Saturday, February 24, 2007

Scrotum ist Verboten

Somewhere in these United States there is a group of school librarians who don't have enough to worry about. So, they have decided to worry about this: the word "scrotum" in a book aimed at the 9-12 year old crowd. Because? Because, dontcha know, that is a scandalous word, and the youth of the country should be shielded from it.

I myself have never been scandalised by this particular word. In my opinion, it is a mildly comical word for a definitely comical body part. A body part I'm glad I do not have. I mean, have you seen one lately? Proof positive that God has a sense of humour. No scrotum envy here. I'm sure it has an important function for that segment of the population who were born with one. I wonder if they know they're supposed to be ashamed of it? Mental pictures forming of a group of tight-lipped librarians wagging their fingers at the male half of the population, and saying , all together now, "shame on you guys!" Then turning their eyes heavenwards and wagging those same fingers at God and saying "and shame on You too!" These librarians do not think that 9-12 year old children should be allowed to read a book that mentions such a scandalous body part. That, in the book, belongs to a dog.

For those of you still in the dark, I am referring to the book "The Higher Power of Lucky" by Susan Patron, which was voted, by a more rational segment of the population, obviously, best children's book published last year.

My dictionary defines scrotum as "the external pouch that in most mammals contains the testes." As I said before, glad I don't have one. But I don't hold it against the unfortunates who do.

Certainly wouldn't wish for them to get bitten thereon by a rattlesnake, which is how the word comes into discussion in the first place.

Certainly wouldn't prevent 9-12 year olds of my acquaintance from reading this book based on the fact that it mentions this word.

Certainly wouldn't be getting my knickers in a twist over it.

If they're so desperate for a life,I have one that's up for grabs. Call me. We can negotiate.


velcro said...

Welcome back!

You really have to wonder what on earth goes on in their heads to think that children can't possibly know the right terms for parts of their body.

I see your Inner Nazi is back in control again, have you been cleaning?

Angie said...

ROFL, Oh Molly, you are soooo right---we (and I DO NOT INCLUDE MYSELF IN THAT BUNCH YOU JUST DESCRIBED ROFL!!!) just do not have enough to occupy the mind in a more beneficial way. :D God knows, there are more than enough REAL issues in this country to keep those 'librarians' busy if they could just get their minds off of 'scrotums'. *laughing hysterically*

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thank you for defending those of us cursed with this embarassing word associated with our body parts! lol.

Tanya Brown said...

It's a bizarre, bizarre state of affairs. What exactly do they hope to accomplish?

Do they not want for children to know that they have reproductive anatomy, but rather think of it in nebulous, general terms, aka "down there"?

Would they prefer that children use some juvenile euphemism such as, oh, "nut sack"?

Would they prefer that all male creatures disappear from the planet, thus removing the disturbing presence of scrota?

Aunty Evil said...

Clearly the pinch-faced old prunes haven't seen a scrotum or its neighbour for quite a number of years!

meggie said...

Laugh provoking as it may be... I could scarcely believe it!
Would they rather the children refer to 'them' as 'dog's balls'?? Which would seem to be what young children do?

I think Aunty Evil had the 'ball' firmly in hand with her remark!

Diana said...

It gives me chills to realize that someone would attempt to censor a book because of one word--a part of human anatomy no less. This is nothing new. All sorts of books are challenged in libraries, and not just children's books...

mjd said...

I saw your title and laughed and read your entry and laughed some more. Keep your life; it is good to make others smile.

Lukey Barlow said...

I found this somewhere online: 'Yes, controversy sells. Criticism of an award-winning children's book over the word "scrotum" has brought Susan Patron's "The Higher Power of Lucky" into the top 40 on' Do you think it could be a publicity stunt? I used to work with librarians, and they're quite remarkably savvy. Much more likely to stage a publicity stunt than to ban a good book.

Glad to see you back here. Molly. As sassy as ever, I see. Keep that pencil moving.

Stomper Girl said...

About time you posted again Molly!

Naturally I'm scornful of people who want to ban books for ridiculous reasons like this. But .. Oh my God, the dog gets a rattlesnake bite on his scrotum! I'm wincing in sympathy and I'm not even (a) canine or (b) male!

Scrotum is definitely one of those words that the more you say it, the funnier it sounds. Which I might not have noticed if I hadn't come here tonight. So thanks Molly.

Molly said...

Ladies and Gentleman, Thank you for your funny/interesting/outraged comments. When my daughter's dainty eyebrows shot up at the subject of my 'comeback' and she disdained to comment, self doubt set in, as in "Oh-oh Molly --you've really stepped over the line this time. Your 'knickers' rant was mild next to this." But it was right there in the papers, not once , but in several articles, so I could not resist. Lukey may have a point. Probably the book would sink back on the shelves much more quickly without this little flurry. And no. I haven't read it. Let me leave you with this. In school I had to take Latin, which was a drag at the time, but for which I am now daily grateful. Occasionally, word would filter over to us girls about how the boys at the Jesuits' were coping with all the declensions one has to memorize. They managed the word for war thusly: Blum,blum blum; blee,blow,blow; blah,blah,blah;blorum,bliss,bliss, instead of dull-ly and uncreatively, as we did with the nuns---bellum, bellum, bellum, ad nauseum. Could the same be done with scrotum, do you think? or is it too lumpy a word? And now, the Molly door is officially closed on scrotum/scrota/scroti---you will never see that word, or any variant thereof,on here again. Come back Liz! I'll be good, I promise.

Tracey Petersen said...

Don't mention a medically appropriate term for a body part which is possessed by half of the readers of this book, but let's have news on tv at all times of the day showing images of horror. That makes sense!
Don't be frightened to use scrotum or any other words. Words are letters, their power is held within the minds of those who read them.

nutmeg said...

Some nasty things tend to start happening after books start to be banned ... well, that's what history shows anyway. I would have thought that a more "outrageous" and/or "blasphemous" example could have been found to kick up a stink (or a scrotum) about ha ha!