Avoiding Swine Flu: Rule Nr. 1
From an old friend comes this caution on cultural practices that need to be abandoned in today's contagious times.
Although unspecified, I take it that this photo was intended to illustrate the basis for recent concern in France about "la bise," the French term for their cultural tradition of greeting with a kiss, which The Telegraph tells us "is facing a ban due to fears that kissing is the best way to catch swine flu." Some schools in France have already taken this precaution:
Schools in the town of Guilvinec, in Brittany, western France, were the first to introduce a bise ban for teachers and students.I think that this ban is a sensible precaution. Sadly, some cultural practices have to be relinquished, and "la bise" is one of these, especially since it has been adopted outside France -- I first heard of "French kissing" while growing up in the Ozarks in the 1960s and 70s and vividly recall encountering it in California in the 1980s!
"I asked the children not to kiss anymore," said Helene Tanguy, the mayor. (Henry Samuel, "France facing 'la bise' ban over swine flu fears," The Telegraph, September 8, 2009)
I urge everyone, therefore, to please warn children not to kiss pigs lest they contribute to the spread of swine flu.