The Web Runs on Love, Not Greed

Russell Turpin
Fri, 04 Jan 2002 21:29:21 +0000

>The school stamped all the books (effectively making returns impossible) 
>and proceeded to distribute them to
>the students.  Sure enough, within about 10 minutes, students were seeking 
>out the words that every middleschool kid seeks out ... you know, the 
>classics, 'fuck', 'shit' , 'ass', 'bitch'. Shockingly enough, all said 
>words were present .. Great editorship for a dictionary designed for SIXTH 
>graders, marketed to Sixth graders and supposedly geared for their level.
>This was a well-known,oft used dictionary, and here was a very bad case of 
>either poor editorship or really really shitty marketing. ..

Er .. I'm confused here. A student turns to a dictionary
to look up a word, and it is THERE, and how is this an
editorial failure?? A dictionary is used to find the
meaning of words. It seems to me a minimum obligation of
the editor is to make the dictionary as comprehensive
as reasonable for the intended audience. And this is
especially so for a student audience, since we want to
reinforce the notion that dictionaries are useful.

I can understand why the editor might not include words
such as "mediastinum" or "mumpsimus," since it is the
rare sixth grade student who encounters these. But a
sixth grader who doesn't know what "dick" means should
have a way to find out, so that he then can apply the
term correctly when describing the heads of those who
would "protect" him from the common tongue.

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