Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Protecting the children from words

George Carlin, in his famous comedy bit about the seven words you can't say on television (all of which have since been said on television, with the advent of cable), opined that there really are no bad words, just bad thoughts and bad intentions. I tend to agree with that. A parent in a California school district doesn't agree with that assessment, and the district has gone absolutely nuts in response. According to blogger Judy Molland on the www.care2.com site, the mother demanded that the district ban the 10th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary after her kid came across the term "oral sex" in one of the books. School officials, unbelievably, folded like a cheap suit and pulled the dictionaries from every school in the district. And now, in true bureaucratic fashion, they've formed a committee to determine whether the ban should be made permanent. Apparently, in Menefee Union School District, a book filled with words used in the English language presents a clear and present danger to youngsters who are supposed to be learning. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

For a truly funny example of unnecessary censorship, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCxgmPEt7Y4

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Blogger PRIguy said...

This sort of reminds me of the old Seinfeld episode that spawned one of the most ridiculous, frivolous sexual harassment lawsuits in history.

It was the episode where Jerry couldn't remember a girl's name. She told him it "rhymes with a female body part." In the end, it turns out the girl's name is "Delores." In the lawsuit filed by a woman who was a sales exec for Miller Brewing, she claimed that she was sexually harassed by a colleague based on this episode of the show.

It turned out that the staff was discussing the show the next day and this woman hadn't seen it. Intrigued, she asked a guy what the body part in question was.

Here is why the case was dismissed: the hapless fellow got a dictionary, looked up the word "clitoris," photocopied the page, highlighted the word, folded the paper in half and handed it to the woman. Thank God there was at least one sensible judge. But that was a long time ago...could be different this time.

January 26, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Brant mentioned, with cable TV all of the 7 words we should never say on TV are now spoke with regularity on cable TV. I can appreciate the woman trying to protect her children from the words "oral sex," but to throw away all the new dictionaries and go back to the old ones is ridiculous. Can you imagine the senseless waste of taxpayer money? But is she right?
I'm also at a quandary trying to protect my children from all the world's darkened ways. We have found Christianity to try and help us. We have our kids in a Christian school, and regularly go to church. But we still have to go into the world to buy our groceries, where the news stands are polluted with boobs and asses hanging out everywhere. Right next to the candy.
Do we need to protect our kids/teenagers from the world? Most people scoff...and even make fun of people like me. But when our kids, who grow up and become teenagers, come home and tell us of an unwanted pregnantcy because of a night of fun, our jaws drop, and we wonder why?
Our kids are killing themselves and wrecking their lives because of "the world's ways." Should we try and protect them from the emminate disasters, or turn the other cheek and do what we want also? Who tells us what to do, or shows us any guidelines? DO we need direction? Do we need light shed on our live's situations? The right answer is yes, but the world tells us Hell NO, if it feels good, do it.
Is religion the answer? Not totally, but it sure beats the alternative. Which is what? What is the alternative?
It's getting harder and harder to protect our children, but we have to make and effort, or they will choose their own path. And typically that path is lined with doers of darkness, deception, and misery.
As I tell my kids, if you do what is right, you can never go wrong. But as a parent, I have to teach them the difference between right and wrong. And most importantly, I have to know the difference to tell them. Again, what does the world teach??? Sex, drugs and rock and roll...a lifestyle that almost killed me when I was a teenager.
I wish my parents had taught me better.
The words oral sex aren't going to temp kids into doing it. But they shouldn't be in a dictionary either. Why would anyone need to look it up anyway?

January 27, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curse you, NEwman! Now kids can find the words "oral sex" in your blog.

Oral sex is just talking about it, right?

Or is it what students at Oral Roberts U do?

January 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss, not. Keeping definitions of words with sexual connotations out of the dictionary won't keep your kids from hearing and being curious about the act they describe. Those who would expunge "oral sex" are the same crowd that tells their kids that if you simply channel your sexual urges into ping pong, they will go away. Don't teach about sex in school or in church because if no one mentions it, the kids won't know about it.

If we want to censor dictionaries to exclude offensive words, let's start with "segregation," "war" and "hate."

January 30, 2010 at 10:12 AM  

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