Spitting in public: a re-appraisal


Michael Winning

The boss down south upbraids and spanks me for not checking my spellcheck thing, so I’ll try. That means, to do better in furture, However today I had occasion to go to Slaidburn to deliver a pedigree boar on loan to a mate. In the main street I passed a youth and his friend, one of whom spat, for no observable reason, with a focussed deliberation which made me think he was doing a sort of ritual act. They were walking along past the “Hark-to-Bounty”, he turned his head right, spat towards the wall, turned it left to “centre” and went on. There were one or two other souls in the rod including women. That made me think too, I’ve never seen a woman spitting in public, have you?

All life I’ve also noticed guys doing it in the gents at the urinal things, which is also public in a way.

The thought comes up that you wonder what this process is for. If it’s something about physiology, why is it not documented and why don’t British primary schools have anything in their lesson plans about it? They cover safe sex for 11-year-olds and how to put a condom on your partner, drugs (OK), drink (not), Henry the Eighth’s wives and the Egyptians and William the Conqueror and the holocaust and other disgusting things like that so why not this and what to do about how to watch where you put your feet? The irony is I have to carry a plastic bag to get up my dog’s shit off the pavement, even when taking a porker to a mate, so what should guys do about their buccal excretions, which are also bodily derived?

I also own a little bronze notice plaque from the London and North Western Railway from about 1880. It says: “Do not spit in the carriages. It is not only offensive to other passengers but is stated by the Medical Profession to be a source of serious disease”.

The advice I want from other libertarians is what they think ought to be done about something you could say is victimless but offensive to sensitive men like me and ours. And is arguably a physical act, not at all like syaing “all immigrants ought to be shot now in public, flogged afterwards and then sent home”, assuming that was really meant. Which is merely a thought expressed. We all agree, that everyone should be free to express thoughts or I thought we did anyway.

The boss says that down his way he sees shcoolboys cycling to school who do the same thing, often not even holding the handlebars which incenses him even more. He thinks it’s the “football culture” because he says that people tell him that footballers spit on the pitch (Ugh! And you might be tackeld and fall in it! Ugh! YUK!)

Is there some sort of cultural degradation going on?

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6 responses to “Spitting in public: a re-appraisal

  1. For God’s sake, don’t make a fuss over it, or before you know it the Government will be introducing “crackdowns” and “shake-ups” regarding spitting culture, and setting targets for cutting the amount of saliva/mucus deposited in public places by so many thousand gallons by 2016.

  2. Well, personally, I don’t see an issue. Spit is biodgredabale, you don’t need to pay somebody to clear it up, it just evaporates away, so what’s the problem?

    As to why people do it, it’s a class identification mannerism, a mannerism that bonds a person to their peer group, like clothing or manner of speech. Like posh people say “fwah fwah fwah” and wear striped boaters and get drunk and set fire to the restaurant toilets and get a bit older and become Mayor Of London and write articles in the Telegraph about cracking down on drunken yobs, the type who do all that but wear hoodies and don’t say “fwah fwah fwah”, they say “innit innit innit”.

  3. “The boss down south upbraids and spanks me for not checking my spellcheck thing, so I’ll try. That means, to do better in furture,”

    Priceless. I’ll furtively look up Michael’s articles in the furture.

  4. I don’t think Michael’s done very well on spellchecking.

  5. You’re lucky you were born in the 20th century.
    A medieval guide to etiquette tells its readers that they should merely spit directly on the ground while eating, and not across the table over the heads and/or plates of their fellow diners.

    It also directs that “it is impolite to greet someone who is urinating or defecating”, a point of etequette that has stood the test of time (so far).

  6. They had their heads screwed on, those mediaevals.