Monday, February 19, 2007

Dog balls not suitable for children

While it's hard to improve upon the low-key skewering of American conservative priggishness apparent in this Independent article, I'll have to also throw in my own two cents. It seems that this year's Newberry Prize-winning novel for kids(The Higher Power of Lucky) has stirred the community of conservative librarians and teachers (most certainly only a handful of loudmouths) because of the inclusion of the word "scrotum" on its front page.

The controversial genitalia belong to a dog, and said dog has been bitten there by a rattlesnake. Sounds like comedy to you and me, but to the conservative guardians of our children it is no laughing matter. Everyone knows that such graphic language can send an impressionable young mind on a rocketsled to bestiality.

Mention of dog balls may be coarse, lewd and even inappropriate for most dinner conversation, but they still can be pretty funny. Children have an eye-level view of these anatomical features, and I remember my nephew giggling and pointing at a particularly pronounced pair of offending objects on a Labrador retriever not so long ago. I also once talked my sister, by phone, through the removal of a tick from the corresponding region of that same nephew. We will all laugh about that someday as well.

I suggest that conservatives hold a contest to search for a more appropriate term and then present that word to the publisher. "Goobers" might be one option.

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