Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994 20:59:08 -0700

From: Judith Rascoe boise[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]WELL.SF.CA.US

Subject: Re: American Language and Culture

It also occurs to me that foreign readers could be terribly confused by what

_has_ been written on deodorants. Scorn for them and paeans to "fresh,

healthy skin and soap and water" have been written since the '60s by

well-intended back to nature types who have apparently never shared an

elevator in a tropical climate with people from certain deodorant-free

places in northern Europe. I think this could be a wonderful example of how

actual cultural practice diverges from the declarations of the 'high

culture'. Much scorn has been poured on deodorant advertising in America --

but the actual reception of a well-fed American going au naturel in the

business world might be quite different. Americans, in my experience, are

very much taken aback by the ripe tang of recent immigrants from the former

USSR, for instance. And on the other hand, black Americans -- long accused

of 'smelling' by bigots -- tend to be the least offensive patrons of the New

York subway, perhaps because they'll be damned if they'll give somebody

cause to criticize them.