Merriam Webster, the new Larry Flynt

Dic'tin Around

By Kasey Panetta and Kevin Eggleston

illustration of a cranky man by Monica Palmer

First they took away candy bars. Then they snatched the soda. Then they recalled recess. And just when you thought schools couldn’t do anything more counterproductive than removing exercise time and excess calories, educators took away the dictionary.

That’s right, the Menifee Union School District in Southern California confiscated all the dictionaries from an elementary school because one child’s parents complained their son found the definition for oral sex. Specifically, the kid learned that oral sex is “oral stimulation of the genitals”— a definition that was first included in the dictionary in 1973 after the release of the mainstream porno hit Deep Throat. Educational, indeed.

Call us 90s relics, but when we were younger we used dictionaries for spelling and, you know, learning useful nuggets like the definition of borborygmus. Future generations may never know that this is the name for the rumbling sound your stomach makes.

These days, kids have unlimited access to the Internet, and they are but one Google search away from perhaps a more educational, multi-media definition. With words like bootylicious slowly bastardizing the English language (and officially entering the dictionary), parents should be more worried more that their kids will grow up to be illiterate morons than knowledgeable pervs.

Regardless, this is America, and we don’t punish people for being curious about oral sex until they’re in the oval office with an overzealous intern.

Illustration by Monica Palmer