April 8, 2004

Toilet Humor

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This week I searched bathroom stalls far and wide, from the stately thrones of Rhodes Hall to the common Ag Quad shithole, for fresh samples … of graffiti, of course. You may jest that I must have been loaded up on bran and brandy to take this assignment. In fact, my editor kidnapped me at night and chained me to a Uris Library commode with the bargain that he would let me out when I had 700 words. I know, this pushes the bounds of journalism and common decency, but this is just part of my continuing project to satirize the degradation of the university newspaper, or at least daze. (My first move was getting on staff.) It is my belief that the library toilet is the perfect metaphor for our journalistic integrity: shit surrounded by words on printed page.

There are many different forms of scribbling in the stalls, including childish ditties, political forums, phallic tagging, and post-defecation art. Some stalls foster prolonged and orderly discussions, while others provide the opportunity for patrons to pretend they have Tourette’s. A personal favorite is on exhibit at Uris Library Circulation Level (Men’s, naturally — or am I?); it states boldly and simply: “THE NEW CONSTIUTION: We the people faggot faggot faggot faggot …,” and so on seemingly ad infinitum.

Honestly though, that is what the kids should learn first because the real preamble is way too difficult to memorize at an age when all you can think about is how good sugar mixed with dirt must taste. Maybe the sixth or seventh grade curriculum can include the original text to inform them that our Founding Fathers, with the exception of Jefferson, were not degenerate perverts. Another little gem portrays a grotesquely hairy penis releasing an absolute torrent with the caption “The CUMINATOR.” Where you wonder is this masterpiece hung, at the Johnson? (Dammit, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. Dammit again!). No, it can be found in the illustrious Olin Library Basement Gallery (the last stall), along with other works by El Fucko. I am not even saying the artist is distasteful, just uncreative. The truly brilliant artist must look somewhere other than down for inspiration.

Perhaps the most ambitious stall I have seen (recently cleaned, unfortunately) was on the first floor of Rockefeller: it posed the question “Is George W. Bush illiterate?” Over 20 different responses were eventually posted and the debate spurred even more questions such as “If he’s not, then what is he?” and “Who the fuck wants to eat my pubes?”

The Physical Sciences Library men’s room has a framed picture of Einstein that politely reminds you, in German, to wash your hands. It hangs on the wall beside the mirrors. It looks as if science students have taken casual tagging to the next level, the only problem being one of the verbs is misspelled. Nice try guys.

So what compels otherwise good students and upstanding citizens to pull out a pen on the can and create something that would offend half the Western world? Exactly that I suppose. It a bit of a thrill to know you can enter a chamber in private, write or draw whatever you wish upon the walls, leave without anyone knowing you did it, and force others to stare at handiwork while they helplessly sit there. I am surprised I do not see more advertisements like, “This stall door is sponsored by PEPSI.”

Still, I wish more people took pride in their work enough to leave a name or pseudonym so that they can be properly recognized. Men such as the Jester, the Crap King, and the Rockefeller Rascal (along with all those who make their presence known in the world of the Crude Arts) lurk in obscurity now, they are the stars of the future. So next time you feel you need some culture and do not feel like walking, take a trip to some of the more bohemian toilets. You may be surprised with what you find!

Archived article by Chris Kakovitch
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer