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The Joy of Lex

January 26th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  5 Comments

The British press loves to make fun of American prudishness–presumably because our papers decline to put topless gals on Page 3–and this story, spotted and Tweeted by Bloggerdad,  is no exception. The Guardian is reporting that a California school district is banning Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition, because its definition of “oral sex” actually tells readers what the words mean. (They seem a little late to the party: M-W moved on to its eleventh edition in 2003.)

Of course, dictionaries can be useful in these matters—particularly if, in matters of oral sex, it depends what the definition of “is” is. But all the same, I can see why they’re upset. A situation like this just begins with a little sensation, and gradually grows until it’s throbbing and huge and everyone’s raring to go. Mostly they’re mouthing off, blowing off steam, but eventually they really get into the back-and-forth.  Everyone gets really overheated, and just when you think it can’t get any more intense it does. Then the TV cameras show up, and that’s when everything erupts.


  1. DaDa Rocks! says:

    January 26th, 2010at 10:48 am(#)

    things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmm

  2. David Wright/ Blogger Dad says:

    January 26th, 2010at 3:40 pm(#)

    Thanks for the mention. The whole idea of banning the dictionary is laughable. I mean, it’s not like it’s an Illustrated Dictionary.

    My guess is that the school district has done such a bang up job on achieving ALL of their other goals for the district that they decided they’d now invest their time on the smaller things now.

    And all of this because ONE PARENT complained?

    I hope this easily offended parent doesn’t read your post, they’ll likely write the FCC and get the whole internet shut down.

  3. Michelle Gillies says:

    January 26th, 2010at 3:41 pm(#)

    Very clever…and quite funny. I know @bloggerdad will love this.

  4. ty's mama says:

    January 28th, 2010at 6:36 am(#)

    I don’t understand, did they hire someone to ‘proof – read’ the WHOLE dictionary?!

    Funny I thought it was the other way round, I thought the whole world thought we Brits were prudes. (In our defence its only one major paper that has a page three girl – The Guardian wouldn’t dream of it!)

    I had the ‘male reproductive organ’ pages taken out of my science text books when I was 14….they were deemed to graphic, I did go to a convent school….lucky they didn’t get the nuns to check our dictionaries too.


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