technique

Olive:

But what you do not understand
is once I say it then I've said it

Ms. Peretti:

And so much to her credit
she talks into her hand
and turns aside...

Olive:

...so I do not make a mistake
and get disqualified.

Boanthropy. B-O-A-N-T-H-R-O-P-Y. Boanthropy?

Mr. Panch:

That is correct!

Olive:

My friend the dictionary
is a very reliable friend...

[My Friend the Dictionary, from "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."]
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


At the heart of it, is this story any better than the one about the cat getting called for jury duty?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2010


"News" items like this always bug me. Ok yeah, we're all superior to a tiny school district in Southwestern Los Angeles. Go us!

What a weird response. So these items should be suppressed or not reported for fear that some non-completely-backward-and-regressive members of the reading audience might feel briefly superior?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:41 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Serious question -- isn't "oral sex" a phrase? I wouldn't think that would be included in a dictionary any more than I would think "reactionary dunderheads" would be in there.

Maybe they're objecting to the process of finding out what separate words mean, and thennchaining them together to form ideas and concepts. Which eventually leads not only to fucking, but also to activities like decoding the human genome, and operating a Supercuts franchise.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:42 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


stupidsexyFlanders, generally speaking, dictionaries contain not only words, but common short multiword phrases.
posted by Flunkie at 9:43 AM on January 25, 2010


I can't wait until these kids grow up and run the world.
posted by asfuller at 9:45 AM on January 25, 2010


they are capable of seizing our lexicons... however, they shall ne'er posess our autonomy!


i learned way more dirty words from the thesaurus than i did the dictionary as a wee lass.
posted by mingo_clambake at 9:45 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


stupidsexyFlanders, generally speaking, dictionaries contain not only words, but common short multiword phrases.
And, for what it's worth, the Oxford English Dictionary has it too: "sexual activity in which the genitals of one partner are stimulated by the mouth of the other."
posted by Flunkie at 9:45 AM on January 25, 2010


I think 'oral sex' qualifies as a compound noun.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


These dictionaries, they have pictures?
posted by Mister_A at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


ExitPursuedByBear, no need to send your kid to an after school program. Just make sure your child is in a class with mine and mine will explain it all. I loved getting that phone call.

"Mrs. S... Your child described reproduction to another child today and used the words 'penis' and 'vagina'..."
"Ok. What's the problem?"
"Your child described reproduction today and used the words 'penis' and 'vagina'..."
"And...?"
"The parents of the child your son spoke to are upset because they've not yet taught those words to their child and want to know how your child knows them."
"He knows them because we taught him."
"Mrs. S, your son is only five!"
"And?"
"Don't you think that's too young?"
"No. I don't. I want him to understand about his body. Did he get it right?"
"Yes."
"Great! Thank you for calling."

Please keep in mind that the other child was a couple of years older than my kiddo and the conversation occurred on the playground. The other kid thought mine was telling lies and using bad words.
posted by onhazier at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2010 [396 favorites]


What a weird response. So these items should be suppressed or not reported for fear that some non-completely-backward-and-regressive members of the reading audience might feel briefly superior?
posted by game warden to the events rhino 4 minutes ago


Sorry. I meant that I personally dont like to see them on metafilter. Sure, its news. But the comments here are always some variation of "Lets make fun of those backward hicks" type and outrage-filter. There is no interesting debate to be had here. Maybe if this was part of a larger trend in schools but I dont see that.

Anyways, I'll leave it at that. I dont want to derail this conversation.
posted by vacapinta at 9:51 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why go through all the trouble to ban things that may potentially corrupt our children? There are (apparently) so many things that can turn our children into drug using, sex-obsessed murderers. Seems like it would be much easier to just ban children. Problem solved!
posted by Consonants Without Vowels at 9:51 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Back in fourth grade I received a copy of this book (which is completely kick-ass, and I wish I hadn't let it fall apart and get thrown away by my mom, but I digress). Being, well, 9, I immediately latched onto the page where he describes how many modern curse words come from the Anglo-Saxons, as contrasted with the more polite, mellifluous language of the invading Normans. "Urinate" becomes "piss" and "defecate" becomes "shit." I'd never even heard this word "fornicate" but I guess that meant "fuck." Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Here it was in an actual book for adults that gave it serious treatment. Wowie wow wow.

So of course I brought it to school and trotted it out at recess, and we all giggled over it until my teacher found out. I can't even remember what he said, but it was some variation of "Really?" As in, "You're a smart kid, and this is all you get out of this book?" And that was enough to send me off into other areas of the book, which I ended up adoring. Toilet paper? Ivory soap? Roller skates? Sweet.

He wasn't John Keating or that chick from Dangerous Minds or anyone else worthy of a CBS Movie of the Week. I mean, the guy said "AR-tick" so insistently that my mom nearly marched into his class to get him to stop encouraging me.

But damn, is intervention really that hard?
posted by Madamina at 9:53 AM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


Metafilter seems insistent this morning that I should rejoice about things that don't seem at all worthy of rejoicing.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:53 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do kids even know what a dictionary (book) is or what it is for any more? Isn't this what the internet is for? Aren't the kids going to get a much more, um, informative definition from the internet anyway?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:54 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of people in this thread who don't know anything about kids.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no interesting debate to be had here.

To me something like this is much like the library workers that didn't want anyone reading a certain book.

I do get there is some level of people mocking them, but in my mind they need mocking. Not that public shaming will change anyone's mind, but a bright spotlight on ignorance is seldom a bad thing.

This said, I too am not sure metafilter is the best place for this. Kinda news-of-the-weird, but it's still amazing to me. If I had a kid that learned about this from a dictionary I would be so proud he/she was reading a dictionary!
posted by cjorgensen at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


> They knew what they were doing. They have gotten a nice hit spike in their cityofmenifee.com website.

From the website in question:

We had 6,146 visitors in June and 18,631 pageviews!

Somehow I don't think they monitor their traffic too closely.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:06 AM on January 25, 2010


We're all superior to a tiny school district in Southwestern Los Angeles.

Well, southeastern, assuming we call the whole metro area Los Angeles. Southwestern Los Angeles is the Pacific Ocean. Only schools of fish there.
posted by el_lupino at 10:06 AM on January 25, 2010


When I was a kid, we had to look up this kind of crazy slang on urbandictionary.com
posted by sararah at 10:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


As I have sa-aid, time and time again.. if masturbation is not taught in the home, then it must be taught in the schools! Every year.. many of our young people.. graduate from high school complete unable to masturbate! And of those who can, most are able to do so only at a fifth-grade level!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:22 AM on January 25, 2010


Isn't this what the internet is for? Aren't the kids going to get a much more, um, informative definition from the internet anyway?

A tangent that may apply -- I heard a bit of something on NPR this weekend that analyzed grade schooler's internet search skills. A bunch of kids were asked to look up data that would be simple to find with a Google search string -- things like "what day of the week is President Obama's birthday this year" or something like that. But the bulk of the kids would either enter a really simple search string like "obama" and look on the first hit, and if the information wasn't there, they'd give up. Some kids would just go to their favorite web page and look (there was one kid who tried to look up that information on the SPONGEBOB web site).

So while kids could get that information from the internet, not all are being taught HOW to look it up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


FFS, this makes about as much sense as me getting dragged into the principal's office in elementary school because a friend of mine and I were reading the personals section from a newspaper.
(We had an assignment to bring a section of a newspaper to school and my dad gave me the whole thing in case some people forgot and we really thought that the personals section was people looking for friends.) Parents were called, loud argument was had, I didn't get in any trouble at all, heh.
posted by sperose at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2010


Geez, they're still on Merriam-Webster's 10th? They may as well throw them all out, for all the good they'll get out of that old thing.
posted by Caduceus at 10:29 AM on January 25, 2010


"You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopaedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?"

Oh, for fuck's sake. Don't give them any ideas.
posted by brundlefly at 10:30 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I also think we should change the name of that infernal book, as the first syllable sounds like a term for the naughty bits of a gentleman.

Therefore, I propose that we call it a "cocktionary."
posted by Mister_A at 10:30 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


There is also something funnier about seeing bad words listed in a dictionary, which kids likely see as a stodgy reference book. When we looked up bad words in the dictionary as kids it wasn't usually to look up the meaning, but to giggle about the fact that it was there, among big fancy words.

Actually, the only time I looked up bad words for their actual meaning was in Spanish, because we have lots of curse words that are not self-explanatory in their meaning.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:36 AM on January 25, 2010


So while kids could get that information from the internet, not all are being taught HOW to look it up.

But unlike what day Obama's birthday falls on this year, typing in "oral sex" into google and then clicking on the first result will most likely give you a graphic definition of it. Unless these kinds of terms are verboten by the net nanny.

The first response I get is wikipedia and there's more information MW could give you. There's illustrations and a section on slang terms.

I also suspect by the district banning this book the result is every kid will go to no end to find out what oral sex is. Nice work! This type of thinking my make Riverside County the new Porn Valley!
posted by birdherder at 10:41 AM on January 25, 2010


As one who lives in the general geographic region where this story takes place I can confirm mathowie's point that this school district is located in a highly conservative, extremely religious area (the sheer number of churches in this relatively small region would absolutely blow your mind, also, if you're wondering where high concentrations of Yes on 8 votes came from, this is it), so this is more of an anomaly rather than a sign of a trend, I think

This discussion reminded me of one of my more embarrassing childhood memories. A friend at school told me a Johnny Deeper joke, which included the phrase "hump". I was far too ashamed to admit to my friend that I had no idea what the term meant in the context he was using it.

So at the dinner table that night I asked what the term "hump" meant, to which my mother replied that it was something on a camel's back. Knowing this couldn't be the correct meaning based on the rest of the joke, I said, "No, the other 'hump' - I think it's something you do to a person". At which point the rest of my family burst into uncontrollable laughter and I ran up to my room crying in shame.
posted by The Gooch at 10:47 AM on January 25, 2010 [16 favorites]


Isn't this what the internet is for? Aren't the kids going to get a much more, um, informative definition from the internet anyway?

Well, in this case, lesbians really do like guys watching, they always keep open a decent camera angle, and the only way to go about this is to have a tongue that makes a hummingbird wing look slow. And when it's woman on man, the woman never has a gag reflex, which isn't totally surprising, since all those guys are so small. I have no idea how the guy on guy stuff goes.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:49 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I applaud this move, as my kids will be needing people for menial labor in twenty years.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


That'll teach'em!
posted by yeloson at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2010


I'm going to write an angry letter. The pen is mightier.
posted by Ratio at 10:50 AM on January 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Tangential story, barely related, but humorous.

My freshman year in college I had a roommate, let's call him Dave. Dave was from a distant country and had been very sheltered his entire life (despite the fact that his father was a gynecologist). About a month into the school year, he comes into the room and asks me with a very straight face, "what is masturbation? I heard this word today. I don't know what it is!" I stared at him blankly, and then handed him my copy of the OED (I was not about to give my new roommate 'the talk').

About a month later, I walk into the room and he says, "I've been masturbating much lately! But I'm trying to eat less meat so I don't masturbate so much."

Moral of the story: even the best dictionaries cannot teach children what only experience can.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


maybe the ambiguous wording has led to young boys injuring themselves attempting to perform autofellatio
posted by Hammond Rye at 10:55 AM on January 25, 2010


"The pen is mightier."

Yes, but does it work, man???
posted by stenseng at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


So when I was about 10, I learned about these topics from another prestigious volume: The Starr Report. It was quite the eye-opener. The dictionary would have been far preferable...
posted by zachlipton at 11:20 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will confess to looking up dirty words in the dictionary and giggling from Grade 1 to about Grade 5. I'm sorry I ruined it for everyone.
posted by electroboy at 11:27 AM on January 25, 2010


This is so ridiculous.

And I don't care how religious that area is. I guarantee you you can go to any Christian school in MY area and those kids know what "oral sex" is already because kids talk to each other, they talk to older brothers and sisters, and *shock* some parents actually answer their kid's questions.

Meanwhile, these kids don't have access to a good dictionary, which-guess what-has LOTS of words in it, not just "naughty" ones.

It is wrong to try to "shelter" a kid that much. Shoot, I can pick up my Bible right now and read you several passages out loud that would make my face turn red as a beet. But they're in there. Meanwhile I'm sure those kids have access to Bibles.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:43 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile I'm sure those kids have access to Bibles.

The answer is to ban Bibles in schools!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:48 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile I'm sure those kids have access to Bibles.

PARENTS STRONGLY CAUTIONED: MAY CONTAIN IMAGES OF SEED SPILLING
posted by everichon at 12:06 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to write an angry letter. The pen is mightier.

Let me know if you get a reply.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2010


“"News" items like this always bug me. Ok yeah, we're all superior to a tiny school district in Southwestern Los Angels.”

Why are we superior? Obviously because we value knowledge and open discourse and they don’t. Ok, so why do we need to know about it? Just to make fun of them?

Well, yeah, in part. But that's sort of a social immune system effect. The canary in the mindshaft that prevents it from becoming a trend, and prevents an idea, dangerous because of it’s value of ignorance and dogma, artificially replacing genuine discourse and earnest inquiry. As it has in that doofy school district.
We don’t make fun of it because it’s anomalous. It’s anomalous because we make fun of it (and because it’s an inferior methodology in dealing with life as it requires a massive. repressive social support structure).

Importantly – they’re not hicks. They’re not backwards. If they were genuinely mentally deficient, pity would overrule ridicule. If they were merely pug simple or trying to express the joy they find in their faith they might get a ‘lolchristians’ (in which case you’d be right) but they wouldn’t be deserving of contempt and humorous derision like someone trying to get more people to have gum disease.
They are suppressing the ability of their children to understand the world and they are doing it knowingly and I don’t think there’s any question they would do it to anyone, or indeed everyone else's child, if they could.

Humorous affirmation our own method of education in contrast to their own allows us the ability to rethink what perhaps we’re doing wrong while making sure we avoid allowing ideas like banning dictionaries to propagate within our communities (usually brought by well-meaning dunderheads who eventually trail the real sharks behind them).
So yeah – ha ha ha, if someone got on my local school board and submitted a motion like that it would not only not get seconded but get a hearty laugh all around.
Good. That’s what’s supposed to happen.
You have to protect children from people who seek to foster their dependency and ignorance in order to gain power over them.
Some parents do that, and wind up with kids who don't know how to do anything for themselves. It'd be only slightly less crazy if you actually could live forever and protect them from everything.
Only the ignorance and lack of independence in the case of learning about sex (and learning how to learn about sex, as noted above)) has the wonderful side effect of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
It Is funny. Funny and so needlessly self-destructive and baseless in the first place that it’s ridiculous in it's surreality like Ash cutting off his own hand screaming “who’s laughing now!?”
And yeah, it’s good they’re only in a small community. The smaller their sphere of influence the better.
We'd do more harm to ourselves and our system trying to strongarm them off their local board or change democracy so yeah, you gotta laugh.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:13 PM on January 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


So while kids could get that information from the internet, not all are being taught HOW to look it up.

This is me revelling in my job security as a librarian.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:16 PM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's another dictionary entry that might be of interest to those involved in the banning.
posted by mazola at 12:17 PM on January 25, 2010


The canary in the mindshaft that prevents it from becoming a trend

Either that's a typo or you are a poet.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:31 PM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


oral stimulation of the genitals

You know, without context, "oral" can be in opposition to "written", which is why am I picturing literal minded children who see this, and only this definition doing it all wrong by engaging in oral sex thusly;

[shouting at penis]

WAKE UP! THERE IS EXCITING STUFF GOING ON! YOU SHOULD CHECK THIS OUT!
posted by quin at 12:49 PM on January 25, 2010 [37 favorites]


Here are some more MW dictionary entries useful for the Menifee adults to look up.
posted by bearwife at 1:07 PM on January 25, 2010


At the heart of it, is this story any better than the one about the cat getting called for jury duty?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! A cat got called for jury duty?? I want to serve on a jury with cats. How awesome would that be, to have cats on juries. I bet we would get more many jury nullifications.
posted by darkstar at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


*many more

sorry, brain overloading at the idea of cats on juries
posted by darkstar at 1:22 PM on January 25, 2010


That's dumb. Cat's can't be on juries. Cats are worlds unto themselves and thus by definition cannot be peers with anyone.
posted by Babblesort at 1:37 PM on January 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


why oh why is that apostrophe there?
posted by Babblesort at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


ExitPursuedByBear, no need to send your kid to an after school program. Just make sure your child is in a class with mine and mine will explain it all. I loved getting that phone call.


I hear ya. At the tender age of three, my daughter called her vulva a vulva. Her twenty-something preschool teacher (well-intentioned if not well-informed) tried to correct her, and told her to call it her vagina instead. When we picked her up, the teacher told us (quite proudly) about the correction, and we made it a point to have my daughter there listening as we corrected the teacher (who was surprised, then laughed and sweetly apologized to my daughter for leading her astray.)

In other news, a daughter of dear friends of ours -- who is nine -- is told by her ballet instructors to "tuck [her] po-po" when her ass is sticking out too far. No discussion of actual sex organs by proper name gets half the giggles that "tuck your po-po!" does in a conversation with her...the fake word just makes it seem dirtier than it is.
posted by davejay at 1:46 PM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cat Prosecuting Attorney: "Did you eat that bird?"

Cat Defendant: *yawn* *stretch*

Cat Juror #1: *also yawns* "Mmm bird"

Cat Juror #2: "Sleepy"

Cat Judge: "Case dismissed. Sleep and food time. And then with the finding someone to scratch us!"
posted by quin at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2010 [26 favorites]


I think what makes me the angriest here -- I mean beyond the whole 'book banning = bad' thing is how completely illogical it is. Sexually graphic? Really?! "oral stimulation of the genitals" -- I can't think of a least sexy way to say something that's pretty darn enjoyable. Seriously "BJ" -- a term that, for some unknown reason, makes my skin crawl -- is hotter than that.

I know that others in the thread have already said this, but there are parts of the Bible that are basically Letters to Penthouse compared to the offending phrase in this matter. Then again, I'm a sucker for man lying with man, so your mileage may vary.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:51 PM on January 25, 2010


Then again, I'm a sucker for man lying with man, so your mileage may vary.

A sucker?
posted by tippiedog at 1:59 PM on January 25, 2010


Hoo boy, you should've seen the stramash from the fundies at Collins Dictionaries when we included "fuckwit" as a synonym for "idiot" in a thesaurus billed as "ideal for family use" ...
posted by scruss at 2:08 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


"oral stimulation of the genitals" -- I can't think of a least sexy way to say something that's pretty darn enjoyable.

Ahhhh, but you forget that we're talking about eight- and nine-year-olds here. Even the most clinical description of a sexual act is completely hysterical simply because it's...you know, talking about it! I remember me and my friends in our school library when I was in 4th grade, and one of the kids got one of the dictionaries and said to us with an evil gleam in his eye, "hey, guys, get this!" And then he looked up..."bed." No, seriously, just the word "bed." But that dictionary defined "bed" as "a piece of furniture designed for sleeping, napping or having sex." And the mere fact that it had "sex" in that definition made us all burst into uncontrollable giggling, with two kids laughing so hard that they literally fell out of their chairs.

I guarantee that a group of eight-year-olds who want to feel like they're being a little naughty can get a LOT of mileage out of "oral stimulation of the genitals". Even if they don't know what the whole phrase means -- "whooaaaa! It says 'genitals' right here in front of me in the dictionary! Bwaaaaaahhhh!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even the most clinical description of a sexual act is completely hysterical simply because it's...you know, talking about it!

When I was a kid, before the internet, me and a friend were trying to figure out what oral sex was [we'd read it somewhere, somewhere that didn't define it] and we concluded from context that it must be when you talk about sex and it gets you all hot and bothered. This was middle elementary school and I grew up in a house full of dictionaries. I figured it out eventually. Now I am a librarian. Someone asked me with a straight face what "fisting" was when I was at the reference desk once. When I told him his face totally dropped. It was clear that he had not, at all, thought he was going to get the answer he did and was retroactively embarassed at having asked me. But I'm a professional and I just said "hey that's okay" and gave him a Susie Bright book to read.
posted by jessamyn at 2:25 PM on January 25, 2010 [24 favorites]


Of course when you're 8 you generally don't know the difference between genitals and gentiles.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:25 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


So a bunch of fundies did what 4th graders do? Sitting with a dictionary and looking up bad words to see if they're in there (so, y'know, they can actually find out what that word was their older sibling used, and how to use it correctly)? It's just so pathetic.

Besides, if you want smut, try, say Longman's Learners Dictionary. EFL students, they get all the good words, including a page and a half on shit and its many uses. Fuck gets over two pages as I remember.

I know this because I walked in to a classroom to find my post-high school students looking up the words. I was stunned, finally, to see a dictionary that actually had words like "fucker" and "shitty" defined, and with clear examples of use.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:28 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Someone asked me with a straight face what "fisting" was when I was at the reference desk once.

I had a friend that worked for a Spencer's Gifts (stupid mall novelty shop for those unaware). She would get customers coming up to her and asking her what the edible panties tasted like all the time. She'd just say, "I only work here." I told her she should have told then, "If you actually convince some woman to wear them you won't care."

I once asked my dad what prophylactic meant. He told me to "look it up." I couldn't be bothered. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of dinosaur though.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:33 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


onhazier, I love your kid. Two thumbs up on the childraising, there.

I got yelled at for reading a book before French class started in high school once. Bell hadn't even rung and Mme. Fromage (seriously, her real last name was Cheese, so we called her that behind her back) told me to stop reading my book. I said the bell hadn't rung yet, and she sent me to the principal's office.

He told me that (a voracious reading habit) is something to be proud of, and to just ignore her the next time she was being deliberately jerkish. Yay, Ohio schools!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:45 PM on January 25, 2010


I can't believe some lady is claiming that it's "hard to sit down and read the dictionary." Pffft. Some of my favorite hours have been spent doing just that. I've had so much fun sitting and reading the dictionary, that the dictionary had to be removed from me for the well-being of others. (Yep. Getting drunk and reading the dictionary. Ah, college.)

If they want to talk about removing dictionaries from school to discourage nerdish anti-social behavior... That's another matter altogether. Although those kids, from my own bitter experience, will need to know the definition of "oral sex" as they're certainly not going to find out from experimentation any time soon.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:39 PM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't believe some lady is claiming that it's "hard to sit down and read the dictionary."

It's almost as hard as bein' governor of Alaska!
posted by scody at 3:44 PM on January 25, 2010


Wait until these kids start looking stuff up in the filthy, disgusting orgy of smut called The Bible.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:57 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do you mean, "Read the thread?"
posted by Sys Rq at 3:58 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've had so much fun sitting and reading the dictionary, that the dictionary had to be removed from me for the well-being of others.

Some would call what I am about to confess a secret shame, but I take an inordinate amount of pride in the number of times I've seen the movie, "Say Anything." To me this captures the zeitgeist of my generation. Oh sure, some try to give Kurt Cobain credit for having done this with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," but honestly, what the hell does that song even mean? Anyway, I digress. "Say Anything," is the perfect movie (I would add, "In my opinion," but this is pure irrefutable fact!).

One scene has always bugged me though. Lloyd is in Diane's bedroom, and he figures out she reads the dictionary. She says something like, "Whenever I read a word I don't know I look it up." So Llyod opens the dictionary and nearly every word is highlighted. Yeah, that's always bugged me. I mean, if she was so smart, there shouldn't be that many words underlined! Well, unless she was expounding on the definitions, but that's not what she said. Oh! I think I may have just reconciled my own movie watching dilemma. She obviously wants to appear normal and average to the oh-so-dreamy Lloyd. She can't do this if he realizes she's expanding the woefully inadequate dictionary!

And before you "Say Anything" haters converge, let me point out this movie had Eric Stoltz and Jeremy Piven in it, and it was so obviously the prequel to "Grosse Pointe Blank." I'd expound on this, but I don't want to derail.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In grade 3 we noticed our Petit Larousse Illustré (oh look the 2009 edition even has boobs on the cover!) included nude drawings of a male and female on page 32 under anatomie.

25 years later and I still remember that page number.
posted by furtive at 4:44 PM on January 25, 2010


cjorgensen: "Of course when you're 8 you generally don't know the difference between genitals and gentiles."

I have problems with that to this day.
posted by brundlefly at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2010


I'm disappointed in the Guardian for failing to note that it was a temporary measure which is apparently part of standard procedure for dealing with parent complaints. Honestly, does anyone here think that the library committee will come back with any recommendation other than to reinstate the books? Source: SWRNN
posted by honest knave at 4:52 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


"tuck your po-po!"

I have no idea what this means, and the internet doesn't either.
posted by anazgnos at 4:53 PM on January 25, 2010


She says something like, "Whenever I read a word I don't know I look it up." So Llyod opens the dictionary and nearly every word is highlighted. Yeah, that's always bugged me. I mean, if she was so smart, there shouldn't be that many words underlined!

Don't forget -- she also says she'd received that particular dictionary when she was about six or seven. So Lloyd was looking at about ten years' worth of looking-up-words there. Which means that all those words she looked up, she probably did most when she was in second grade.

....For me, it was reading the encyclopedia. Every time our third grade teacher made us clean out our desks, everyone else would be digging out sandwiches and rocks from their desks and I would be digging out volumes S and H-I of the WORLD BOOK set, to the great amusement of all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:21 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man... I wish that dictionary ban had gone into effect when I was in school. Then my teachers wouldn't have made use of that laughably-ineffective class-wide punishment of making everyone copy out of it just because some idiot wouldn't stop talking during class. >_>;
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 6:29 PM on January 25, 2010


The 2007 Newbery Award winner, "Lucky Breaks," was banned from many libraries for the word "scrotum." Susan Patron, the author, tells of a letter she received from a fourth grade teacher in Oakland, CA who read the book aloud to her class. When the teacher asked her kids why they thought the book had been censored they guessed that it might have to do with smoking or drinking, as both play a part in the story. When she told them that, no, it actually was the word "scrotum," many went for the dictionary. Upon finding their definition, they logically tuned and asked why then wasn't the dictionary banned as well? Well? Now it is! So there!
posted by emhutchinson at 6:34 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oops--the name of the book is "The Higher Power of Lucky"; "Lucky Breaks" is the sequel--sorry!
posted by emhutchinson at 6:37 PM on January 25, 2010


So the first grade teacher was trying to teach the alphabet to her class. Today she was going to play a game. She would go through the alphabet one letter at a time and have someone in the class give a word that started with that letter.

She starts the lesson. "A. Who has a word that begins with the letter A?" She asked the class. Immediately Dirty Ernie's hand shoots to the sky. I better not call on Ernie she says to herself he will say Asshole. So little Mary is called on and she says, "Apple". "Very good, " says the teacher, "How about the letter B?" Again Ernie's hand shoots up and again she thinks to herself, "Self do not call on Ernie. He will say Bitch. So little Joey says Baseball and all is well. Next of course is C and Ernie is itching to say the "C word". Teacher calls on Nancy. "C is for cookies", says Nancy. Well, D follows C and no way is she letting Ernie say "dick" nor is she going to call on Ernie for "F" of course either. Finally they are at the letter R. Ernie patiently raises his hand. He is the only student who has not been called upon to give an answer. The teacher hesitates and thinks to herself, "What could he say with the letter R?" Despite her father being a sailor, she can not think of any bad word for R that Ernie might say so she calls on Ernie.

Ernie smile and says, "R? R is for rat. A big fucking Rat."

No matter how hard you try to prevent it, kids will learn and say the darndest things.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:46 PM on January 25, 2010


My friend and I once told a neighbor kid that there was this new totally awesome Transformer that turned into a jet and a tank and I don't remember what else. It's name: Blowjob.

We talked it up for a good long while and told him he should tell his mother he wanted Blowjob for his birthday. We didn't see him until days later when he gave us a dirty look and rode off on his bike. I don't think he ever talked to us again.

I had no idea what a blowjob actually was at the time.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:37 PM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Every hour those kids spend alone in their rooms reading the dictionary is an hour they're not having sex.

I know from experience.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


When oral sex is outlawed, only outlaws will have oral sex.




...what? All the good jokes were taken.
posted by Target Practice at 8:48 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: There are a lot of people in this thread who don't know anything about kids.

What do you mean?
posted by mindwarp at 8:56 PM on January 25, 2010


Yes, people in Riverside are really that crazy.
posted by Dreamcast at 9:00 PM on January 25, 2010


onhazier, we've had similiar discussions. My son used the word penis as soon as he was old enough to articulate that he had one. The neighbors were shocked...SHOCKED...that he would use the word penis instead of something infantile like "wee wee". I just rolled my eyes and kept teaching him English.

That said; who knew I was imperiling my impressionable first grader by giving him his own dictionary. Of course, worst of all, I've left copies of the bible and the torah next to the prose eddas, bhagavad gita and qur’an. All of it just one shelf below Mark Twain and Shakespeare.

Pity the child, for he shall grow up exposed to ... words.
posted by dejah420 at 9:15 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


dejah420, have you been going through my library?! Our friends have complained when they've helped us move that they want illiterate because we have so many boxes of books.

Since we're foster parents, we also teach the proper words to the children we foster. I am completely unapologetic about it when I explain to the birth parents why their child now knows the word "nipples", for example. (Child said "What's this?" while pointing to chest.) The case workers have all backed me up when the parents get upset. Since these children are already at risk, they absolutely have to know the right words to use. That way we can understand what they are saying if they disclose abuse to us. How we teach the children, especially the traumatized ones, is by incorporating the words into everyday use, especially around bath time. "Now we're going to wash your shoulders" or, as we pull up the training pants "Let's check. Is your penis pointing up or down? It needs to point down so you don't have a wet shirt." Imagine announcing to your child every move you're going to make before you do it. Not only are you building trust, but you're teaching them about their bodies.

When we were going through our foster training, the topic of children having too much sex-related knowledge came up. Remembering the conversation I quoted above, I asked about it. The trainers all pretty much fell over laughing. They assured us that there is a difference between the knowledge kids should have such as knowing the right words or the basics of reproduction and having first hand experience with the actions.
posted by onhazier at 7:54 AM on January 26, 2010


Every hour those kids spend alone in their rooms reading the dictionary is an hour they're not having sex.

Usually not a problem for kids who spend a lot of time in their rooms reading the dictionary.
posted by electroboy at 8:13 AM on January 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah screw the kids. They'll just go to the Urban Dictionary anyway.
posted by stormpooper at 12:13 PM on January 26, 2010


A friend of mine was found the figs he was eating particularly delicious a few months ago and proudly changed his facebook status to "John Doe is figging."

TMI, dude.
posted by shothotbot at 1:19 PM on January 26, 2010


Children knowing the correct language for their body is really really fucking important. It's a protective behaviour in that a child can adequately explain what it happening to their body. It is also protective because a child telling you someone touched their vulva or vagina or anus or penis is far more likely to get your attention and to make you take it seriously than someone touching their po-po/duckie/kitty/weewee/deedee/doodoo/inane bunch of syllables representing their genitals.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo we can't have children maintaining bodily autonomy and getting knowledge.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:53 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


ll dngs!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:22 PM on January 26, 2010


All they have to do is swap out the Merriam Webster for this dictionary and... problem solved!
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:24 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The dictionaries have been returned to the school.
posted by Dojie at 9:25 AM on January 27, 2010


Of course they have.
posted by jessamyn at 10:01 AM on January 27, 2010


posted by onhazier at 10:50 AM on January 25

Bwahahaa... I got that call. Only mine also involved a book, Kids First Book About Sex by Joani Blank, snuck to school by the eight-year-old who was selling viewings to classmates on a page by page basis. Like the review found here, we found nothing inappropriate in the book and found it hysterical that my little money-minded oldest had found such a great market in education. The principal informed me the other parents didn't find it as great as I did.

I had to, once again, explain to my children that we don't do certain things because we are very afraid of the pitchforks and torches.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I also learned how sex works by looking it up in the encyclopedia in third grade. (My classmates found this both ingenious and deeply geeky. Big surprise.)

"tuck [her] po-po"

What the hell is a "po-po?" What's wrong with "behind" or "bottom" or "rear end" or even "tush?" Why must every term be some infantile made-up BS?
posted by desuetude at 8:02 AM on January 28, 2010


tuck [her] po-po"

What the hell is a "po-po?"


I always thought a po-po was the same as a hoo-ha, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:06 AM on January 28, 2010


Why must every term be some infantile made-up BS?

Oh, and how is it that one term is "made-up BS" while another is not. Were the other terms Divinely delivered to English speakers imprented as birthmarks on Noah Webster's "bottom" or something?
posted by Pollomacho at 8:10 AM on January 28, 2010


Oh, and how is it that one term is "made-up BS" while another is not.

The other terms I mentioned are words? They're descriptive terms, recognizing the relative placement of the buttocks on the body.

The only meaning of "po-po" I've ever heard is as slang for "police."
posted by desuetude at 10:36 AM on January 28, 2010


The other terms I mentioned are words?

What makes them words? Ass is just derived from the proto-indo-european word for your ass, so what makes it a word and not some other collection of consonants and vowels? Words are made up human conventions that convey meaning. As long as a word conveys an understood meaning it is a successful word. I think nearly everyone here would understand if someone said "he got his po-po kicked" or (holding ass) "Oh, my po-po hurts!" Just because some terms for things are derived from a prior term or have been around longer does not make them any more or less valid or comprehendible. In fact, it could be argued that a word that does not rely on the listener/reader's prior knowledge (particularly when derived and then altered from another language eg: tush) is even more likely to be understood.

Also, what distinguishes a back from a back side? Your rear end is not really your body's end nor is it your bottom, so that's not really accurately directionally descriptive at all!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:12 PM on January 28, 2010


if someone said "he got his po-po kicked"

I would have no fucking idea what he was talking about.

Are you deeply invested in infantile euphemisms for body parts, or do you just take objection to my distaste for them? For the record, I cringe when I hear adult women spout that "va-jay-jay" nonsense too.

(I'm pretty sure that widespread knowledge of a word does make it more comprehensible, though.)
posted by desuetude at 1:05 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, it's great when kids know the right words for bodily bits. Like when my two year old son asked his uncle, "Do you have a penis?" His uncle was taken aback, but then replied that he did have a penis. But my two year old likes to ask repeatedly, and kept asking the question over and over and over. His uncle was uncomfortable.

It's also fun how he'll (the two year old, not the uncle) go around crotch grabbing, then asking if that's their penis. It's right there, at eye-level for him. I'm usually fast enough to catch him. Usually.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2010


And over in Virginia...
Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.
posted by lullaby at 9:33 PM on January 29, 2010


Feh; I heard a school once banned The Diary because it was "depressing" and "a real downer."

I kid you not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on January 30, 2010


I have no idea what "tuck your po-po!" means, and the internet doesn't either.

It means to shoot any local police officers you run across. Kind of aggressive as an instruction for a first grader in a ballet class, but I don't know the situation in that neighborhood, so who am I to judge?
posted by msalt at 9:58 PM on February 1, 2010


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