School Bans Dictionary

Hi Readers — As many of you have pointed out today, a grammar school in California has banned the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary because it contains a definition of “oral sex.” I guess the parents who complained would much rather their kid get his sex information from the geniuses on the monkey bars.

Here’s the local story. And here’s the one in the Guardian, which points out:

The Merriam Webster dictionary joins an illustrious set of books that have been banned or challenged in the US, including Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, which last year was suspended from and then reinstated to the curriculum at a Michigan school after complaints from parents about its coverage of graphic sex and violence, and titles by Khaled Hosseini and Philip Pullman, included in the American Library Association’s list of books that inspired most complaints last year.

When I was growing up there was a movement to ban Huck Finn, and I’ve heard of pushes to ban Harry Potter, too. Doesn’t seem to have hurt their popularity. All I know about the dictionary scandal is that there is one term all those California kids are going to be buzzing about tomorrow. — Lenore