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The bedability of yours truly … and other factors in being a literate society

Speaking of newspapers, the demise thereof, and this writer’s potential contribution to said demise, here’s a column I wrote a year back — in response to a reader’s complaint about my use of the term — send the children out of the room for this one, folks — “bed-ability” in my column called Reality in the Age of Chick-ness.
One reader’s trash …

I recently learned that American children might actually be reading newspapers in this country. In fact, they may be reading this very paper, perhaps this very column, this very minute.

Fabulous! I’m thrilled to know that young whippersnappers might be turning the pages of such an old-fashioned thing as a newspaper.

How do I know about this possibility? Well, it’s thanks to a Letter to the Editor the paper received about one of my recent columns ….

The letter-writer, we’ll call her Madame O (for Outraged), decried the column as “trashy,” “a waste of space,” and an “insult to [Pelican Press] readers.” Her adjectives about me personally were benign by comparison. I’m simply “egotistical,” and using the Pelican Press newspaper to “promote [myself] as too smart and too good looking for most men.”

Of course, that’s precisely what I am doing and thank goodness someone finally noticed!

(As flattered as I am by Madame O’s attentive reading of my column, I do have to wonder if she’s familiar with literary irony.)

Madame O took particular umbrage with my use of the word “bedable” in a 2007 column. She was incensed that her nine-year old, newspaper-reading niece might happen upon my column and then, Madame O wondered, how could she ever explain to her niece what this word means?

Hmmm. In current American and UK usage, bedable is a colloquial term meant to describe someone’s perceived sexual attractiveness and desirability (or lack thereof) in the dating/relationship marketplace. “Bedable” has been utilized by that much-loved humorist Dave Barry (Miami Herald columnist), and referenced by the BBC, The New York Times and Time Magazine.

Is there other, not-so-delicate street slang that has similar, but decidedly more vulgar meaning, to the word “bedable?” Well, of course. Nearly every word has its less tasteful counterpart.

Far be it from me to question why someone of Madame O’s delicate sensibilities would be reading my column in the first place (but hey, thanks!); in this age of intellectual sloth, I’m just happy to hear that folks are reading, and questioning what they read. That’s what newspapers are for – to inform, and stimulate thought, discourse, and action.

As for all the nine-year olds out there reading this column, I’ve got a few more choice words for you: Don’t stop reading the newspaper! Trust me; they won’t let me print anything obscene.

Don’t stop exposing yourself to a diversity of ideas. You don’t have to agree with what you read; you don’t have to like what you read. But reading will educate you to the world outside your own self. Reading will help you develop a strong sense of who you are and what you believe. Reading will eventually enable you to make the right decisions about what is right for you – what words you like and want to use, what ideas you want to embrace, what values you want to hold.

And above all, grasshoppers of the world, remember this:

Whether you see trash or treasure in the world around you is a matter not of what you read with your eyes, but rather what you feel with your heart.

Posted on January 31st, 2009Comments RSS Feed

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