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Fri, Feb. 16th, 2007, 12:08 am
lisayee: "Scrotum"

Scrotum. It's right there on the first page of Susan Patron's newly minted Newbery Award-winning novel, THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY. Scrotum. It's not that uncommon, in fact half the people I know have them. Scrotum. Apparently this is a scary word.

Because the book includes the word "scrotum," some people do not want the book in their schools and libraries. Blogs and listservs, teachers, librarians, readers, reviewers, have been debating "scrotum."

In the novel, Ray gets bit on the scrotum by a rattlesnake. (Ray is a dog.) Never mind that there are hundreds and hundreds of wonderful words in this small gem of a story. Or that using the "scrotum" is entirely in keeping with the smart, observant protagonist, Lucky. This one word is a lightening rod.

This is a Newbery book, singled out for its literary merit, and honored by the American Library Association. It was written by a librarian. To not carry it in a library infringes upon one's intellectual freedom. It denies the reader the opportunity to choose, or not choose, to read the book.

Recently, Publisher Weekly ran an article about this uproar . . . http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6416737.html?nid=2788. It includes our stance on the issue, as well as comments from Susan Patron.

What do you think about this?

(Posted by Lisa Yee)

Fri, Feb. 16th, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)

It is hard, really, to think of Americans as anything other than utterly, collectively deranged (and I mean that in a literary, citing-Walker-Percy-kind of-way...)when this sort of thing happens...

The planet's weather coming unhinged, innocent blood shed everywhere by armchair warriors who tell the young (on all sides) how great it is that *they* do the dying for someone else...

...and our librarians and teachers are debating the appearance of the word "scrotum" in a novel.

And we wonder why Americans are falling farther & farther behind other developed countries when it comes to education?

Fri, Feb. 16th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)

The librarian in the PW article asserts that “the inclusion of genitalia does not add to the story one bit . . . There are so many other options that the author could have used instead.”

Having this sentiment is one thing. And expressing it is fine. But basing a decision not to carry, recommend or booktalk the book in a public library because of objection to a single word—which isn’t even one of the seven you can’t say on television!--seems to me to be in direct violation of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The second article of the Bill of Rights states that “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”

Fri, Feb. 16th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)

Wow, talk about a case of testicular torsion. This is a real sac full. Somebody's willie is sure bent out of shape.
I'm hoping this is as good for Susan's sales and I think it will be.

Sat, Feb. 17th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)

I'm beginning to think this country need a long lesson in the difference between a forest and a tree. People keep getting hung up on the little stuff they can see without working too hard, rather than even trying to look at the big picture.