Friday, September 18, 2009

Avoiding Swine Flu: Rule Nr. 1

Never Do This!

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 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 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 urge everyone, therefore, to please warn children not to kiss pigs lest they contribute to the spread of swine flu.

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At 7:45 AM, Blogger Teacher Leo said...

Aww, but it's so cute!

Seriously, one of my favourite 'science brought to the masses' shows, Mythbusters, tested the relative germ content (bacterial) of doggie mouth vs human mouth.
Turns out human mouth grew way more bacterial colonies than doggie mouth.
So, yes, avoid by all means those who slobber over you when kissing!
Whether this human vs animal hygiene extends to piggies is another matter entirely.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Actually, to be entirely serious, while I don't know about the risk of swine flu, I do know that parents shouldn't let their kids play freely like that around hogs. A pig can deliver a terrible bite, and hogs have been known to injure children fatally.

The image is sort of cute, though . . . but a bit disgusting as well when I think about what is entailed in licking a pig snout.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:26 AM, Blogger kushibo said...

Regarding behavioral changes in greetings, the NYT had a cute drawing of what's risky and what's not so risky when it comes to greetings.

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Kushibo. This topic is even more important than fan death!

And I'm pleased to see that Bruce Wayne is depicted in the NYT cartoon showing us behaviors to avoid. I take it that the old rumors about Batman's orientation are true after all, but I'm glad that the rich old sod is finally doing something for humanity!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the UK, at the moment, people are considering a ban on young children touching farm animals of any kind...many educational farms have transmitted e coli infections to visitors in the past, yes, kissing pigs is a bad idea!

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right, a bad idea -- and for many reasons.

Jeffery Hodges

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