This morning, NPR correspondent Eleanor Beardsley weighed in with an important story for those of us who do not live in Paris and are in need of a solid rationale to defend such a decision: “Not Just A Fashion Hot Spot: Paris Is Also The Capital Of Dog Mess“. It is an instructive story, not only for bringing us knowledge of the French term for dog poop–they call it a “canine ejection” or “d’éjection canine,” which sounds better in the way that so many things sound better in French, though I cannot think of any others off the top of my head except, perhaps, “tant pis” for “too bad”–but for highlighting an important distinction in political world views:
“There are people who think because they pay taxes, the street cleaners should clean up behind their dogs,” he says.
This is clearly a contrast with much of the United States, at least the Red State parts, where there can be little doubt that people would rather pay less in taxes and be responsible for not picking up dog poop themselves instead of assuming this should be a government responsibility not to do. Where I live, in New York City, we have a more communitarian sensibility (of course). Many dog owners are quite good about cleaning up after their pets, but for those who do not there seems to be a common understanding that one of two things will happen:
1. Building superintendents will expend significant water resources to pressure-spray the poop off the curb, where its bio-degradation will be enhanced as it is run over by cars parking along the streets.
2. Citizens of the City will help with the bio-degradation by stepping in the poop and then spreading it in increasingly thin layers around other parts of the sidewalk, at which point it will be easier to wash away naturally after four or eight rain storms.
Personally, I have always seen Paris as one of those “It’s a nice place to visit, but…” cities. I would much rather move to Berlin, even as I recognize that it has its own problem with canine ejection.