here in argentina the bidet is ever-present, in every home…even if it is a tiny bathroom, there are retractable bidets that can be installed…everybody has one…part of the european culture here…truly one of the un-challengeable, uncompromised benefits of civilization, right up there with refrigeration and hot running water

sadaam’s bidet

remembering the gulf war when sadaam’s palaces were overrun by coalition troops, cnn featured a tour of one of these palaces, and the shot lingered for the longest time on the bidet…maybe it had gold-plated faucets, marble floors, i don’t remember…what i remember is how long the shot lingered…

as if to say, such decadence, look at the opulent splendor in which this guy lived, it’s about time somebody gave him his comeuppance… hell, we’re americans, we live in a frontier society, we counquered the indigenous people, settled the west…hell, we crap in an outhouse

so every time i use the appliance, i am reminded of jack kerouac, whom I read 40 years ago…who said in Big Sur

“People in America have all these racks of dry-cleaned clothes like you say on their trips, they spatter Eau de Cologne all over themselves, they wear Ban and Aid or whatever it is under their armpits, they get aghast to see a spot on a shirt or a dress, they probably change underwear and socks maybe even twice a day, they go around all puffed up and insolent thinking themselves the cleanest people on earth and they’re walkin around with dirty azzoles — Isnt that amazing?…..The President of the United States, the big ministers of state, the great bishops and shmishops and big shots everywhere, down to the lowest factory worker with all his fierce pride, movie stars, executives and great engineers and presidents of law firms and advertising firms with silk shirts and neckties and great expensive traveling cases in which they place these various expensive English imported hair brushes and shaving gear and pomades and perfumes are all walking around with dirty azzoles! All you gotta do is simply wash yourself with soap and water! it hasnt occurred to anybody in America at all! it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard of! dont you think it’s marvelous that we’re being called filthy unwashed beatniks but we’re the only ones walkin around with clean azzoles?”

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