2.27.2007

Yeah, it's probably porn

Yesterday I snuck The Higher Power of Lucky home from the library. It's the recent Newbery winner and I wanted to get my chance to read it before it goes on the shelves. Also I just like to get drunk on librarian power like that.

In the first paragraph a character uses the word of "scrotum." He says that his dog was attacked by a rattlesnake (the dog was defending his owner) and that's where he was bitten. I was so appalled by the use of that word that I immediately had a heart attack, died, came back to life, burned the book, and then called all my friends to complain. I'm pretty sure the author only put that in there to make 10-year-olds start having sex with each other. Because that's what happens when you start using correct terminology. Especially if you're talking about animals.

Oh, wait. Actually, I didn't do any of those things, on account of how I'm not completely psychotic. It's too bad that there are so many librarians and parents out there who are, though. One lady from American Fork, UT wrote a review on the Amazon page and said she's so disturbed by the sexual content in the book, and she said her local children's librarian is afraid to put the book on the shelf for fear the children might pick it up and read that word. Daltongirl, I want you to go smack both those women. Will you do that for me?

I haven't finished the book but so far I'm liking it just fine. And for all the idiot parents and pieces of wussy crap librarians out there who are cowering under their beds, two words:

GROW.

UP.

22 comments:

Tusk said... [reply]

Thinking about getting bitten on the scrotum just sends shivers down my spine.
I agree, people should relax and re-evaluate what *IS* a problem in kid's lit.

kristen said... [reply]

It's like the list of books people want taken out of the school curriculum--'To Kill A Mockingbird' being one of them. Hello?! One of the best books ever written!

April said... [reply]

It's really amazing what makes it to the Banned Books list each year. Librarians should be extremely proud of their vocation because of their stance against censorship.

Jimmy said... [reply]

When I hear news about book bans, my gut tightens up with a Gimme A Break reaction. I remember the first time it really happened was when folks were accusing Disney's "Lion King" of being racist and homophobic.

the only upside to these maniacs screaming out about these books is that it helps to boost sales because apparently there are a lot more people out here who aren't so uptight.

Angie said... [reply]

The supposed reaction by school librarians has been HIGHLY exaggerated. Comments made on the professional listserv LM_Net were taken way out of context by the media. Imagine that.

Speaking as a kid's librarian I would say most of them are more upset that it is just doesn't seem like THE BEST kid's book of the past year. It's a very good kid level adult read. I personally love the illustrations (can't remember his name but he also did the pics for The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs). I have HPoL on the shelves at my school. But with other choices like Tale of Despereaux or Bud, Not Buddy or The Giver or Number the Stars. Or (a personal favorite) The Westing Game--I just don't see this one ever becoming the big mover on the awards shelf.

(Going back to my lurking, now. I started reading your stuff eons ago. I think through the Snide board? Anyway, I was SO JEALOUS of the whole England thing. I just have to say. I've done lots of Spanish-speaking places but the English major part of me has never seen Pemberley or the World stage or any of that. My library school experience, as intellectually stimulating as it was, was not nearly so cool. 8])

noelle f. said... [reply]

I think I heard about this book on the radio---

Nemesis said... [reply]

Sorry to have caused the shivers, tusk. And yeah, seriously.

Kristen, I know that sometimes we are not of the same mind politically--so I'm ever so glad that we're together on this one! :-)

Thanks, April. And I totally agree with you. It's just so funny that parents are freaking out about their kids coming across that word without parental supervision. Because you know where else they might find it? The dictionary. Also, so many of your librarian stories are becoming painfully real to me now, I must say. (Still love it though!)

Hey Angie, thanks for speaking up! I have heard that from a few librarians & readers as well--they don't care about the whole "scrotum" issue but the book just wasn't their favorite. I think a lot of people were a bit underwhelmed by the Caldecott winner this year as well. Not to drag you out into the light or anything, but in which part of the country do you work?

Jenny said... [reply]

Ed and I were coming up with alternate words she could've used and none of them were appropriate. As a mother I am glad the author used that word and something else.

Th. said... [reply]

.

Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again.

That's the last time I ever read Voice of Reason.

Such language!

metamorphose said... [reply]

Scroooootum! What a juicy word. I think I it's a lovely word, why be so afraid? One can never say scrotum enough!

This reminds of the time when I was a wee lass, and I somehow stumbled upon a Judy Blume book, titled, "Deenie." I'm pretty sure that's what it's called. Well, I was quite flustered when it started talking about masturbation. Since then, the only word I've been able to literally say out loud is, "Ramona? Ramona?" in a sad, longing voice. But now I realize I'm mixing Judy Blume up with Beverly Cleary.

But back to Judy. Go to this page to read what Judy says about "Deenie."
http://www.judyblume.com/deenie.html
Which also happens to be a commonly banned book.

Edgy said... [reply]

Hmmph. Well this just goes to show that you're one of those knee-jerk-heard-you-might-have-something-to-complain-about peoples. The word is at the end of the second paragraph. ;)

But in all seriousness . . . Having just finished the book last night, I'm with your other friends who are just underwhelmed with the book. I didn't feel like there was any real plot element until about 40 pages from the end. The writing is lovely though.

blackjazz said... [reply]

It is generally understood that Pemberley is fictional, isn't it? Granted, Jane Austen may have based it on Chatsworth House, and the Keira Knightley film used Chatsworth, but even so...

As somebody who was born just a few miles from Chatsworth (and who used to slope away during school time sometimes to visit Chatsworth park) I do think it's a fine place and still enjoy visiting. If Angie is jealous of Chatsworth, I think it's justified.

.::still blinking::. said... [reply]

I am in a book club in Zion, I mean Daybreak, Utah. But who can tell the difference, honestly. Some ladies from my ward came to our last book club meeting and then at Relief Society the next week decided that we don't read "bishop approved" books and they are starting their own holy book club. Offended, you ask? A little. But I really wonder when they are going to start burning the filth that I read.

Kristeee said... [reply]

If a 10 year old hasn't already learned the dirty names for all the body parts, she must be homeschooled and have no contact to 12 year old boys. Okay, maybe not in Utah. But in Illinois I learned about sex and all sorts of related topics on the school bus. I'm surprised that some mothers let their children out without wrapping them in bubblewrap first.

daltongirl said... [reply]

I would smack them for you, but I am the woman who wrote the first review. Sorry.

Did I ever tell you about my friend who sat on the Newbery committee two years ago? Interesting. But there was never any mention of scrotia. That would have made it a lot more interesting.

I guess I should get me that book. I have fallen behind on my Newbery interest since last year, when I got a third of the way through CrissCross and lost interest completely. That has never happened to me with a Newbery before, except with the 1926 classic, Smokey, the Cow Horse. That was the most boring book I ever tried to read the first chapter of. Perhaps I will end my collection with the 2006 book. That would give me 80 years worth of Newberys. Maybe that's enough.

chosha said... [reply]

"One lady from American Fork, UT wrote a review on the Amazon page and said she's so disturbed by the sexual content in the book"

I'm disturbed by the idea that someone can think of a dog being bitten by a rattlesnake on the scrotum as 'sexual content'. That is one weird old fetish she's got going there...

PS...after reading Kirsteee's comment I'm not thinking how much fun it would be to go out wrapped in (clothes and) bubble wrap. You could just bump into anything!

blackjazz said... [reply]

I'm still blinking in disbelief after reading "still blinking"'s comments.

Are you actually saying that the bishop is approving or disapproving certain books for discussion by members of his ward outside church meetings?

If so, that's a worry!

Nemesis said... [reply]

I'm wondering if Still Blinking's book club was a RS-sponsored book club, perhaps for HFPE. If that's the case do they need a bishop's okay or do they just think they do?

Cicada said... [reply]

I was getting excited at the end of your post when you promised "two words." Then I was disappointed by the non-sexual content of the words. Let me suggest other ways in which you might have ended the post:

Two words: Boobies. Boobies.

Two words: Ova. Sperm.

Two words: ... okay, now I'm wanting to cross that line that my mother gets mad at me for crossing... like when I called my brother's room the "mater beta room."

blackjazz said... [reply]

Nemesis - IMHO if the reading group were sponsored by the Church, through Relief Society, for example, a bishop would have called appropriate people to take responsibility with enough knowledge of church standards for him to be confident that the subject matter was appropriate. Surely he wouldn't want to pre-read every book himself before it was "unleashed" on the group. I wouldn't have thought bishops had enough time for that. And I wouldn't have thought it was desirable either. I think Joseph Smith was spot on when he said, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."

.::still blinking::. said... [reply]

My book club is sponsored by my HOA. However, a few ladies from my ward came to the book club last time and decided what we read is undesirable. I would have to say that we have read some really great books. The Red Tent. Maus I and II. The Kite Runner. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. All of these have parts in them that could be considered bad and the bishop would probably not approve them. I was a little disgruntled to find that I was part of the naughty book club. I don't think that any bishop would go through and read all the books before hand. My bishop is an engineer and probably reads math books for fun. But these are the same ladies who think "Dancing with the Stars" is suggestive and exercise videos are soft core porn.

I guess I need to vent a little.

Nemesis said... [reply]

But these are the same ladies who think "Dancing with the Stars" is suggestive and exercise videos are soft core porn.

Bwah hah hah! You're killing me here, blinking. By all means, vent away!

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