Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

Slang dictionary challenged as inappropriate for children

Wake County school officials revised their book-use policy Tuesday which could lead to some popular and classic books being banned from their public schools.…Called2Action, a local Christian activist group, and some parents…[complained[ that the books contain “vulgar and sexually explicit language.”…School officials said five books were formally challenged this school year, including…”Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang” by Jonathon Green.

Oh, Green’s dictionary definitely contains vulgar and sexually explicit language. But you don’t ban such books. You buy more copies and spread them around. Children are desperate for a resource they can go to for matter-of-fact answers about what words really mean. They may very well browse and learn some new terms, but where’s the harm in that? I learned all of mine on the school bus, reading my sisters’ torrid romance novels, and from my parents. A child only really has to hear his father say “motherfucker” once for it to take a permanent place in his brain. (It was 1983, Dad, and you were putting up the television aerial on the concrete steps out back of the house.)

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Grant Barrett