Thursday, February 22, 2007

talking about naughty bits

a couple of days late on this one, but was saving it for when i had a free moment. the newbery medal is one of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. previous winners include:

holes, by louis sachar
sarah plain and tall, by patricia maclachlan
bridge to terabithia, by katherine paterson
mrs frisby and the rats of nimh, by robert c o'brien
from the mixed-up files of mrs basil e frankweiler, by e l konigsberg
a wrinkle in time, by madeleine l'engle
(the last 3 are favourites that i still own)

so this year's winner is in very good company. anyway, it is suddenly in the news for the use of the word 'scrotum'. as the ny times reports:

"The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”"

read the rest of the article here.

o for crying out loud! at least lucky is in good company with holden caulfield and harry potter.

where do you stand with regard to names for genitalia and what is age-appropriate? my mother always felt that when we were old enough to ask we were old enough to know. as with other things, like alcohol, she felt that making things taboo made them mysterious and attractive in a subversive kind of way, and thus more likely to be problematic later in life. i think it worked well for me. meanwhile, my american friends always laugh when i say 'bottom' instead of 'ass' (or 'ar$e') :-)

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