Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Expat Living: The Spitting Image of 'Globalization'...

It really does look like a 'glob'
(Image from Wikipedia)

Once again, my "Language Column" has shown up in The Korea Herald -- yesterday, to my surprise. I simply wasn't expecting it . . . but there it was.

I'm not displeased, obviously, for I'm pasting and posting it here, which leave me time for other, pressing pursuits, e.g., correcting Sun-Ae's literary translations from Korean into English, grading thesis statements, reading on Islamism, that sort of thing...

Anyway, here it is, my column on 'glob-alization':
"Facing up to globular reality," The Korea Herald, April 29, 2008

Everyone these days talks about "globalization," but how many of us have truly reflected very deeply upon its meaning even though we expatriates living here in Korea face globalization every time we step outside?

Some of us may rail against this globular reality that we encounter on Korean streets, some of us may even defend it, but all of us recognize its presence and that we can do little but adjust.

Expatriates from lands that have already experienced globalization should not look down on Korea for only now beginning to deal with this globular issue. Indeed, we need only look to our fairly recent pasts to discover that Korea is the spitting image of Western nations.

In America, for instance, Salinas, California still has a law to prohibit spitting on a sidewalk, and South Haven, Michigan even saw fit to legislate against spitting "on any sidewalk or on the floor or seat of any public carrier, or on any floor, wall, seat or equipment of any place of public assemblage," just in case anyone should consider giving in to an urge to spit.

As these examples suggest, spitting was very common even among Westerners not so long ago and only began to decline through pressure exerted by the medical profession, city ordinances, and disapproving peers. Some backwoods regions continued the habit of spitting well into the twentieth century.

As late as my adolescence in the Arkansas Ozarks, for instance, I recall seeing plenty of spittoons -- though usually intended for people who chewed tobacco. And folks did spit. Especially in barber shops, one could find some excellent spitters -- men who had sufficient skill for a sure shot from ten feet away.

Spitting contests of that kind, incidentally, might explain something that had previously puzzled me. One of my uncles tells the anecdote of his induction into the military during WWII. He and others from the Ozarks were sent to Little Rock before heading on to boot camp, but these new draftees first had to get medical exams to test their fitness. They were told to strip down to their birthday suits and stand near the back wall of the room. A sergeant came in with a bottle, held it up for all to see, and began to explain what the men had to do:

"Men!" he barked, "I want you to piss in this bottle."

To which, in utter seriousness, one of the men from my hometown responded:

"From back here?"

Now, maybe this hometown hillbilly was skilled at hitting spittoons, or perhaps he had even been in a few pissing contests, but he was absolutely sincere in his question -- my uncle swears to it!

Anyway, as for spittoons themselves, I'm sure that some spitters used them for oral fluids other than tobacco-enhanced saliva, but most Americans remain unaware that the habit of public spitting has only fully disappeared in the last generation or two. If we just knew a little more about our own relatively recent "nasty" habits, we might be more understanding of the spitting that we see among Koreans.

Finally, for those readers who wish to know about the more technical aspects of globalization, note that the word "glob" derives from the Latin globus, meaning "globular mass."

Jeffery is a professor at Kyung Hee University and can be reached through his blog, Gypsy Scholar, at - Ed.
You can read this at the Korea Herald's website, of course, but you have to go looking through the "Expat Living" posts to find it.

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At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Honorable Professor Jeffery Hodges:

Thank you very much for including your last paragraph in your most recent essay. I am getting older and have noticed that I am beginning to lose the ability to discern precise meanings of much of what those younger than myself are developing as the more modern version(s) of "slang."

It is true that spitting is not as prevalent as it once was, especially where accuracy is concerned: however fairly recently I heard someone say, "Stand back, I'm about to globular!"

Now I understand that the person meant he was about to "hawk a loogie" and expel it forcefully. Your writing has improved greatly to what I now consider serious competition and now should be called "The Blogopedia" instead of the World Book.

By the way, did you have the assistance of one President in coining the phrase, "Globulariztion?" I ask simply because of a recent blog I read somewhere.


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You are most welcome, JK, and thank you as well. I am gratified to hear that I have been of service. As for my possible reliance upon the highest executive of our great nation . . . no. I am an original and have no need of 'nucularization' to light a fire under my gluteus maximus.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow my comment didn't get on, so I'll repeat it. I am not the uncle spoken of in this blog.
However there is another common practice by my generation of farm boys that was immortalized by Chet Atkins, titled, "I Still Write Your Name In The Snow." I won't quote the entire song, just a phrase or two......"When those snowflakes fall I think I see, that happy you and me that used to be, And when the snow has covered the ground, I hear your name and have to write it down. Oh do you think of me when you're feeling low, and wish you could write my name in the snow?"
I won't write any more........well just one......."I write your name so beautifully, but it's hard to dot the I's and cross the T's."

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Just don't go where the huskies go."

I have seen a two year old that could probably've filled that bottle from across a two-lane street. Hate to admit it now, especially on a blog but I have reached the stage that I have to flush just to hear water running so I can induce water to run.

And you weren't the Uncle?


At 10:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran and JK, thank you both for your output. Uh, input.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:20 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

Izard County's annual "Pioneer Day" is Saturday, next. Years ago, there was spitting competition. I wonder if they'd be interested in a "letting" competition this year?

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Daddio, if there's to be "letting," there'll need to be "lettering" as well . . . unless there ain't no snow.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You realize, of course, that we did not have indoor plumbing in our home until I was already grown and in the U.S. Navy. Those kind of situations where behind the barn or wherever, when nature called, snow was on the ground, and a fertile imagination of young boys, this practice in the winter was a natural outcome of putting thoughts into practice.
No bottle, corn cob, stick, etc., was necessary; the natural faculties with which you were born were sufficient. For the opposite gender, the line in the song ....."do you think of me when you're feeling low, and wish you could write my name in the snow?" is apropos, without the use of a bottle or other implement to aid in the procedure. And with these words of wisdom, my thesis is complete.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That lack of indoor plumbing lasted until I was in elementary school, so I remember it well . . . along with practicing my 'hand'-writing in the snow.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:44 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

"...and a fertile imagination of young boys..."

Boys, hell!

If I "let" in the woods on a snowy day, my imagination is in overdrive, baby!

At 3:45 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

And,'s all in the hips, dude!

At 3:55 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I hadn't thought of it in terms of fertilization, till Uncle Cran and you mentioned it, but maybe that explains where spring comes from.

In the hip moves? I'd never thought of that either. I guess that "handwriting" is a misnomer.

Jeffery Hodges

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