105 Ways to Give a Book

Thoughtful Thursday Except On Friday and About The Scrotum

Yesterday I started to write about the scrotum issue as well as my BACA alert, but I was running out of time before work so I had to bag the scrotums. (Was that too easy? It felt like it was too easy.) I hadn’t weighed in on the issue partially because I didn’t feel like I had anything new to add to the discussion and partially because I was juggling too many other personal concerns. It’s hard to care about the scrotum when you have all these balls in the air. (Again, easy.)

When the dust had settled, two posts stood out to me. One was only (let’s see, 5 + 7 + 5 = 17) seventeen syllables long. I’ve debated today whether I would do this blogger a greater service by posting her work here or linking to it, but I’ll link to be safe. Check out Emily Reads on the topic.

The other post that picked up accolades around the kidlitosphere was one by Pixie Stix Kids Pix. In contrast to the seventeen-syllable post, this one feels closer to seventeen pages. It’s very through. It’s also extremely good in describing the whole Scrotum Kerfuffle (I believe that is now the official term, is it not?). When you look at the whole lifespan of the issue, it’s really just nuts. (Still easy.)

The PKP post led me to my point of contention, which is accuracy in reporting. The New York Times finds a few librarians talking on a librarian listserv about whether they should buy a book for their library that they believe has limited appeal — Newbery award or not — and uses a word that could be controversial. The Times takes this and runs with it as if the book is being banned all over the U.S.

If you can’t discuss professional concerns on your professional listserv without being taken to task by the freaking New York Times, then what’s next? I suppose the paper would like to report that we are being visited by Martians because a few people in the city claim they can see the aliens when they wear their aluminum foil hats. Or hey, maybe the media will start giving credence to the few scientists who say that global warming is a big myth and allow that to create a “controversy” over our environmental policies for so many years that the New York Times reporters find themselves kayaking to their office because the island of Manhattan is three feet underwater. But I digress.

In the end, I don’t want to give hell to the librarians who were having a discussion on a semi-private listserv about a book they hadn’t read (almost no one had, since it came out late in 2006) and its appropriateness for their schools (which, if you heard the word “scrotum” out of context, you might — might — wonder about). But the New York Times deserves a little hell for this fake reporting. I certainly hope that someone over there gets the sack (...eh, never mind).


Nancy said...

I am falling out of my chair laughing.

Nicely done -- good point and humor too!

EM said...

Thanks for the link!

Gail Gauthier said...

"If you can’t discuss professional concerns on your professional listserv without being taken to task by the freaking New York Times, then what’s next?"

I think this is a good point that I hadn't picked up on before. I was under the impression that members of listservs are supposed to treat the discussion as private. I'll mention a subject being discussed or credit one of my listservs for providing a public link, but I'd be very uncomfortable about naming names or quoting. How did that original information get around?

MotherReader said...

From the Pixie Stix Kids Picks post it sounds like the debate was reported in Publishers Weekly and then picked up by the NYT. Check the PSKP post, because it is very well done.

Saints and Spinners said...

Neil Gaiman said in his blog that the listserv comments were in a public or semi-public forum, and therefore all the NYT writer had to do was show the fact-checker the article: here's the link. Is that the case? If so, it doesn't make me willing to join a dicussion forum where I think my comments are going to be quoted out of context in a national newspaper.

Anonymous said...

My main point in commenting is to say READ THE BOOK before you get your panties in a bunch. (Not you, MR) As others have pointed out, part of the controversy stems from people being quoted out of context.
Anyway, while I might not be rushing out to buy a children's book with the word scrotum, or say, labia, in it.... what's the big deal? It's okay to say "Everyone Poops" ( by Taro Gomi and Amanda Mayer Stinchecum) but it's not okay to talk about (a dog's) scrotum?!
Watch out, your epidermis is showing!!!