'Oral sex' definition prompts dictionary ban

Heh heh, she said "dictionary"
Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex".

Merriam Webster's 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the "sexually graphic" entry is "just not age appropriate", according to the area's local paper.

The dictionary's online definition of the term is "oral stimulation of the genitals". "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature," district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.

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32 Responses:

  1. oedipamaas49 says:

    The Clinton years just got even more confusing for kids...

  2. ladyjalana says:

    Heaven forfend that a dictionary entry should *describe* something.

    • jwz says:

      "In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. There's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect."

    • lafinjack says:

      "Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex"."

      OK, let's see...

      Main Entry: oral sex
      Function: noun
      Date: 1973

      : oral stimulation of the genitals : cunnilingus, fellatio

      • lionsphil says:

        Dear lord, if you think that's bad (and, er, a pretty lousy definition given that it involves the understanding of one of the words being defined), the Oxford one is positively pornographic:

        noun sexual activity in which the genitals of one partner are stimulated by the mouth of the other.

        Those sluts up in Cambridge are marginally worse still:

        the activity of using the tongue and lips to touch someone's sexual organs in order to give pleasure

        Phwoar. That's made me randier than a hard-bound thesaurus.

        • jwz says:

          And, as a bunch of adults sit around looking up dirty words in the dictionary for laughs, the cycle of life is complete.

  3. mysterc says:

    dumbhead
    One entry found
    .Main Entry: dumb·head Pronunciation: \Ã

  4. seminiferous says:

    I'm not sure it's fair to equate some podunk school district in the Inland Empire with all of southern California...

  5. kou says:

    "It's hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we'll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,"

    Well you naughty naughty public school administrators :P

    P.S. don't tell them about the discovery channel

  6. thinkstorm says:

    I shall inform you that I intend to create a Proposition to Stop Teaching Sexually Graphic Letters from Pre-K through college. I am appalled that my children are learning obscene letters, like 'O', 'R', 'A', 'L', 'S', 'E', 'X' - which could be used to form obscene words!

    Thorsten

  7. gpeters says:

    Scrabble has two word lists; the one used in tournaments, and an expurgated list used in school tournaments.

    The perhaps unintended result of this is what when people graduate from high school to open tournament play, they are given a copy of the delta (called "The Poo List") to study. So the result of using an expurgated list is that we give young adults a list consisting entirely of dirty words. Way to go!

    FATSO, NONPAPIST and ABO in play, here we come!

  8. pdx6 says:

    By god, keep these kids away from all those dictionaries in the public library!

  9. How long is it before the same school district discovers that a story in a newspaper reported that the phrase "oral sex" was to be found in a dictionary, thus leading to the banning of periodicals?

  10. bdu says:

    The fact that they removed the dictionary entirely rather than taking a sharpie to the one entry they deemed offensive betrays the anti-intellectual bent of the censors, they are not merely prudish when it comes to children and pseudosexual content.

    • dasht says:

      how would taking a sharpie to the entries not be "anti-intellectual"?

      • bdu says:

        One is a minimally-invasive action taken for reasons resulting from a puritanical attitude towards sex that ultimately is somewhat anti-intellectual, the other is an over-reaction taken under the pretext of puritan sexual attitudes but ultimately impacts these children's ability to learn anything without the guidance of an adult to police the direction their curiosity may take.

        Maybe a distinction without a difference, but they feel a bit different to me.

        • Sure, it's way more civilized to just surgically remove the genitals from a child than to bash their brains out when you notice they have them.

          • bdu says:

            Fan of reductio ad absurdum, eh?

            Yeah, these people are idiots either way, but there are always going to be sexual puritans here in the USA, it's our heritage. Knowing that, I acknowledge that my preferred response to this (leave the damn dictionary in the elementary school classrooms unaltered) is not going be acceptable, I'd rather they just nix the "offending" entry than remove the book entirely.

            • They started with the absurd position, not me, and I wish people were more willing to stand up to people saying absurd things and point out the absurdity. Blacking out a single entry isn't an acceptable solution to me any more than eliminating the entire dictionary is. It shouldn't be an acceptable solution to you, either. Where do you stop? "Oral sex"? "Evolution"? "Holocaust?" "Racism?"

  11. _candide_ says:

    Nevermind that the kids don't need to read the dictionary to learn what oral sex is, and never have.

    Or will we next forbid The Children from ever talking to their older siblings until both are adults?

  12. msjen says:

    I'm impressed the kid actually knew how to use a dictionary.