When did the New York Times Op-Ed page decide to revert to the loopy environmentalism of the 1970s? The latest commercial disguised as a broadside features an author who wants to change the way we wee.
Rose George, who wrote The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, thinks that urine diversion is the next big trends. Splitting our toilet bowls so No. 1 goes fore and No. 2 goes aft will spare our oceans and fertilize our farms, George writes. One small problem:
Then there's the sitting problem: in most urine-diversion toilets, a man must empty his bladder sitting down. This wouldn't be a problem in some countries - Germany recently introduced a toilet-seat alarm that admonishes standers to sit - but it has been in others. Professor Jenssen was flummoxed by one participant at a training workshop in Cuba who said firmly, "If a man sits, he is homosexual."
One doesn't have to be a victim of machismo to resist a change to long-ingrained toilet habits.
But get past the giggle factor in George's piss-poor solution to the sewage crisis, and you're faced with the real question: How did this ever make it into the paper of record? Could it be that we have simply run out of new new things? The state of nature is parlous, true. But have we become so desperate to find the one big fix that will allow us to stop thinking about Mother Nature that we'll give a soapbox to any green wingnut who comes along?