Dear Young Master Fancyhair

Dear Young Master Fancyhair Who Was In the Men’s Toilets Beside My Office at 15:43 Today,

You’re a disgusting pig.

I don’t care how much money you spent on your designer glasses frames. I don’t give a damn how much time you spent assembling your wardrobe or preening your (sadly, rather goofy looking) hair this morning. I couldn’t care less how many hours you practiced that saunter of yours, either.

If you take a crap and don’t wash your hands, you are a pig. Done. End of story. Finito.

There’s no excuse. You’re not in that big a hurry. You’re not living in a gulag. You’re not living in the middle of the most dire water shortage in history. You’re not above the laws of hygiene. You’re not living somewhere there there isn’t running water. For heaven’s sakes, the sinks in this bathroom actually run hot water, and there’s always soap and a (somewhat semi-functional) hot ait hand-dryer on hand, too!

If you’re not worried about wallowing in your own filth, fine, but please let me know so I can install a lock on your bedroom, locking on the outside of course. Nobody should have to ever shake hands with you, you filthy, disgusting creature.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled preening, slacking, and trying very hard at irrelevancies. Thank you for your attention.



7 thoughts on “Dear Young Master Fancyhair

  1. *chuckle*.
    Given all the ads which emphasize how important washing hands is for reducing the possiblity of getting “swine” flu, I guess he’s illiterate (and doesn’t watch TV) as well.
    Here is something that may be a comforting thought: He runs a higher risk of getting a disease (not limited to swine flu) – and has a higher chance of dying. Think of it as “evolution in action.”

    1. Ha, true.

      What worries me is that he also has a higher chance of passing on a disease to someone unsuspecting. So… well, I am taking to bowing instead of shaking hands with people I don’t know and trust. Heh.

      So… bowing as a greeting is also an evolutionary survival strategy! Ha!

  2. I actually read a newspaper editorial a few years ago saying that the Korean/Japanese toilets were superior to western (sitting) toilets because you don’t touch any part of the toilet, and have less chance of catching germs.

    On the other hand, I’ve also read more than a few books lately that one of the reasons why Europeans were able to colonize so much of the world was that they had so many diseases in the past (most famously, the Black Death) that they had more immunities than native peoples in Asia, Americas and Africa. They (deliberately or inadvertantly) spread European diseases in the New World, and they ended up the survivors because they had higher immunity.

    So maybe one of the reasons why Koreans did not manage to take over the world was that (contrary to that kid), Koreans were too clean…

  3. I read that editorial too. And it’s probably true in the case of the author’s experiences. My own experiences down in Jeolla-do suggest that not touching toilets indeed would have been more hygenic than touching them, but that’s mainly because the people cleaning bathrooms down there were middle-aged women whose approach was, let’s hope, markedly different from how one would clean a toilet one would actually be using oneself.

    In other words, the claim that squat toilets are more hygenic presupposes that toilets are never cleaned, meaning the deck is stacked against sit-down toilets. On the other hand, squat toilets are useless for the handicapped, and for people like me who simply cannot squat like that.

    As for the disease thing, yeah, it’s true. Though I think a lot of the disease-spreading was unplanned — we weren’t that clever most of the time, though yes, I’ve read that in some cases there’s evidence for example smallpox was deliberately spread. Either way, definitely higher resistance to smallpox and other illnesses did help Europeans conquer the New World.

    But, and this is a big but — I like big buts, after all, though not the kind that Sir Mix-A-Lot means— I’ve never heard of Europeans having more immunities than Asians, though. I thought the same set of immunities would have been widespread across Eurasia, given that much of the same technology, agricultural developments, were endemic to the same regions, and given that a lot of the immunities were developed through exposure to diseases caught originally from herd animals common across Eurasia.

    (And yeah, I’m wearing my Jared Diamond on my sleeve. If you have another book on the subject to recommend, please fire away!)

    By the way — and this is mainly curiosity at work — I wonder how recently it was that the majority of Westerners began using sit-down toilets, instead of holes in the ground. I suspect it’s probably recent enough that Europeans wouldn’t have actually acquired significantly more cooties and cootie-resistance anyway! ;)

    Oof! There we go: Wikipedia says sitting toilets only really came into wide use in the West (say, aside from use in Rome) in the 19th century — much later than a lot of Europe’s conquistadorial assholery acquisitions!

  4. re: Same resistance for Asians and Europeans

    Come to think of it, I did not hear Europeans bringing too many diseaass to Asia, so they may have had the same resistance. South America and Africa was not as lucky. (Though given the prevalence of diseases in tropical Africa and South America, you wonder, why wasn’t there a tropical payback to Europe. Maybe European diseases are too dependent on tropical climate.

    A particular book I had in mind was “Farewell to Alms” by Gregory Clark, which deals with long term economic growth / history. It attempts to trace economic growth over the last 5000 years, and speculates on what made some countries become advanced countries of today, and why some countries are still at the development stage. One of the reasons which came up was the urbanization and disease-resistance of the Europeans. My personal critique of the book is that Clark tries to reduce keys for growth to too few factors, though I do agree with him that necessary factors change depending on the epochs. The book also contains a good summary of the work by Angus Maddison, who tries to estimate the economic growth rate from 0 BC to 1950s. If you see the graph from Maddison’s work, (I think the Clark book has a graph of it as well) You can actually see the approach to “singularity” graphed out. (At least if you assume that singularity is correlated to GDP).

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that Eurasians would have been relatively similar in susceptibility to a given disease outbreak. One stunning example that sent European history in a new direction in many ways was the Black Death, right? (But that also afflicted Asians from time to time — there were outbreaks in India and the Near East as well as in China. Hmm, I wonder, offhand now, whether the Black Death ever struck Korea.)

      Tropical diseases — I think you’re right, many would be dependent on a tropical environment, though then again I’ve heard there was a time when malaria was catching in Korea, and we’re pretty temperate here. There definitely was a tropical payback on colonists and traders: death rates in most colonial settlements in the tropics were pretty high according to my half-remembered readings of years past. In fact, the brutality of tropical diseases was one of the things colonists dreaded most, perhaps after the natives rising up in revolt or the danger of being eaten by a large exotic predator.

      The Clark book sounds interesting, though that flaw, a very common one in attempts to do big history, is a bit off-putting. As for the Singularity, I’m not really sold on the concept to begin with, let alone whether it could be correlated to GDP. Any Singularity that did occur would have to be weirder, maybe correlated with the automation of economic systems (as in Stross’s Accelerando), or some other system-shattering transformation of the kind.

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