Objective or Merely Objectionable?

Subject: Objective or Merely Objectionable?
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 13:22:47 EDT

Mark Levinson wrote:

The quality of sanitation is pretty easy to
measure objectively...

Not necessarily... I recently read an article (in a well-known American
magazine who's name escapes me) about a visit to a large city in the former
Soviet Union.

According to the article, public washrooms have no lights (or a bare lightbulb
you have to turn on by pulling a decidedly unsanitary chain), no toilet seats,
no cleaning--just dark pits you hover over, hold your nose tight, and get out
of fast... The author's theory about this was that most citizens are only a
generation or two from the "farm", and their attitude toward sanitation is a
"do it behind the tree" attitude still. He further speculated that the
Communist culture fostered the belief that it was "nobody's responsibility" to
clean these public toilets, because it's such a demeaning job, and everybody's
equal, and despite the new "democratization", this is still the case.

Well, whether the author was right in his speculations, apparently there is
concrete evidence of "the subjective perception of sanitation"--the toilets

The author had another interesting theory--that he won't believe true democracy
has come to the former Soviet bloc countries until he gets a smile from some
one in a service position, like a waitress or a store clerk, or even a doctor
(he had some stories about this that were funny for anyone hearing about
it--but certainly not for him--like the travel agents who got mad at him and
refused to fix his flight problems after _they_ made a stupid mistake.)

Now _that's_ a cultural bias, alright.

Well, the point is, it's different everywhere, and you just gotta expect the
unexpected, roll with the punches (and other hackneyed phrases...) and have a
good time if you can.


Gwen (ggall -at- ca -dot- oracle -dot- com)

"The question is not the size of your intelligence,
but how you use the little amount of it you might have."

--Sir John Gielgud

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