Monday, February 19, 2007


I’ve been reading about the controversy surrounding the children’s book “The Higher Power of Lucky,” which just won a Newbery Medal. Some librarians are upset about the use of the word “scrotum” on the first page, where the protagonist hears the word used when a character describes a snake biting his dog on the scrotum.

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

Heck! I thought that was a great sound impression of the word. And scrotum isn’t a “bad word” – it’s the name of a body part. How can you not talk about parts of the body with kids? It’s not like the author chose “balls” or "the family jewels.” The book, by the way, is for grades 4-6, ie ages 9-11. I’m kinda thinking they can handle it.

More dangerous are those truly repulsive words like nostril, armpit or buttock. The word gland has also always grossed me out, and I insist we protect children from it. It threatens to destroy society.


GrumpyTeacher1 said...

I spent Saturday with a group of high school students who were mocking the controversy.

None of them went blind or anything.

Andrew Shields said...

And the author should have said "balls," as that is what the character would really have said!

LKD said...

Scrotum is one of those words that's always given me a bad case of the giggles.

It sounds like a Dicken's character.

Julius Scrotum.


I hadn't heard about the controversy. How very ridiculous. How very sad.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

That was a sad news report.

Ash said...

I was in college. My girlfriend was taking Anatomy and Physiology. Someone in the family had been hospitalized for a kidney stone, and my gf was explaining that one can pass blood when the stone reaches the urethra. My gf's mother gasped when she heard the word "urethra."

michi said...


i suggest listening to monty python's as a remedy - the vagina song, and the penis song. :)

and *LOL* @ laurel - indeed. ebenezer scrotum. zachariah scrotum. teehee.


SarahJane said...

i've decided the librarians' chagrin is so unfounded that we can trust even the american people to allow this book into school libraries. any other outcome would be too much.

it is amusing in a sad way - & you'd think those dogs would remember to wear their little pants to cover up their scrotum if not for the sake of morality, then to guard against snakebite.

i agree scrotum sounds like a dickens' character's last name, to say nothing of the totally outrageous Urethra. What a shrew she must be. Or am i thinking of Uriah Heap?

Urethra is such an unbelievable word I can barely whisper it. But I ever throw myself from the top of a building, I will be screaming "urethra" all the way down.

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