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Restroom Studies

Accelerated anthropology at Yale. Plus: Sheepish Hollywood. And more.

2.5.06

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WASHROOM MAJORS
Re: Clinton W. Taylor's Boola Loo Blues:

Once again one of your contributors has me puzzled, and then amused.

In a country where pornography is on open sale and, indeed, is the country with one of the world's largest porn industries we are faced with a column written by Clinton W. Taylor that is simperingly embarrassed and prim. Coy and prudish even.

What has made me think this way?

It's Mr. Taylor's use of varied euphemisms for the simple concept of a toilet. In one article, he gives us "restroom," "washroom" and "bathroom."

Of course, we in England have gained the word "loo" over recent years, although that does have a fairly ancient root.

But "bathroom"? Surely that's where you'll find a bath. Possibly a shower and toilet, as well. And "restroom"? Who on earth thought that one up? And I have to say that in the rare situation where "washroom" is heard in England, it would refer to the laundry room where one would find the washing machine.

Why do not Americans use the terms WC, lavatory or even toilet?

Truly we are two peoples separated by a common language.

Yours faithfully,
-- Chris Palmer
Southampton, UK

The wonderful Clint Taylor article "Boola Loo Blues" reminded me of my own Ivy bathroom experience.

The co-ed bathroom issue came up when I started my freshman year at Princeton in the fall of 1972. We lived in a dorm (the Princeton Inn Addition) that had a hallway with 5 double rooms and a single room for a Resident Advisor. One female student never matriculated, so we ended up with 7 men and 3 women living on the hallway. There were two bathrooms in the hallway, each with two toilets, two sinks, and one shower.

The first day we were there, the men (well, boys, really) immediately insisted that since the division of the sexes was so unbalanced, the bathrooms should be unisex. The girls didn't really have an opposing argument, so that was how we agreed it would be.

The agreement lasted precisely one hour, which was how long it took for one of the boys to walk in on another boy's mother. Within minutes, "Men" and "Women" signs went up on the bathroom doors without a word, and remained there for the rest of the year.
-- Charlene Cosman
Northport, New York

Thanks for the great article. When I went to school there was no such thing as co-ed bathrooms. Over the years I had vaguely heard about it, but it wasn't until I read I Am Charlotte Simmons--and did the attendant, minor amount of research--that I realized it was so ubiquitous.

How sad. As a college freshman I had enough of a problem going to the bathroom when there were other guys in there. To think that I would have to share a bathroom with a girl who I may or may not have liked or who I was interested in is appalling....
-- Paul M.

Yay for Yale!

All right students! Tolerance and sensitivity is the highest and best pursuit. Please remember to be tolerant and sensitive to the needs of everyone BUT the Jews and the Christians. That's the Yale way..

Boola boola!
-- Greg Toombs

I live in Pennsylvania and am free to buy pepper spray in large capacity aerosol dispensers. If any female at Yale desires to protect herself against any predator that is being hosted by the university then I will be happy to deliver in person said product to be used at will and hope that it will discourage any further activity on that cretin's part. I am astonished at the naivete of professional educators...but then again, they are only reprobate druggies from the '60s. Parents -- help your daughters or remain spineless cowards.
-- Gene Hauber
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania

A NATION OF SHEEP
Re: K.E. Grubbs Jr.'s Hollywood's Dual Lusts:

When I moved to the Montana and Wyoming country back in 1976, a common motto seen on bumper stickers and placards at football games and such was, "Wyoming! Where men are men, and sheep are afraid!"

If Proulx and Ang Lee want to be honest, bestiality on the range is the subject that demands their attentions. It's a taboo subject in polite society, of course, but the frequency of romance twixt the lonely sheepherder and the gentle lamb far outpaces that of the homosexual romance amongst the often cantankerous sheepherders. Oh, the stories I've heard about sheepherders....
-- Happy Jack Feder
Helena, Montana

I haven't seen the movie nor do I intend on doing so. However, I am having a tough time understanding its premise: two lonely sheepherders out in the hills turn to each other for sex? Heck, I thought that's what the sheep were there for!
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Mr. Grubbs attaches much too much importance to the other world ramblings and politicized offerings of Hollywood. The denizens of Hollywood are a small group of incestuous, self-laudatory egotists who make believe. That's all they do. And most of them make believe in the same way over and over again. If you are a movie goer, how many different times, in how many different movies have you seen that huge, wide mouth of Julia Roberts open and emit the same loud whoop? That's acting.

They grow up together, they serially intermarry, breed like rats with numerous partners, speak only to and about themselves and how important is what they do. That's the make believe part. Who but an idiot could attach any importance whatsoever to Ocean's 11, 12 and next 13? Or Titanic, which is My Friend Flicka set on a big boat with a woman playing the part formerly played by a horse? Egotistical? Well most of them have a drug-addled brain, no education and absolutely no real world life experience, yet they feel it is their right to browbeat hard working regular folks to become gay and stop being Christians. And by all means vote Democrat!

They waste enough of our time with their psychobabble, self-congratulations all over the airwaves, and inane award shows, let us not waste any more time writing articles about cyphers who play dress up. (Oops! Just
violated my own dictum...never mind.)
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Maybe the reason big money is not rolling in at the box offices, is the type of movies being made. The last movie I paid to see was ICE AGE.
-- Elaine Kyle

SPEEDING TOWARD OBSOLESCENE
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Betamax Wars:

Lawrence Henry made an excellent point on how the technology/entertainment paradigm changes every decade or less. Not even the PC is immune to this phenomenon. Today, a consumer can buy a cell phone that can take digital photos, send text messages, send/receive email, download and play music as well as play video content. Cities are now beginning to grid their metro areas with WiFi, stores are testing RFID systems that will eliminate cashiers for all non-cash transactions; on demand services are becoming a reality for many markets, especially the entertainment market. The old business model for entertainment is showing signs of breaking up altogether.

The same can be said of hardware manufacturers. Most consumers use their PCs for gaming, checking email, surfing the web, and downloading music. Today, a consumer doesn't necessarily need a PC to do these things anymore, and the consumer may demand that future hardware also integrate with his TV, or home entertainment center. Even now, PC hardware is being priced at near commodity levels. Future renditions of Play Station, Nintendo, and Xbox's may provide a platform to do all of these things rendering the home PC obsolete. Most of Apple's revenues today come from their iTunes business, and Microsoft is pouring in hundreds of millions into its Xbox product line.

If the entertainment community continues to live off of the old model while technology continues to improve and innovate, MGM, Viacom and others may be joining the Betamax, video rental stores, and the 8-Track as cultural curiosities.
-- JP
Indiana

ENOUGH ALREADY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Woolsey-Eyed Democrats:

Cruel to say, but perhaps Casey Sheehan's re-enlistment was the young man's effort to escape the loony domination of a mother who, it would seem to me, was unhinged long before the unfortunate death of her son. Mrs. Sheehan has gone just about as far as she can go riding on the corpse of her child. Her continued parading of what some would call her grief, but what most recognize as her mental defect (even some of the calmer anti-war brigade), is less and less effective producing anything but notoriety for her. The pure high potency vitriol in this woman's heart is a part of what is poisoning the Democrat Party. I am a former registered Democrat who (God help me) voted for Jimmy Carter and who has been flagellating myself every time Mr. Carter pops up in the news with another one of his wacko lunatic ideas. As one who doesn't want to make the same mistake twice, I have absolutely no patience with Mrs. Sheehan.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

ADD A QUART
Re: Ben Stein's Oil Is Well:
No good deed goes unpunished.

I don't like paying $2.50 for gas either but recognize just how cheap it still is. I lived in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa -- believe me, it's still cheap here.

Why do they have it in for big oil? Passion -- a passion to get-re elected, by preying on victims of the scam that big business is cheating them because the victims don't know how to participate. The politicians do -- they hold the stock! A demonstration might be to shut down the major oil product providers -- close them (not for long) to demonstrate their importance and the real cost of the luxurious life offered in America. Similarly, many have an anger directed to pharmaceutical companies producing life-giving drugs. Ask anyone living as a result of these drugs what they would pay for them if these drugs didn't exist. Arm and leg? Well, certainly more than they pay today.

Thanks, Ben, for telling it like it is.
-- Jim Nordin -- living/driving resourcefully.

It certainly does not hurt the profits of the oil companies that so much infrastructure is paid for by the taxpayer. Making an investment in politicians is what really pays off. You need more than a few $20s for that.
-- Jackson
Clarkston, Washington

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