September 1997

Columns

HPIn SHE: Culture

The distinguished professor and I stood outside the banquet hall in -20°C weather, slightly drunk, wearing full evening dress – and smoking cigars. In European academic circles, such behavio..

Whetton, Chris, ility Engineering

The distinguished professor and I stood outside the banquet hall in -20°C weather, slightly drunk, wearing full evening dress – and smoking cigars. In European academic circles, such behavior is quite normal. Suddenly, the professor broke off from our discussion, cleared his throat with a noise like a minor volcano eruption , spat into the bushes about 3 m away, and returned to the question of what constitutes “Culture.” I was momentarily shocked. Over the years, I have come to tolerate most forms of behavior, but public spitting is not one of them. Then I remembered where I was: Finland, where spitting is still part of the culture. “Culture” is an inte

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