Religious fundamentalism in the United States has long resulted in books being banned in schools, but a decision by one school district to ban dictionaries takes the lunacy to new levels.
The Menifee Union School District in California has temporarily banned all copies of the 10th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary after it was discovered the dictionary defined oral sex.
The ban came following a parent complaint, and the District is now considering a permanent ban due to the “sexually graphic” entry. But it gets better: a spokesman quoted by Care2.com said “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature.”
Yes, you read that right: they’re going to trawl the dictionary for more definitions that OMG happen to refer to sex….in a dictionary, a book which has as its purpose the definition, and correct spelling of words.
On one hand they haven’t started burning the banned copies yet, but this sort of State imposed censorship of something as benign and essential to language as a bog-standard dictionary has all the hallmarks of Nazi Germany, complete with Orwellian overtones. Land of the free indeed.