Sunday, February 18, 2007

As Long As I'm Ticked Off, Anyway...

I wasn't going to discuss the whole Scrotum Issue because it's so clearly a matter of people having nothing else to complain about. Clearly the school librarians who object to the use of the word in The Higher Power of Lucky haven't done much reading in their own collections. An incredible array of material is covered in children's literature, some of it involving violence, crime, and, of course, the ever-popular child as victim of one sort or another. And I'm supposed to get hot and bothered about a dog being bitten in the crotch by a rattlesnake?

I wasn't even going to object to all the outrageous quotes from The New York Times article on the subject that have been surfacing on blogs and listservs. The New York Times has a history of publishing articles on kidlit that suggest a lack of knowledge of the subject and an attempt to rabblerouse. I wasn't even going to read the article for those reasons.

But I gave in, I read it, and this rabble has been roused.

I still don't care about the freaking Scrotum Issue! But what the hell is this supposed to mean?

"Authors of children’s books sometimes sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph, leaving librarians to choose whether to ban an entire book over one offending phrase."

Is it some kind of snide, superior accusation that authors "sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph" for the purpose of tormenting librarians? Or do they do it for some other reason? And where does the writer of this article get her information? Does she know about some kind of survey? Did some Ph.D. candidate do a research paper on the subject? What is she suggesting that we gain by "sneak[ing] in a single touchy word or paragraph"?

How did that sentence address the subject of her article, unless it was meant as a slam at the author of Lucky? The word "scrotum" was on the first page! How is that sneaking?

I wish I had a subscription to The New York Times so I could cancel it.


Liz B said...

Ever since I read that part about sneaking in words, I've wondered: Sneaking? Does that mean if I read the first letter of each word in a book, it spells out a bad word? I mean, c'mon SNEAK???

Gail Gauthier said...

I may be hyper-sensitive about this, but I read that line as suggesting authors seek out controversy. Again, I have to ask, where does she get her information?

N Emmerson said...

AS a HS English and Journalism teacher, I am concerned that there are more and more people trying to do what they percieve as the "right" thing (yes, I imply a double meaning) by censoring. The truth is, a word in a book does not affect our kids any more adversely than anything else in their enviroinment.

P.S. I am cancelling MY subscription to the NY Times, though for different reasons. Feel free to live vicariously through me.

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